Overview: Parents can help their children do this lesson on neighborhood awareness. It’s one thing to say you do or don’t like your neighborhood, and quite another to know why.
Teacher Preparation: Information from neighborhood organizations; have a speaker from your city planning department, or a member of a neighborhood citizen’s participation organization.
* Run through an exercise with your students in describing their neighborhoods’ sounds, smells, sights and activities. Help them isolate smaller pieces they can identify with or point to. For example, break down “too much noise” into different types of noise they can directly identify, such as loud music or cars from a nearby expressway.
* Have them talk with their parents about their neighborhood the way it is now, and what it was like 5, 10, or 20 years ago. What things have influenced change in their neighborhood?
* What things would they like to see different, and how can that change be realized? Invite an elected representative from a citizen’s participation organization to field questions from your class and offer suggestions about how they, even as students, can begin to make a difference in their neighborhoods.
* Inspire your students to a closer level of community within your school building by sharing more or working with other classes.
* Draw pictures of neighborhoods for an art project.
* Have students interview older neighborhood residents, finding out what neighborhoods were like when they were younger, using that information to write a short story about that point in time.