Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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LINK: Social Studies in Action Home Image of an elementary school student.
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Leaders, Community, and Citizens

Video Summary: How do you teach young students abstract concepts like the different levels and functions of government? First-grade teacher Cynthia Vaughn focuses on the connection between citizens, community issues, and civic leaders.

Working as a class, students name the different elected positions in local, state, and national government (for example, mayor, governor, president), and record them on a wall-mounted graphic organizer. Next, Ms. Vaughn identifies the individuals who currently hold these positions and describes the role and responsibilities of each one. Students then locate the office of each leader on a map of the United States (for example, the president's "office" is in the White House, located in Washington, D.C.). Finally, students work in pairs to create charts of their own.

After they have completed their charts, students place models of commercial and residential buildings on a floor map of Rooftop Town, a fictitious community they've built together as a class. They discuss some of the issues facing the town, then break into small groups, each headed by a "mayor," to address community concerns. The lesson ends with each mayor reporting to the class about the issues discussed -- homelessness, the environment, cigarette smoking, and violent movies - and how they might be resolved.

Class at a Glance
Themes and Disciplines Addressed in this Lesson

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