Saturday, March 14, 2015

Family Roots: A New Resource

This year, I am enjoying teaching our second grade social studies curriculum to my first and second graders.  This is in part to a series of activities I have created featuring my projects completed both at home and at school.  My newest unit (click HERE) incorporates these standards from the Massachusetts History and Social Sciences Curriculum Framework (2003).

•Explain the information that historical time lines convey and then put in chronological order events in the student’s life (e.g., the year he or she was born, started school, or moved to a new neighborhood) or in the history of countries studied. 

•Explain what buyers and sellers are and give examples of goods and services that are bought and sold in their community. 

•On a map of the world, locate all of the continents: North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia, and Antarctica.

•On a map of the world, locate the continent, regions, or and then the countries from which students, their parents, guardians, grandparents, or other relatives or ancestors came. With the help of family members and the school librarian, describe traditional food, customs, sports and games, and music of the place they came from. 

•With the help of the school librarian, give examples of traditions or customs from other countries that can be found in America today.

•With the help of the school librarian, identify and describe well-known sites, events, or landmarks in at least three different countries from which students’ families come and explain why they are important.

To kick off our study of family roots and family history I sent my students home with a letter introducing our new unit and asking families to list countries from their roots.  After that, we made a bulletin board with yarn and a map of the world with yarn depicting our roots.

Close Up of Each Student's Family Root Card

They really enjoyed studying flags and researching them in various atlases and online sources.  After this kick off, I sent home an at home project where my learners had to research one country out of the many that make up their family roots.  This at home project included making a family tree, placing their roots on a world map, listing historic landmarks from their country, describing foods, traditions and other cultural elements, etc.  It also asked families to research the influence on America as well as goods and services found in their chosen country.  When all were passed in, they were so excited and eager to share all that they have learned.  It was fantastic!

Other projects we enjoyed were creating family flags and making a mobile with each member of our family represented on it.  We made a class book of our "classroom family," designed family stamps and made personal time lines.   Here are some finished projects.

Family Mobiles

My Family Flag

My student teacher came up with the idea to introduce graphing by putting together a class graph of our roots by origin.  This product has a page for students to make their own graph--I liked this idea so much, I had to add it.  All and all, we learned so much from each other during this unit of study.  It's great to begin a new school year with it!

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