Community Places Curriculum

I love teaching my students about places in their community.  In order for our students to be successful in their communities, they have to know what places are out there! Plus, community places are naturally meaningful for students, so they are often motivated to learn about them as well.

When to teach it? Community places is a perfect social studies theme, life skills or daily living, English/Language Arts, or you can even sneak in some math!

Of course, it all depends on your students and the time you have available, but you can easily teach one place a week, spending about 15-30 minutes each day on this topic. For students who work at a faster pace, teach three places a week.

Keep things organized by giving each student their own folder with flashcards, worksheets, and data. 

Mondays - Discussion: I start with showing a poster with a picture of the community place we are learning about first. Then we will go over various questions in order to figure out what students already know, help them make connections, and see what they still need to learn! 
 
I then display these posters on the wall (with sticky tack or with magnets so I can easily remove it when needed) so that we can refer back to it as we continue to learn about these places. If we can print pictures of these places around us (ex, for restaurant, a McDonalds and an Olive Garden), they we will stick those under the restaurant poster as an example of types of restaurants around us.
Alternative idea: make a community places bulletin board, and display each week's poster in a "community place of the week" spot. 

Tuesdays - Worksheets: I have a variety of worksheets that we can choose from on Tuesdays. 

The first worksheets we start with are recognizing pictures for my non-readers and recognizing the word in a variety of fonts for my readers.

Depending on how much time we have, I might also have students complete some of the extra worksheets that work on skills like matching, writing, graphing, or cut and paste matching.


If students complete their worksheets early, they can review with their flashcards that they store in their folders.

Wednesdays - Review and data: On Wednesdays we review all of the community places in our current unit using the adapted book and task cards. We might also squeeze in another worksheet if we have extra time or if students are waiting for the turn for the book, task cards, or teacher data time!



And of course, special education teachers LOVE data! Using this data sheet makes it easy, check off what each student is working on (picture recognition, word recognition, or definition) and use a simple +/- to track progress. Students can help track their progress by shading in the graph at the bottom. (Flashcards are provided at each level and can be stored in each student's folder so that they can practice and are ready to go for assessment time!)

Thursdays - Research: This is quite possibly my favorite day. First, we look up the community place on Google maps. From there we can do so many things! We can zoom in and see the actual picture of each place (because Google is amazing like that). We talk about how far away it is, how long it would take to get there. We might also make a list of those places (i.e. tons of different restaurants you can look up and list, a police station you might only do one).

My students have research pages to fill out as they follow along. My non-readers/writers use this simple one, where they trace, color, and then answer three questions with symbol support.

My higher level students fill out this research page writing down information such as the address, what they learned (this is left open ended so the teacher can direct the students if desired, such as who works here, when you do go here, why would you go here, etc). At the bottom there is a place for students to draw, or they can print and paste a picture.


Fridays - Fun Day: Bingo is my absolute favorite review game and a great fun Friday activity to do while still making sure your students learn. You can easily differentiate a game of bingo by saying a description of the place for students to match, and then walk around showing the picture card for students who need to match. 

We also use this I have / Who has game to switch things up, or if (shock face) we ever get sick of bingo!

Community Trips: If we can, we will go to a field trip to some of these community places, or we will use our virtual field trips on Thursday and call it good enough. Remember, even if you can't take your students out on a field trip, they will go to many of these places with their families.

Check out more ideas to use while using this unit or teaching about the community in this Facebook video!

Grab all of the resources featured in this post (and more) BUNDLED HERE and be set to teach community places for the year! Or you can check out the units separately.

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