Our Selves, Our Classroom, Our Families
Lesson Objective: Students learn about personal, peer, and family identities
Grade 1 / Social Studies / Identity

Thought starters

  1. What is the significance of "Star Student of the Week"?
  2. How does the flag project help students understand their family identity?
  3. How does learning about self-identify, their class community, and their families lay the foundation for good citizenship?
15 Comments
Such a great idea! I want to definitely implement this when I have my own classroom.
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Great idea.
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Great lesson and ideas. Excellent job teaching the lesson:))
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What a fantastic teacher!
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Always learning a lot from you!! I am from Brazil and you are helping me a lot to improve my classes...
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Transcripts

  • [01:00:12;09]
    TITLE: All About Me (And My Family)

    [01:00:19;25]
    KIM LAURANCE - VERITE:
    Good morning Room 102.

    [01:00:21;05]
    STUDENT(S):
    Good

    [01:00:12;09]
    TITLE: All About Me (And My Family)

    [01:00:19;25]
    KIM LAURANCE - VERITE:
    Good morning Room 102.

    [01:00:21;05]
    STUDENT(S):
    Good morning, Ms. Laurance.

    NARRATOR:
    For 1st grade teacher Kimberly Laurance, social studies involves getting her students to learn about each other – both the differences and the similarities. She’s teaching them to respect one another – and to respect the diverse backgrounds of each other’s families.

    It’s a key foundation for social studies – and for life.

    In this video, we’ll look at two activities – one where students learn about each other, and one where they learn about each other’s families.

    [01:00:48;02]
    KIM LAURANCE:
    At the beginning of the year, I start off with the students thinking about themselves because that's kind of where they're at. And I want them to represent themselves, and also become a part of the community by sharing themselves and learning about others.

    [01:01:02;05]
    NARRATOR:
    This morning, Mrs. Laurance leads a recurring social studies activity that puts one lucky student in the spotlight.

    [01:01:09;04]
    KIM LAURANCE:
    This exercise is called Star Student of the Day.

    [01:01:21;22]
    KIM LAURANCE - VERITE:
    Ok, our Star Student this morning is... who? Isaraya!
    Let's give her a big round of applause - Isaraya!

    KIM LAURANCE:
    They get to be literally the star.
    They get to choose the cape, and get chanted and cheered for.

    KIM LAURANCE - VERITE:
    We can do better than that. Dah dah dah daaaaaaaaaah.

    KIM LAURANCE:
    And then we move into the interview.

    [01:01:46;07]
    KIM LAURANCE - VERITE:
    Let's do our interview...

    KIM LAURANCE:
    The other kids are little reporters and they get to call on the students.

    KIM LAURANCE - VERITE:
    ...Let's go newspaper reporters!

    STUDENT(S):
    Um, what's your favorite animal?

    Giraffe.

    What's your favorite food?

    Soup.

    What's your favorite drink?

    Apple juice.

    KIM LAURANCE:
    It's interactive, but it also lets them find out information about their classmates so they can connect with them.

    STUDENT(S):
    What's your favorite game?
    What's your favorite color?
    Where do you like to go?

    Uh... Chuckee Cheese.

    Me too!

    [01:02:34;06]
    KIM LAURANCE:
    You make connections - and say "Oh I didn't know that about them. That's true for me, too. Oh cool!"

    That's the way that they start to feel that they're a group.

    NARRATOR:
    During the interview, Mrs. Laurance was writing down Isaraya’s answers to create her Star Student article.

    KIM LAURANCE - VERITE:
    Alright - so now it is time for us to read it. Feel free to join in and read any of the words that you want...

    KIM LAURANCE:
    As we read the Star Student's article for that day, if it's something that is true for them - or that they also like or agree with - um, then they do silent applause.

    KIM LAURANCE - VERITE:
    Here we go: Isaraya's favorite food is soup...

    KIM LAURANCE:
    It helps them buy into the idea that they belong.

