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PART I Myself & the Neighborhood
  Myself & Neighborhood
  Community Quilt
  The Mail Carrier
  Let Your Fingers Do the Walking
  The Sign Walk
  Who I Am
  Baking Bread with the Little Red Hen
PART II Exploring Systems
  What's in a Thumb
  Parts of You
  Puzzles Are Systems
  How Many Systems Do I Belong To Right Now
PART III Communicating with Others
  Talking with our hands
  Lullabies link people
PART IV Myself and the Larger World
  Move, Feet, Move
  The Challenge of the Desert
  Planning a Park
  Communication Tools
  TV or Not TV
  Missing the Point
  Who Likes Animals
  A Simple Chocolate Bar




The local telephone directory gives you a lot of organized information about your community. It can be fun-and a useful learning tool.

Areas of Study

Social Studies (awareness of community services, career awareness)
Language Arts (reading, alphabetizing, oral communication, labeling, creative writing)
Mathematics (graphing, counting)
Art (lettering, coloring, collage making, story making, creating ad layout)


By utilizing their telephone directory students will become aware of:
  • different types of jobs in their city or area.
  • community services..
  • the number of different kinds of businesses in their community.
  • the number of people with the same last name in their community.
  • local business advertisements and what information they have in common.
  • how to use the telephone directory (optional).

Suggested Time

1 or 2 class periods


Telephone directories, glue, crayons, paper, pencils

Comments to the Teacher

Parents, local businesses, and the telephone company are usually happy to donate old telephone directories to your class. Not many books are needed, as the children can share them. Even very young children can recognize things that begin with specific letters.

Activity 1

Read the story I Found Them in the Yellow Pages by Norma Farber (Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1973).

Tell your students that they will make their own book of occupations from the yellow pages. Give each of your students or pair of students a letter of the alphabet to find in the yellow pages. Ask them to choose an occupation or a picture representing that occupation from the yellow pages. Have them cut out the name of the occupation or an advertisement representing the chosen occupation and glue it on a piece of construction paper. Next, have the students draw a picture on the construction paper of someone who is in their selected occupation. Collect the pictures and make a book out of them, placing the occupations in alphabetical order. The children now have a collection of people in various occupations in their community.

If you prefer, instead of making a book out of the collected occupations you may wish to make a collage. After children have cut out the name of the occupation or an advertisement representing that occupation, glue all the children's choices to a piece of large colored construction paper. Have children cut out magazine pictures or draw pictures of matching occupations. Glue them to the construction paper. Label the occupations. Your class now has an occupation collage.

Supplementary Activity

For each occupation in the book or on the collage ask students to answer the following questions. Record their answers on the chalkboard.

  1. What kinds of things does this (doctor, painter, lawyer, salesperson) do? (Help students make the list as long as possible. Discuss their suggestions so that a realistic list of activities results.)
  2. What special clothes does this (doctor, painter, lawyer, salesperson) wear, if any?
  3. What special tools does this person use?
  4. What does the person get after doing a good job?
  5. What can happen to the person who doesn't do the job correctly?

Have different students copy this information onto sheets of paper for addition to the directory. Ask students to bring in new occupations from time to time, and add this information to the directory.

This activity can quickly increase the vocabulary of students and give deeper meaning to such common roles as mail carrier, teacher, principal, dentist, garbage collector, and so on.

Activity 2

Give each student or pair of students a specific letter to see what last name under that letter has the most people. Students cut out the column or columns of their selected name. Each column of names is placed on a large sheet of paper to create a graph. Another way of selecting names is to have each child look up his or her own last name in the directory to see how many people have the same last name. A graph can be made of classroom last names. Students enjoy seeing their last names in a graph and they also enjoy seeing the number of people who share their last names.

Activity 3

Make a worksheet asking students to find the number of people in specific occupations and services in their community, such as: How many doctors in our community? How many libraries in our community?, etc. You can ask more advanced students to locate places like the nearest post office or grocery store.

Activity 4

Read, or have some of the students read, some of the advertisements in the yellow pages. Discuss what kind of information the ads have in them, such as addresses, telephone numbers, and store hours. Ask the students to explain why this information is important. Have each student or group of students compose their own advertisement for an imaginary business in their community. Emphasize the need to put important information in the advertisements. Make a bulletin board out of the students' advertisements.

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