Last week marked the beginning of our first conceptual unit of the school year! Each unit this year will combine language arts and social studies to create a blended subject called "humanities." Our first humanities unit is called "Building A Community," and it aims to deeply cover the 3rd grade Civics and Government standards alongside the reading and writing standards. We will examine the dynamics and levels of power that help our classroom community to function harmoniously, then use that understanding to learn about our local, state, and national government systems.
To start things off, we dissected the concept of "rights." After all, our country was founded to secure and protect certain rights, and those rights are the reason why we have laws, elections, and governments in the first place! To begin, we read aloud a beautiful picture book called I Have the Right to Be a Child.
This powerful and beautifully illustrated book points out rights that children (and adults) often take for granted, such as the right to have enough to eat and to be free from violence. I wanted the children to hear the word "right" used over and over in context so that they would develop an intuitive sense of the meaning of the word.
Next, I wrote 4 sentence starters on 4 pieces of paper. "A right is kind of like..." "A right reminds me of..." "A right is not..." and "A right looks like..." The groups had one minute to jot down their thoughts on the page before rotating to the next page. In the end, the papers were covered in responses to the sentence starters.
Finally, after talking around the meaning of "right," we worked together to come up with our own definition:
Little people, big minds.