During the fall, both Learning Centers classes and Family Learning Program classes study the topics of community and civics. The fall curriculum therefore covers things like the school system, places in the community, time, money, and relationships. In the ESOLC class that I teach at the James Lee Community Center, we just finished looking at the different buildings and services that are part of our community. We learned about the library, the post office, the police station, supermarkets, drug stores, hospitals, restaurants, and banks.
As a wrap-up and review activity, I turned our classroom into a “community” and set up stations all over the room that represented the different buildings and services that we studied. I divided my class into small groups and the students had to travel around their community and complete different real-world tasks at each stop. For example, at the bank the students had to write a “check” to a classmate. At the library, students filled out library card applications with their personal information. Next they went to the train station where students looked at a metro schedule and followed a series of clues in order to figure out a secret train stop I directed them to. When they got to the supermarket, students looked through grocery advertisements and made shopping lists. At the post office, students wrote a letter to a classmate and addressed an envelope. At the restaurant, students browsed through menus and picked out what meal they would order for dinner.
This was a really fun and educational activity because it got students moving around and interacting with one another. Additionally, all of the stations involved real-life applications of the vocabulary and concepts I had been teaching about for the past several weeks. I think that it is really important for the students to see how the things that they are learning in class are directly applicable to their lives as members of the communities they live in.
-Alicia Nieves, Lead Teacher and AmeriCorps Member