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New Teachers New York:
Lesson Plans by New Teachers, For New Teachers
A Day in the Life of a Police Officer 

Students will understand family and community in the present time.  Students will participate in a variety of group and individual activities, tasks, and play. Students will understand that others may have differing opinions. Students will respect the ideas of others.

Created by: Anna Tattan 
Location: PS 40
Grade: kindergarten
Subject: Social Studies

If you have any questions regarding this activity, please contact anna.tattan@gmail.com

Students will: Share ideas about police officers and relate to their classmates. Refer to their prior knowledge and information discussed to explain and support their ideas. Have first-hand experience talking with a police officer and asking questions directly. Prepare for a visit with a police officer by charting ideas, reading about police officers, and preparing thoughtful questions.

A Day in the Life of a Police Officer is part of Social Studies curriculum based on the theme All About Me. Kindergarten students spend the year learning about themselves, their family, and the community they live in. Part of their community consists of community helpers, and police officers are great examples of helpers in the community. After taking a walk to the fire station to visit with firefighters earlier this year, students had the opportunity to visit with a police officer who came to our school for an afternoon. Students are becoming more aware of the many people that make up one community and how we all work together.

Community is a group of people who live in the same area. Community can also mean a group of people with common background or shared interests within a society, and the children will learn that our classroom is a community of students of similar background and shared interests. My students will learn the different names for a police officer and what police officers do: police force, watching over us, and maintaining the law and order.

Begin by charting student ideas about police officers. Who is a police officer? What does he/she do? What does a police officer look like (what does he/she wear?). Give students time to share their own experiences with police officers, also giving students the opportunity to listen and respond to each other. Read A Day in the Life of a Police Officer, written by Jan Kottke. Discuss what new information the students learned. Then give the students times to respond to the book. Students may draw and use new words used in the book to show something a police officer does throughout the day. Students will share their writing with the class. Gather students together and chart questions students may still have about police officers. Chart questions to ask the visiting police officer (or if no police officer is able to visit, chart questions that the students could ask a police officer).   If possible, students could take a community walk to see what a police station looks like from the outside.

Students will help the teacher chart ideas. Students will share experiences and knowledge about police officers. Students will respond to the discussion and the book about one day in the life of a police officer. Students will think of and express questions that still remain in their minds.

Students can make up a song, poem, play or story about police officers and what they do. Students may want to make up their own police officer and create a day for that officer. Students can act out their creative activity during dramatic play time.

Students will go home and share their thoughts and questions about police officers with their families. Students will be able to label police officers as community helpers and will be able to show the similarities between police officers and firefighters.

Students will be able to label police officers as community helpers in further  discussions and find a pattern in further studies on community helpers.

The students involved are students coming from a monocultural community, low economic status, and families who often deal with police officers on a daily basis. These are students who are young but are coming to school with highly developed ideas about police officers and what they do for a living.

Overall Value
Students who have the opportunity to speak with a police officer and ask questions are lucky students. Typically, students catch police officers in the act of  arresting someone, and their vision of what a police officer does is skewed. Given the opportunity, students can change their negative image into a positive image just by having the opportunity to hear from a live police officer.

Teacher Tips
The lesson is guided by the students. If students bring up an interesting idea about police officers, go along with that thought. Students can be surprising.

Anna Tattan is a first-year kindergarten teacher in Brooklyn. She moved from Michigan to reach out to children with backgrounds different from her own, and she has discovered more challenges than ever imagined. Teaching has been a trial and error process and continues to be a work in progress.


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