First graders engage in deep studies around the social studies arc “where we live.” As learners study their school neighborhood, Miami Beach, they develop many social skills, including problem solving and collaboration.

In the first grade class, our students learned about the bedrock that is the foundation of their school’s neighborhood, Miami Beach. During this study, our learners went on a field trip to Pine Tree Park to collect and document what type of plants could be found. They exercised their mapping skills by depicting the route to the park and noticed the local businesses in their community. Afterwards, the class discussed what kinds of things people need, and how businesses in the community provide those necessities.

Learners got up close and personal by visiting a local pizzeria and learning how to make pizza, sharing in the experience of providing food to the people in the community. They also wrote  non-fiction stories about community helpers and their jobs. After discussing people that work within a community, they held a career day where some parents came in and explained their jobs to our class.

As the first grade class discussed the differences between desires and necessities, our students realized they have a lot to be grateful for. They learned about a school in Guatemala, where the learners do not have any books to read. In response, our students demonstrated empathy by hosting a bake sale, raising money to buy books for that school. With the proceeds, the class trekked to Barnes and Nobles to pick out Spanish-language children’s books to send to the students in Guatemala! Each of our learners also wrote a letter to the students in Guatemala that accompanied the book they sent. The shipping quotes to ship  books to Guatemala  were really high! The class decided that they  should do another fundraiser to pay for shipping. They voted to host a slime party for each of the elementary grades! The interdependence the learners showed was so incredible! In the end, the slime party was a huge success.