Sharon Dudley is a veteran educator with over 20 years of experience in the early childhood field. She uses technology to create games and personalized take-home reading books for each child based on their needs and interests. She offers nearly 200 games, books, and other resources on Teachers Pay Teachers. She is also the author of a blog, Teaching With Sight.
Community Helpers and More!
My ESOL kindergarten students loved reading the big book My Community that is part of the My World series. Every page prompted rich discussions about our neighborhoods. In the beginning of the year, my students were very mixed up about communities, community helpers, and vehicles they use. For example, I asked “Who puts out fires?” and one student responded “A fire engine!” He could not tell me that it was a fire fighter who actually did the job, and that the fire engine was the vehicle.
Now my students have a much better grasp of the theme vocabulary. One thing I like about this book is that the illustrations show many different types of communities, encouraging the children to contrast city life (where they live) to a country community. Another thing I like is that the book talks about various homes as well as places we go in the community to have fun (such as pools), which the students were very excited to see. I don’t often see this in books about communities.
Music is a very powerful tool to help children remember facts. When I was little, I learned my multiplication tables and parts of speech from listening to and watching “School House Rock.”
Therefore, I incorporate music into all subjects of the curriculum, including social studies. One simple idea for centers that I’ve used this year is placing a CD in Listening Center that has community helper songs such as:
- “Community Workers” by Bubbly Vee
- “Community Helpers” by Mar Harmon
- “Community Helpers” by Shawn Brown
In Creativity Center, I have Duplos that students can use to make a whole community with buildings, people, and vehicles. I encourage my students to talk about their work as they build it, since I am blind and I want to know what they’re doing. This strategy works great for sighted teachers too. You can record their narrations with your phone or other device to document their growth throughout the year.
In ABC Center, I place cards in a pocket chart so that students can use a pointer to read sentences independently. I go over it first in large group, and students usually pick up on it fairly quickly. One of the products I offer in my Teachers Pay Teachers shop is a Community Helper Folder that helps children make their own books and labeled pictures about their favorite community helpers. I made a freebie that you can download at the bottom of this page. It includes a community helpers matching game and pocket chart sentences.
Sharon Dudley is a classroom teacher and grade-level chairperson at the kindergarten level at a Title I school in Prince George’s County, MD with a 95% ESOL population. She was featured in a TV news segment for being a blind educator who achieved certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards in just one year, and she has served as a mentor for candidates who are aiming to achieve certification themselves.
For more information on the My World series, which contains the book used in this post, you can click here to visit our website, or click the image below to download a series information sheet. For the community helpers matching activity and pocket chart sentences, click the image to the right below to download!