    KIM LAURANCE - VERITE:
    Her favorite drink is apple juice...

    KIM LAURANCE:
    So they feel like they have friends here. They have people who care about them because they asked them questions and they know about them.
    It's a way for the students to get to know each other, and learn about each other. And to appreciate each other.

    [01:03:37;00]
    NARRATOR:
    After the class reads the article, Isaraya picks one sentence, which Mrs. Laurance writes on the board. It will be the basis for their next task.
    For Mrs. Laurance, these Star Student articles are a great way to get her students reading and writing.”

    KIM LAURANCE:
    These articles are some of the first readings that they'll do.
    We re-read them so they feel comfortable with the words.
    A lot of them are repetitive, like favorite. And color.
    And I also draw pictures above the words that aren't as repetitive, so that they can remember what the word is.

    KIM LAURANCE - VERITE:
    A giraffe.

    STUDENT(S):
    I knew it!

    [01:04:23;05]
    NARRATOR:
    Next… students gather on the rug to copy down sentences from the article.

    KIM LAURANCE:
    At the beginning of the year, I want them to feel comfortable writing, and not have a lot of stress about it.
    So that's why they have the scaffolding of the article that they can take words from.

    They have a blank piece of paper.
    They have to have 3 components: the drawing, their name, and the sentence.

    STUDENT(S):
    Isaraya's favorite animal is a giraffe.

    [01:04:59;18]
    NARRATOR:
    This writing activity helps students build their skills – and their confidence.

    KIM LAURANCE:
    We start off slower where they just have to write the name of the student.

    STUDENT(S):
    a...... y.......

    KIM LAURANCE:
    And then we move into adding labels. And then we move into a sentence.

    KIM LAURANCE - VERITE:
    Good job, Adiell. Don't forget your period. Ok? After the e. Good. Nice.

    KIM LAURANCE:
    In doing that, I set them up for feeling successful as writers. And at the beginning of the year, that's super important because a lot of 1st graders come in feeling like I can't write.

    STUDENT(S):
    Isaraya's favorite animal is a giraffe.

    [IMAGES OF STUDENT WORK]

    STUDENT(S):
    Isaraya's favorite color is pink.

    [01:05:56;02]
    KIM LAURANCE - VERITE:
    And let's cheer for her one more time and say, "Go Isaraya!"

    NARRATOR:
    Every student will get their chance to be the Star!

    KIM LAURANCE:
    It's the core of setting up the year, so that each student can be successful and we can help each other... um... learn.

    KIM LAURANCE - VERITE:
    High five - good job, sweetie!

    [01:06:15;19]
    TITLE: Five weeks later

    NARRATOR:
    By this point in the year, the focus in social studies has shifted …from the individual students to their families.
    On this morning – like many mornings – families are welcomed into the class to begin the day with their own special reading time.

    KIM LAURANCE:
    I just always invite the families in - to just read with the kids in the morning.
    A group of kids forms around them, and the kids are just like, "Oh!" ... so engaged.
    I want my students to understand that their family is welcome here. They're not only an important part of them, they're an important part of our community.

    NARRATOR:
    As the school day continues, “family” becomes the subject of the lesson itself.

    KIM LAURANCE:
    We've been reading books about families - both informative books about structure and components of families, and also just books with families in them.
    We did our family tree. Every student brought in a picture of their family, and we placed it up there.

    NARRATOR:
    And most importantly, the driving force in this social studies unit is the question: “What do we know about families?”

    [01:07:36;04]
    KIM LAURANCE - VERITE:
    Ok... I put our poster back up on the middle of the board. And this is our "What do we know about families?" poster...

    KIM LAURANCE:
    I started off with a very broad open guiding question: What do we know about families?
    And they just brainstormed ideas.
    So if they told me our family likes to go get smoothies, then I put that under the sub web heading of doing activities together.
    And then other ones are traditions... and how families communicate... what families look like.

    KIM LAURANCE - VERITE:
    Different skin colors. Different numbers of brothers and sisters. Two moms or two dads. Different number of people in the family.

