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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




This lesson provides a way to begin talking about community rules and why we have them. Children should begin to see rules (such as those embodied in signs) as ways to resolve conflicts fairly and quickly, rather than as "orders."

Areas of Study

Social Studies (laws and rules)
Language Arts (reading, analytical skills)
Art (sign making)

Comments to the Teacher

Make a collection of signs students see when walking around the school or neighborhood (exclude advertising signs). You may go for a walk with the class and record the text of the signs you see; or have each student bring in a list or set of drawings of the signs he/she has seen.

Choose a variety of signs from your collection and ask the following questions about each one:
  1. What does the sign say? Why do you think it was put where it is?
  2. What would happen if the sign weren't there? Would you have trouble with any other people? Would you be likely to hurt buildings, or land? Would you be hurt yourself.?
  3. Is the sign a good way to handle these problems?
  4. Does the sign make the problems go away completely?
  5. Can you think of a better sign, or is this sign just right?
  6. If you wanted to change the sign, what could you do?

Next, turn to your own classroom. Are there any rules people tend to forget? Would a sign help? Are there conflicts that seem to come up again and again (such as who will use a certain area or toy)? Would a rule help there? Have children make pictorial signs for any appropriate rules. Look at the international traffic signs for some helpful inspirations. Review the classroom signs a few times a year. Do we still need all these signs? Should new ones be put up?

The children should see rule making as an ongoing process designed to fit the needs of certain people at certain times.

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