The global communities unit is so fun, but also can be overwhelming. Many students haven’t left the province, let alone the country. This can make learning about global communities challenging as it is an abstract concept. Without exposure, students can’t easily imagine places different to their own. As a result, I needed to create opportunities for them to experience different communities in an interactive way.
With this in mind, I set out to find some websites and interactive activities to introduce global communities to my Grade 2s. In addition to this, I created a printable and digital activity unit to tie it all together.
These are a few of the awesome websites I found…
Mocomi Kids have simple YouTube videos that explain concepts beautifully. I used the 7 Continents of the World video to introduce continents to my students. The video focusses on the different continents and some fun facts about each one.
I used my definition anchor charts to discuss and explain terminology. (I will refer back to these charts throughout the unit.) After watching the video and discussing the different continents and terminology, my students completed a ‘Colour the Continent’ activity sheet found in my Global Communities for Grade 2 Unit.
Another useful video from Mocomi Kids is this one. It explains the connection between the equator and temperature using visuals. The Antarctica video explains the impact of the temperature being close to the South Pole. The digital version of my unit, includes a super fun conversation spinner. This is used to encourage conversation about how the climate differs around the globe using questions, for example, “How would your clothing change if you moved to Chile? In addition, there is also a printable conversation dice version.)
Maths is Fun
This site has a fun Cardinal Directions activity to use after students have a good understanding of the concept.
Firstly, I used my anchor charts to explain the concept to my class. Then we completed a fun movement activity in class and finally, students played this online game to consolidate the information. This game involves following cardinal directions to work out where the people are on the grid. A “Compasses and Continents” activity sheet was used to record understanding.
The National Geographic Website has an awesome interactive world map. I gave my students opportunities to share countries and cities they have been to. Then we used this map on the Smartboard and identified where the places are in the world. As a result, my students were able to see the different countries in relation to Ontario.
We made a note of the different countries explored on an anchor chart. My students worked in pairs to complete a “Continents and Countries” puzzle. They cut it out and matched the Countries to the Continents using the interactive map as assistance.
Google Earth can be such fun! After being introduced to the continents, oceans, and basic functions of how to interact with the site, students could explore Google Earth. They chose a place they would like to learn more about and used an activity sheet to record their findings.
Fact Monster has a detailed section about Kids around the World. Each country has information about the children living there for example: their climate, school, play, family, foods and interesting animals.
This website was perfect for my Communities Research Project included in the Unit.
What I focused on teaching in my Research Project
Included in my Global Communities Grade 2 Unit, is an extensive research project. I focused on teaching my students the following research skills:
Why we use questions.
We brainstormed why we ask questions and recorded our findings on a chart. I reminded students that asking questions is how researchers decide what to focus on.
How to formulate good questions.
I encouraged students to use questions from all parts of the Q-chart before they wrote their questions on sticky notes in small groups. We had a gallery walk afterwards so students could compare their questions in order to notice similarities.
How to group questions according to certain topics.
We worked together to categorize the questions into broad categories. To demonstrate, I chose a community and we answered the questions together. This was a model for students to refer to when they completed their own research.
What research looks like in the classroom.
I used Looks like, Sounds like, Feels like, to establish norms and expectations in the research classroom.
What a successful researcher looks like.
We discussed how to prepare, search, process and share information using the anchor charts in the unit.
How to structure information using graphic organizers.
I included a variety of graphic organizers that can be used to record information found while researching. For example, I included tables, Venn diagrams and mind maps.
How to present research finding:
My students used the ‘kiosk’ method to present their information. I created a ‘kiosk’ by attaching two legal sized folders together to create a little cubicle. Each student created a cubicle and used the flap book templates to paste to the cubicle to present their findings. There was flexibility in choosing the type of template to use, some used picture sheets some brochures and some Venn diagrams. I included these templates in my unit.
Other elements included in my Global Communities Grade 2 Unit
All the anchor charts, printable, digital activities and projects referred to in this post are conveniently included in my Global Communities Grade 2 Unit. Additional activities included are:
- Vocabulary Word Wall words
- My mini dictionary
- Letters from different communities
- Real photos of different communities around the world
- Creating a passport
- Big Ideas and Framing Questions
- Digital and Printable activities
I trust you found this post helpful and your kiddos will love using the different websites. If you have a interactive website, perfect for this theme, please share in the comments.
**Please note: Some ideas are shared from classroom teachers with my (Tina’s) ideas and comments mixed in.**
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