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TeachNet Grant: NYC From A to Z
Michael Nappi
mnappi@47lowerschool.org

PS 347 The American Sign Language and English Lower School
225 E 23rd Street
New York, NY 10010


Grade/Subject: 2nd Grade, Reading, Writing, Social Studies
About the Grant:

This unit will engage students in the creation of an ABC book about New York City. Students will build comprehension skills as they research, visit, photograph and document sites of interest and importance in NYC. They will document their understandings through writing on reading worksheets. Students will then take these understandings and type them up into the pages of an ABC book about New York City. The students will visit these places and photograph their experiences. Using photo editing software students will choose their own photographs to serve as illustrations for each page of the ABC book. The ABC book will give a contextualized purpose to field trips, show students the importance and historical significance of places in students’ communities and also serve as a motivation for students to read and write.

How This Grant was Adapted:

Students will write pages for an ABC book about New York City. They will come up with lists of places or site of interest specific to New York City and then research these places via field trips, books, personal experiences and Internet queries. Students will then take digital photographs using digital cameras or find pictures on the Internet of these places to use as illustrations to go along with their text in the ABC book. Students will also use the cameras to find and document the letters A through Z in their community. The text and illustrated pages will be compiled and made into a book that students can each have a copy of, that will show students the purpose for field trips and the significance of the landmarks and famous sites all around them.

Students will be typing up their research reports on word processing software. They then will publish and print these reports to form the pages of an ABC book about New York City. Students will choose their own photographs to serve as illustrations and edit them using photo editing software. The books will allow students to understand the significance of research, field trips and sites of interest in NYC. The project will motivate students to read, write and learn by giving them an opportunity to create their own book which they can share with their peers and loved ones.

This unit gives students a real motivation to write and research. The fact that students get to go on field trips and use digital cameras will give students a motivation to work hard and be engaged throughout the duration of this project. The information that students present in their writing will show teachers what students are learning from researching and taking field trips and will be a valuable assessment. This project can also be adapted for other subject areas or can be used for individual student reports. If printing is not available, student work can also be organized into a PowerPoint presentation and distributed to students.

Objectives

Objectives

  1. Students will learn how to research topics using a variety of sources
  2. Students will build on reading comprehension skills
  3. Students will learn how to take notes
  4. Students will enhance keyboarding skills
  5. Students will learn about the history and cultural significance of many New York City landmarks that students see and/or use on a daily basis.
  6. Students will gain practice writing non-fiction informational texts
Websites Used

http://digitalgallery.nypl.org/nypldigital/index.cfm
The New York Public Library (NYPL) Digital Photo Gallery allows students to get a look at places past and present. They were also able to use this site to get photographs they were not able to capture during field trips.

http://go.grolier.com
Web-based Encyclopedia

Standards Addressed:

Standard 1: Students will read, write, listen, and speak for literary response and expression.
Grade: 2
Subject: Literacy

Standard 2: Students will read, write, listen, and speak for information and understanding.
Grade: 2
Subject: Literacy

Standard 3: Students will read, write, listen, and speak for social interaction.
Grade: 2
Subject: Literacy

Standard 4: Students will use a variety of intellectual skills to demonstrate their understanding of major ideas, eras, themes, developments, and turning points in the history of the United States and New York
Grade: 2
Subject: Social Studies

Standard 5: Students will use a variety of intellectual skills to demonstrate their understanding of the geography of the interdependent world in which we live—local, national, and global—including the distribution of people, places, and environments over the Earth’s surface.
Grade: 2
Subject: Social Studies

Lesson 1:

Lesson 1:

Title: Introduction to Project and Idea Gathering

Objectives

  • Students will learn how to make predictions
  • Students will create a list of New York city landmarks to study

Materials

  • Chart Paper
  • Markers
  • A New York City ABC book

Procedures

  1. Tell students that today they will begin to learn all about New York City, the place where they live and go to school.
  2. Show them the book and have students make predictions about what famous NYC spots will be featured in the book. (Explain prediction if students are unfamiliar with this term.) Have the students share with a partner one thing they think will be featured in the book. Chart down some of their predictions and reasons why they chose them.
  3. Read the book aloud.
  4. Ask students if their predictions were correct. If there were incorrect predictions ask students why that particular site might have been omitted from the book. If their predictions were correct ask students why the author felt that this needed to be included. Suggest that since there were so many places that are important to the students that the author of this book overlooked, the students should create their own version of the ABC book that that would include the places important to them.
  5. On chart paper list the letters A – Z leaving room to write suggested places.
  6. Ask students for important places or things in NYC. Then write down all their suggestions underneath the corresponding letter. For example Empire State Building would be written under the letter E.
  7. After students have exhausted their ideas. Have them vote for their favorite location for letters that have more than one suggestion. (It is okay for letters not to have anything listed.) Tell students that they will use this list to help them create their book.
  8. Divide the letters up equally among students. Either allowing them to choose or assigning them letters. Then write down the students’ names next to each letter/site. Explain to students that they will be responsible for researching this site and writing the corresponding page in the ABC book.

Homework

Have students go home and ask friends and families for ideas for the left over letters. (Some letters will be trickier than others, so feel free to be creative.)

