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Communities #3: Community Helpers (People in the Community)

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Lesson Overview:

The last lesson looked at places in the community (Katy and the Big Snow).  In contrast, this lesson focuses on people in the community.  By now the children should have some understanding of the kinds of jobs people do in communities.  Using this understanding and some of the nonfiction collection, children will create a five-petal foldable to illustrate the diversity of jobs needed in a community.

Lesson Plan:

Suggested Grades:

K – 1


Using a five-petal foldable, students will make a 3D graphic organizer to show their understanding of helpers in our communities.  (AASL 2.1.6, “Use the writing process, media and visual literacy and technology skills to create products that express new understandings.”)

Suggested Time:

45-50 minutes

Success Criteria:

Each student will complete a petal-shaped foldable to show his or her understanding of important people in the community.

Lesson Outline:

1. Introduction:

Remind the students that last week they read Katy and the Big Snow and drew maps that included important places in the community.  This week, instead of considering places in the community, students will consider people in the community.  Explain that first they will play a short guessing game, and then they will create a “foldable” that shows their ability to name at least five people in the community.

2. Main:

Play a community helper guessing game with the children.  Choose a few of the community helper roles below and give a few clues so that the children can guess who the community helper is.  

Example 1:  “The community helper I am thinking of likes to work with his or her hands.  This person should probably be strong.  This person knows a lot about engines and can use many tools.  This person also might get a bit dirty at work.  This person helps us all stay safe when we are on the road.  Who is this community helper?”  (Answer:  Auto Mechanic.)

Example 2:  “This person works in a studio.  He or she uses cameras and printers every day.  This person probably also uses lights and props.  He or she helps all of us look our best.  He or she also helps families remember special times like weddings, anniversaries, or birthdays.  Who is this person?”  (Answer:  Photographer)

Possibilities for the game include:

Construction Worker Rubbish Collector Police Officer Chef
Farmer Photographer Teacher Mechanic
Mayor Baker Computer Technician Dentist
Pilot Bus Driver Coach Plumber
Librarian Teacher Tailor/Seamstress Shopkeeper
Veterinarian Firefighter Landscaper Painter
Doctor Nurse Minister/Rabbi/Imam Journalist (Writer)

Once you have played the guessing game a few times, point out the library’s print collection of books or magazines about jobs/community helpers.  Ask the students to work with a partner to write three clues about one of the community helpers.  Give only five minutes for the children to write clues.  This should be relatively straightforward.  Ask the children to keep their clues so that they can help each other with the next activity and perhaps play the game again at the end of class.

Next, explain to the children what a “foldable” is and how it works.  Show the petal foldable template and a foldable that has been cut out and folded.  (See attached photos.)

Ask the children to cut out and fold one foldable each.  On the outside of each petal, they should write the name of a community helper.  On the inside of each petal, they should write one clue about that community helper’s job.  Their friends can help them fill in all five petals with their clue-writing earlier in the lesson.   In the middle of the flower, they should write the words “Community Helpers.”  (See attached photos.)

Example:  On a five-petal foldable the children could write:

Outside Petal: Inside Petal:
Stylist Cuts Hair
Principal Leads the School
Chef Prepares Food
Coach Teaches Sport
Photographer Takes Pictures

3. Conclusion:

Make sure that the children have shown one another their foldables and tidied the tables.   Collect the foldables so that they are not damaged while returning to the classroom.  Give them to the teacher so that they can become part of the children’s language or Unit of Inquiry notebook.  If there is time, let the kids quiz each other on the clues they prepared for a few of their community helpers.

  1. Library print collection on community helpers, jobs, and occupations.
  2. Foldable template, “Petals,” found here: http://www.homeschoolshare.com/lapbook-templates.php
  3. Copies of the “Petals” template, five or six petals, one for every student. (Slightly heavier paper is best.)  You may need to enlarge the foldable.  Some of the petal foldables come out rather small when printed.
  4. Pencils, colored pencils
  5. Glue sticks
  6. Children’s scissors

There are several sites that offer foldable templates and instructions.  In my experience, children enjoy working with paper and building a manipulative keeps them actively engaged while supporting course content.

Sincerest thanks to Mr. Mike Morales of GEMS World Academy, Dubai, for introducing his colleagues to foldables and their many uses across the curriculum.

Recommended books for this lesson:
  1. Busytown by Richard Scarry
  2. Busiest People Ever by Richard Scarry
  3. Jobs People Do by Dorling Kindersley

In my former library, we had a Scholastic book series called “Our Neighborhood.”  In this series, students were introduced to people with a variety of jobs who work in the community.  Unfortunately, this series is out of print.  There are newer series, but I do not have any personal experience with them.  Hopefully your library has career-related material for early elementary students in stock.  If I were ordering today, I would consider:

  1. People Around Town, Set 1 and Set 2 by Gareth Stevens Publishing
  2. First Step Nonfiction: Work People Do by Lerner Publications
Key Terms:

Community Helpers, Jobs, Occupations

Completed Foldable

Completed Foldable, Folded