First Graders are Community Planners!

  First graders hard at work.  

First graders hard at work. 

An update from First Grade teachers

Last week, our PKS first graders continued their discussion on "community." Students read the mini-book I Love My Community and used the Chinese names for libraries, parks, toy stores, restaurants, and soccer fields. The mini-book ended in an open-ended form that invited students to think about what other places could be added to a community to make it even better. These first grade community planners came up with many ideas -- like water parks, bookstores, and zoos! We encouraged them to take the conversation home -- what could be changed in your home neighborhood to make it healthier, safer or more fun? 

  Busy first graders enjoying class activity .

Busy first graders enjoying class activity.

Students also started working on the "Me on the Map" project, which helps them visualize their place in the world. They began the project by writing the appropriate location names on concentric circles. These names are the Earth (地球), North America (北美洲), United States (美国), California (加州), San Francisco (旧金山), and the school (学校) from the largest to the smallest. 

In Chinese humanities class, students worked in small groups at learning centers. One of these groups practiced writing core Chinese characters for the mapping unit. We are excited to observe that students are able to recognize these characters in different contexts! On Library Day, for example, we read the morning message about going to the library in the afternoon. “Library” (图书馆) is a newer word to some first graders, but many were able to recognize the character “图” as it also appeared in the word“地图” (map). 

  A first grader works on his creative project.

A first grader works on his creative project.

While practicing, students also came up with creative ways of remembering these characters. For example, a student shared with us that the top part of “公” and the inside part of “园” look like a slide, and guess what “公园” means? The park!

As always, our integrated Unit of Exploration learning captures student interests in unpredictable ways. No week is ever the same.