    KIM LAURANCE:
    And so we went into the structure of families and how they look.
    And there's a lot of differences in that. And then I said, "Well, if there's so many differences, then what is it about families that make them a family?"

    KIM LAURANCE - VERITE:
    We talked about some of those things. You said, "What makes a family?" Love. That's a similarity. Living beings. Doing stuff together a lot. And I just added, "a group of people who are related." Those are similarities in families. So we do have a lot in common as families, too.

    [01:08:41;22]
    NARRATOR:
    “Today, Mrs. Laurance is adding a new concept to the chart.”

    KIM LAURANCE - VERITE:
    The big word is i... dent... tity. Identity. Ok? Everyone say that: say identity!

    STUDENT(S):
    Identity!

    KIM LAURANCE - VERITE:
    Ok - so an identity has to do with "Who you are" "What you're made of" and "Your story."
    So I'm going to write that up here.
    "Who you are" "What" - and when I say "What you are made of" I don't mean like your bones and your muscles and your flesh that makes your actual physical body inside, ok.
    It has more to do with the things in your life that lead you to where you are.

    So identity: Who you are. What you are made of. And your story. Ok?
    So each of you has an identity, but guess what? Your family does, too. All of these things have to do with your family's identity. Say "identity."

    STUDENT(S):
    Identity!

    KIM LAURANCE:
    That led us into being able to talk about representing your family's identity on a flag.

    KIM LAURANCE - VERITE:
    You're going to make your own flag to represent your family's identity.

    How are you going to do that? You're going to use two major things. One main thing is you're going to use colors, ok? And another one is symbols and pictures.

    [CALIFORNIA FLAG]

    [01:10:17;12]
    KIM LAURANCE - VERITE:
    Alright - so let's look at some flags...

    NARRATOR:
    Next, the class looks at some examples of flags.

    KIM LAURANCE - VERITE:
    Ready? - What flag is this? What place is this from?

    STUDENT(S):
    California!

    KIM LAURANCE - VERITE:
    It's California.

    KIM LAURANCE:
    It was important to me in the flag project that... students felt a very strong connection to their flag.
    And that it ... they felt that it really represented and connected to them and their family.

    KIM LAURANCE - VERITE:
    These next flags - there are some of you in the room who may have special connections to these...

    KIM LAURANCE:
    So... when I put flags out, I purposefully chose flags that represented children in my class. That I knew that their families had connections to, because I wanted them, when I put them out there, to do exactly what they did, which was like, "Oh, that's my family..."

    KIM LAURANCE - VERITE:
    Does anyone know what this flag is?
    And I'm going to leave them out here for you to keep looking at them.

    STUDENT(S):
    India!

    KIM LAURANCE - VERITE:
    It is. It's India. I do think there's a couple people in here that might have a strong connection to that country.

    Does anyone know what flag this is?

    STUDENT(S):
    Iran!

    KIM LAURANCE - VERITE:
    It is - it's Iran. Yeah!

    KIM LAURANCE:
    That's the way to pull them in. Not just their attention, but also to really get them thinking and excited about it.

    STUDENT(S):
    Mexico!

    KIM LAURANCE - VERITE:
    It is - it's Mexico.

    [01:11:35;26]
    NARRATOR:
    Beyond simply identifying the flags, Mrs. Laurance wants her students to look deeper into their meanings.

    KIM LAURANCE - VERITE:
    What do you think the green here represents? In this flag. The green.

    STUDENT(S):
    Land.

    KIM LAURANCE - VERITE:
    Ok, it does have to do with the land.

    So, the red.

    What about the black?

    You know what the white means? Tell us, Jalen.

    STUDENT(S):
    Peace.

    KIM LAURANCE - VERITE:
    Peace? Good! Jalen - you do know! And did your... Who told you that?

    STUDENT(S):
    My gram and grandpa.

    KIM LAURANCE - VERITE:
    Very good. So they passed that knowledge down to you. That's really great...

