Get to Know Your Community

Scripture: Nehemiah

Learning Objectives:

  • Students will review the importance of the Israelite community and why they needed a wall to protect them.
  • Students will participate in a simulation activity that lets them use a to-do list to get items form different service and goods providers in their community.

Guiding Question: What are the names of places in our community?

Materials: tables or large boxes to serve as store sites, markers, papers, activity cards (see procedures for explanation), community props (see procedures for explanation), whiteboard/chalkboard, small bags or baskets (such as plastic or paper grocery bags)

Procedure: Review the story of Nehemiah focusing on the importance of the wall to protect the community of Israelites. Discuss why community is important. People need a place to live. They need jobs to earn money. They need land to grow crops and raise livestock. They need to feel safe with their neighbors. Tell students that they will be making their own community. What types of places are in a community? Make a list as a class. Choose words that are applicable to your students’ community. Write these places on a large piece of paper or whiteboard/ chalk board. Have visuals prepared on cards. Let students come up and stick the visual to the name of the place.

Examples: (these will differ depending on your community)
1. Farmer’s Market/ Grocery Store
2. General Store
3. School
4. Doctor’s office/ Hospital
5. Church
6. Post Office

Divide students into 4-10 groups. Give each group a community job such as school, hospital, farmer’s market, etc. Each student will get a table or giant box to decorate as their place. Create a sign. Provide props such as fake foods, fabrics, toy doctor supplies, empty prescription bottles, Bibles, envelops/cards books, etc.

Tell students that there is a list of things that they need to do in a day. You will be giving students a “To-do” list. This is list things on it that they need to do or things to get. Be sure to include visuals so that less advanced students can focus on the names of the places and not become confused by the extra words on the list. You will give a list to half of the students in each community store/place. These students get to go from place to place filling their bag with the things that they need (the other half will get a turn next). Before giving the lists, model how to read an item, choose the place that will give that item, get an item checked off of the list, and how to put an item in your bag. To prevent students from checking items off without going to each place, have the store owner or community worker check it off for them. The student needs to say the name of the place when they go there.

Examples of things on the To-Do list:
1. Buy potatoes at the farmer’s market. (picture of potatoes)
2. Get medicine at the doctor’s office. (picture of a medicine bottle)
3. Learn to read at school. (picture of a book)
4. Learn about Jesus at church (picture of a Bible or cross) Another option: Pray with friends at church (picture of prayer hands).
5. Send a letter at the post office. (picture of a card/postage stamp)

Example of how it works: If there are 4 students at the school, choose 2 students to give a To-do check list to. The other 2 students stay to run the school. The first thing on the list says “Buy potatoes at the farmer’s market”. The students will take their list and bag/basket to the farmer’s market. They show the list to the farmer and the farmer will mark it off the list. The farmer will put a potato/toy potato/ picture of a potato in the customer’s bag. The farmer will check it off the customer’s list. Then the student reads the next item on the list.

After half of the students have shopped, let them switch places with the other people at their community site that have not shopped yet. Tell students that when they finish they can switch places with a person from their group. You may need to model this.

At the end discuss what items came from which places. What was challenging or fun about the activity?

Notes:
• It is important to have students read the items and say the name of the place as they go to each one. They can work in partners for accountability. This can be an especially helpful activity if you are working with immigrants and refugees who are not familiar with where to go for each type of product that they may need in life.
• Review each place, prop, and list before students begin shopping to prevent confusion.
• There are a lot of different language opportunities that you can easily get carried away with. For the purpose of less advanced ESL students, try to focus on the names of places and reiterate those names.

• If the place does not have a product, then have the students use a picture. Example: Prayer hands for church (or you could use extra worship sheets from your church.)

• It is important to provide to-do lists with different orders. Do not have all lists start with the farmers market or else the farmer will be overwhelmed and the other people in the community will be bored!

• If you don’t have enough props, use pictures that are cut out on paper.

Additional Questions:

  • Ask extra questions about what you would get at certain community places. Where would you buy shoes? Where would you go if you broke your arm?
  • How do communities help us?

Supplemental Activity: Have students make a list of things that they might find in each place (other than the things listed in the activity). Example: bread, milk at the grocery store. Then they can make these things to add to the community store/site by drawing the items or making them out of recyclables and other props. Label each new item with the English words. For less advanced students, do this whole group. More advanced students can work independently on this in groups of 2-4.