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Lesson Plans Created by TeachNet Adaptor Grants
Dream Houses
Name: Marisa Ostheimer
School: PS 124
Address: 40 Division Street
City: New York, NY, 10002
Original Project: Dream Houses
Author: Margaret McQuade
URL: http://teachersnetwork.org/teachnetnyc/mmcquade/homesfp.htm

How did you modify this unit for use in your own classroom?: I loved the idea of teaching my students about different types of houses. Since most of my class lives in the Chinatown, they are used to apartment buildings that consist of one or two bedrooms. Many of the students have never been in a private house before. We explored how houses were built and looked at pictures of different houses. I had the children draw the house they would dream of living in one day. They were asked to write about what makes their house a “Dream House”. Then I decided to have the children make their own dream buildings. This was an easier task for them as we took a walk around the neighborhood and looked at the different types of buildings. The students then created their own “Dream Building” out of clay. When the clay dried they painted it the colors of their choice. We read the poem Our House—A Traditional Rhyme. The students created their own Acrostic Poems about their own houses. We then looked at the song Our House by Crosby, Stills, and Nash. We read the words as a shared reading and then learned the music to go with it.

List your primary instructional objectives for your students.

  Students learned about the different types of houses in which people live (past and present).
  Students learned about the materials, equipment, and personal jobs needed to build a house.
  Students learned about the differences between living in a private house and living in an apartment building.
  Students learned about what it meant to create a "Dream House/ Dream Building."

What role did technology play in this curriculum unit?: We used the Internet to find pictures of different houses and buildings in which people live. http://hgpho.to/wfest/house/house-e.html was the web site used. We used the following Internet web site: http://kids.niehs.nih.gov/lyrics/ourhouse.htm to find the lyrics and music for "Our House" by Crosby, Stills, and Nash. We used the word processor to type our Acrostic Poems about our houses.

How did you assess and evaluate student performance?: I will be assessing student performance by looking at: 1. oral language and vocabulary of words related to houses and buildings 2. drawings of their dream houses and writings about what makes their house a dream house. 3. construction of their clay dream buildings 4. writing of the Acrostic Poem 5. reading and fluency skills of the song

Please tell us briefly about your background & teaching experience: Ms. Ostheimer received her undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she majored in communications. Se moved to New York City where she earned an M.A. in Early Childhood/Elementary Education at NYU. Ms. Ostheimer has been teaching at PS 124 for 4 years. She taught 1st grade her first year and has been teaching 2nd grade ever since!

What are your recommendations for other teachers interested in adapting this unit?: My students really enjoyed learning about the houses that different people live in around the world. There were a lot of art projects associated with this unit which excited the children. Some of the concepts about building a house were a little difficult for young children to understand. It's important to use a lot of pictures and diagrams to help explain the process of building a house and the jobs of the workers. I highly recommend using How A House is Built by Gail Gibbons, 1990, Scholastic Inc., New York.


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