    KIM LAURANCE:
    So I didn't want them just to pick a flag that is part of their family's history. For some kids, that is a strong connection. But for others, it's not.

    KIM LAURANCE - VERITE:
    Symbols can tell a story. And I want your flag to tell a story through the symbols and colors you choose...

    KIM LAURANCE:
    So. Rather than just saying "Pick a flag from one of your ancestors," I wanted them to create their own.

    [01:12:26;17]
    NARRATOR:
    She introduces some elements that they might use in their next task: creating their flags.

    KIM LAURANCE - VERITE:
    Sometimes you might have ribbons.

    Sometimes flags have patterns.

    Sometimes they put years. This is the year the state became a part of the United States. You might put what? What year is important to you and your family?

    STUDENT(S):
    The day when you were born?

    KIM LAURANCE - VERITE:
    Yeah - the year and the date when you were born. You might put that on your flag...

    The most important thing is that you represent your lovely beautiful wonderful family that loves you in a proud way...

    KIM LAURANCE:
    When we're talking about families, I often think about my own experiences when I was a child... learning about my identity and trying to understand it. Especially as someone who is biracial and had some things go on in my childhood that were difficult that I didn't understand... I really feel like it's important to talk about it.

    KIM LAURANCE - VERITE:
    An animal that I was thinking about is a zebra, because I like zebras - I think they're magnificent animals - but my family is also black and white, and that's important to me and my family's identity...

    KIM LAURANCE:
    In helping them feel proud of themselves, proud of their family, I do hope that it helps start to build in them a strength of self that will help them later on in life continue to be strong.

    KIM LAURANCE - VERITE:
    Ok, go.

    [01:13:47;08]
    NARRATOR:
    Bursting with ideas, the students get to work on a first draft of their family flags.

    [KIDS WORKING ON FLAGS]

    STUDENT(S):
    It says Jamaica on the bottom.

    STUDENT(S):
    Because my mom lived in Poland, and I did a fancy "P" here.

    STUDENT(S):
    I'm drawing the ocean because my family likes to go to the beach.

    KIM LAURANCE - VERITE:
    Cool! I can't wait, I have to ask you: Tell me about the animals on there.

    STUDENT(S):
    It's because my, because my family likes to go on hikes.

    KIM LAURANCE - VERITE:
    Oh, and you see animals on those hikes? I love that. That's beautiful, Isaac.

    [01:14:53;01]
    [STUDENTS LEAVING CLASSROOM]

    KIM LAURANCE:
    There are a lot of people from lots of different places who are here with us... in our community, in our classroom, in our school, and in the world.

    And part of understanding each other is understanding people's identities: What makes them who they are?

    And that there's things about yourself that are important to you. There's things about your family that are important to you, that you want others to respect.

    I think that for social studies this is essential because if you really truly want to be a productive part of a community - whether it's local or worldwide - that's one of the first steps:

    Opening your heart, opening your mind, to finding out about other people - and respecting the things that are important to them.

    [01:15:43;29]
    [TEACHING CHANNEL LOGO]

    CREDITS:

    Producers: Catherine Ryan
    Ian Slattery
    Gary Weimberg
    Director / Editor: Ian Slattery
    Camera: Gary Weimberg
    Brooke Minters
    Sound: Tom Gorman
    Assistant Editor: Brooke Minters

    With thanks to Kim Laurance and the staff
    and students of Washington Elementary School.

    A Luna Production
    for Teaching Channel

    © 2011 Teaching Channel

School Details

Washington Elementary School
2300 Martin Luther King Junior Way
Berkeley CA 94704
Population: 468

Data Provided By:

greatschools

Teachers

Kimberly Laurance

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Teaching Practice

All Grades / All Subjects / Collaboration

Teaching Practice

All Grades / All Subjects / Planning

Teaching Practice

All Grades / All Subjects / Engagement

Lesson Idea

Grades 9-12 / ELA / Tch DIY