Lesson 2:

Lesson 2:

Title: Researching Using Books

Objectives

  • Students will learn how to use books to research
  • Students will gain practice with reading comprehension skills
  • Students will gain practice summarizing
  • Students will learn to take notes

Materials

  • Books about selected NYC sites
  • Pens/pencils
  • Note taking sheet

Procedures

  1. Tell students that they will begin learning about the places they chose to include in their ABC books.
  2. Explain to students that while they may know some things about the place they picked, it is important to learn all about that place including the history and importance.
  3. Have students select 1 letter /site to begin with
  4. Show students the note-taking sheet and explain how to use it. First students should write down the letter and name of the site they are researching. Then students should list any information that they already know about the place. Students’ knowledge about the site will vary greatly and some may have to leave this space blank.
  5. Then have students brainstorm and decide on questions that readers would want answered about the location. This can be done in pairs if students are struggling.
  6. Have students write down their questions on the sheet.
  7. Have students use books and encyclopedias to help students learn about their location/landmark. (A lesson on note-taking should be done prior to this lesson.)
  8. Students should then record their learning on their note taking sheets.
  9. At the end of their research have a few students share some things that they learned.

Assessment

Can be done through listening to student shares and reading their notes.

Lesson 3:

Lesson 3:

Title: Researching Using the Internet

Objectives

  • Students will use Internet websites to research
  • Students will gain keyboarding practice
  • Students will gain practice with reading comprehension skills
  • Students will gain practice summarizing
  • Students will learn to take notes

Materials

  • Computers with Internet access
  • Web-based encyclopedias
  • Note taking sheet
  • Pens/pencils

Procedures

  1. Tell students that they will continue learning about the places they chose to include in their ABC books.
  2. Have students select a letter /site to begin with or continue to work on the one from the previous lesson
  3. Review with students how to use the note-taking sheet.
  4. Have students identify and share questions they still need answers to.
  5. Demonstrate how to use web-based encyclopedias
  6. Have students use Internet searches and website to learn more about their location/landmark.
  7. Students should then record their learning on their note-taking sheets.
  8. At the end of their research have a few students share some things that they learned and questions they still need answers to.
Lesson 4

Lesson 4

Title: Planning Trips

Objectives

  • How to use maps
  • How to write an address

Materials

  • Computers with Internet access
  • NYC maps
  • Markers

Procedures

  1. Explain to students that while research using books helps us learn about a place, it is also helpful to visit a place to learn about it. (This may be necessary if there aren’t resources available on a specific location.)
  2. Tell students that they will be going on trips to visit many of the locations they have selected to write about. Also explain that they will be helping plan the trips.
  3. Have students identify the location of the school on the map.
  4. Next have students identify the location of their destination on a map.
  5. Have students find out the address of their selected location and using GoogleMaps, or maps have them plan the route from the school to the site.
  6. Students should use compass directions to indicate the route needed to complete the trip.
  7. Once students have figured out the route make a schedule of field trips. Remind students that these trips are not only for fun but are a chance for them to learn more information that can be included in their books.
Lesson 5:

Lesson 5:

Title: Going On Trips, Taking and Editing Photographs

Objectives

  • Students will learn to use photo-editing software
  • Students will gain practice-taking notes

Materials

  • Digital Cameras
  • Computers with Photo Editing software
  • Note taking sheets
  • Pens/Pencils

Procedure

  1. Explain to students that when they go on the planned field trips, they will need to take notes and learn about their places. Explain that they will use these notes and other research to help them write their page of the ABC book.
  2. Emphasize the importance of the writing but inform students that their book will be missing something if they only have words.
  3. Show students examples of ABC books and ask them what they notice about the pages of an ABC book.
  4. Students should recognize that pictures of both the corresponding letter and site are included in these books.
  5. Tell students that they will use digital cameras on these trips to document their findings and to serve as illustrations for their text. Also inform them that they should be on the look out for the letter of the site in the environment.
  6. Show students digital cameras and have them practice using them.
  7. Take students on field trips using the routes students planned if they are correct. While on the trip have students take notes and pictures of the location, as well as alphabet letters in the environment.
  8. When students return have them upload their photographs to computers.
Lesson 6:

Lesson 6:

Title: Typing Up Pages and Editing Photograph Illustrations

Objective

  • Students will learn to use photo-editing software
  • Students will gain keyboarding practice
  • Students will gain practice editing and revising

Materials

  • Digital Cameras
  • Computers with Photo Editing and Word Processing software
  • Note taking sheets
  • Pens/Pencils

Procedures

  1. Have students select the information they think is important to include in their book. Then have them use word processing software to type up this information. (If students are unfamiliar with this software a lesson on how to use it should be done prior to this.)
  2. Have students work in pairs on editing and revising their work. Have them take out information that may not be of interest to readers. Make sure students have included the name of the place they have selected to include and the letter that corresponds to it.
  3. Then have students go through their photographs and select the ones they would like to use as illustrations for their book.
  4. Students can use as many or as few illustrations as they want for their page. Students should be shown how to crop photographs using photo editing software and how to compile photographs and create a collage to serve as their illustrations.
  5. Students should then select photographs of the alphabet letters in their environment. They should crop these photos until only the desired letter is shown.
  6. Show students how to copy the letter image on to the corresponding text page.
  7. If students are not able to take pictures of their site allow them to use the Internet and the New York Public Library photo archive to find pictures to use.
  8. When students are finished with their text and illustrations have them print the pages and assemble all pages into a book that can be used in the classroom and read by the students.

Assessment

Student’s writing can be used as an assessment piece.

Michael Nappi is a native New Yorker. In 2008 he graduated from New York University with a Master's degree in Special Education, which is where he also received his Bachelor's degree in Childhood and Special Education. He currently teaches the 2nd grade at P.S. 347 in Manhattan. He is currently a member of NYU's Social Justice Critical Inquiry Project, a group of new teachers with a special interest in incorporating social justice into curriculum and educating students about issues of social justice.

ABC RESEARCH SHEET

E IS FOR EMPIRE STATE BUILDING ILLUSTRATION PAGE

E IS FOR EMPIRE STATE BUILDING TEXT PAGE

 

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