Unit Lessons

PYP Theme: How We Organize Ourselves


BiblioGarden PYP Librarian Beanstalk LogoCommunities: Unit Overview

The Communities unit is one that seems to be taught everywhere.  There is a wealth of material available to complement and build on work that teachers are doing in the classroom.  In these library integration lessons, I’ve used a language-rich, classic piece of literature from Mary Ann Hoberman for the “tuning-in” lesson.  Following on that lesson, I’ve written lessons that focus on people, places, and celebrations in communities.  Also, I’ve added a lesson using Jeannie Baker’s Home to work on the concept of urban renewal and taking responsibility for the health of one’s community.  The literature is rich and abundant and the topic timeless, making the Communities Unit of Inquiry one of the year’s best!

Many thanks to the International School of Stuttgart (ISS) Kindergarten teachers, Mr. Alexander Whitaker, ISS PYP Coordinator, and especially Marky the Librarian for delighting us with how wonderful the Communities Unit of Inquiry can be.   In this short video, Marky shares his understanding of librarians as helpers in the school community.


Communities #1: A House is a House for Me, by Mary Ann Hoberman

Lesson Overview: In this lesson, students are “tuning in” to their new unit on Communities.  Homes are an important part of any community, and they are the focus of this vocabulary-rich, masterful, creative classic by Mary Ann Hoberman and Betty Fraser.  I like to include this lesson for the sheer… Read more

Betty Turpin

Communities #2: Katy and the Big Snow, by Virginia Lee Burton

Lesson Overview: In this lesson, students will listen to a classic Virginia Lee Burton story, Katy and the Big Snow.  Then, using their own knowledge and some new understandings gained from the text, they will draw a small city and populate it with important community resources and buildings. Lesson Plan:… Read more

Betty Turpin

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

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… Read more

Betty Turpin

Communities #4: Home, by Jeannie Baker

Lesson Overview: In this lesson, students use the mixed media masterpiece by Jeannie Baker to take a detailed look at how people can transform their communities.  From urban blight to urban paradise, the gradual unfolding of home and community takes place under Baker’s masterful designs.  The text is wordless, so… Read more

Betty Turpin

Communities #5: Community Celebrations

Lesson Overview: Students have already looked at places and people in a community.  They have considered how communities are cared for by residents.  Now, at the end of the unit, it’s time to celebrate!  This lesson asks students to consider how communities celebrate, what they celebrate, and to record their… Read more

Betty Turpin