This lesson will begin to foster a sense of place and enhance the students’ feelings for their homes and lands. Students will draw pictures of where they live. Introduce the students to the concept that their house is in a neighborhood or located in a certain area.
Having a “sense of place” may be described as defining oneself in terms of a given piece of land. Landscape acts as a teacher in shaping our perceptions of place. Students’ sense of place will help to protect regional cultural heritage and promote strong kinship ties and other relationships among people. This lesson will begin to foster a sense of place and enhance the students’ feelings for their homes and lands. Research shows that childhood memories of special places are sought out during adulthood. These are the years when the roots of a sense of place are established. By preparing a simple map, students will begin to understand where their homes are in relationship to other locations in their community.
Associated California State Academic Content Standards
For general guidelines for aligning discussions with English-Language Arts Standards.
History-Social Science Standards
This lesson helps to build K-2 students’ geographic awareness and map skills.
Kindergarten classrooms can integrate the lesson into the overall goals described in History-Social Science Standard K.4:
K.4 Students compare and contrast the locations of people, places, and environments and describe their characteristics.
- Determine the relative locations of objects using the terms near/far, left/right, and behind/in front.
- Distinguish between land and water on maps and globes and locate general areas referenced in historical legends and stories.
- Identify traffic symbols and map symbols (e.g., those for land, water, roads, cities).
- Construct maps and models of neighborhoods, incorporating such structures as police and fire stations, airports, banks, hospitals, supermarkets, harbors, schools, homes, places of worship, and transportation lines.
- Demonstrate familiarity with the school’s layout, environs, and the jobs people do there.
For first grade classrooms, this lesson can be one component of the teacher’s instructional approach to helping students meet History-Social Science standard 1.2 and 1.5:
1.2 Students compare and contrast the absolute and relative locations of places and people and describe the physical and/ or human characteristics of places.
1.5 Students describe the human characteristics of familiar places and the varied backgrounds of American citizens and residents in those places.
In second grade classrooms, this lesson’s focus on place can lay the groundwork to help
students meet History-Social Science standard 2.2:
Students demonstrate map skills by describing the absolute and relative locations of people, places, and environments.
Time: One class period
- Make one copy for each student of a map of local reservations, rancherias, and allotments.
- Obtain a U.S. map showing Indian Reservations.
- Get copies of the books: “Storm Maker’s Tipi” and “Where Indians Live.”
- Collect pictures to illustrate different types of current dwellings.
- Read the story “Storm Maker’s Tipi” and the book “Where Indians Live.”
- Ask students to describe where they live. Ask them what type of a structure they live in. Show the pictures of different types of dwellings as the students talk about where they live. Explain that each home is a special place and that it is also part of the community they live in. Discuss home addresses. Addresses help others find our home. Have students draw pictures of where they live. If they know their address, help students write their addresses on the picture. Each student should memorize his or her address. Tell them to ask their families to help them learn their address.
- Introduce the students to the concept that their house is in a neighborhood or located in a certain area. This area has a name. Their homes are also in or near a town or city. Lastly on a map, show them the state they live in and where their reservation or tribal community is located.
- Discuss with them that there are other reservations and tribal communities in the United States. Point to others on the map. Tell them that some are large, and some are small.
- Give each student a blank map of his or her community. Ask them to trace the boundaries. Then ask the students to draw a picture of their school. Ask them to think about how far their homes are from the school. From the school, have them draw a line to where their home is and then draw a picture of their home.
- Review the maps the students draw to determine if their sense of location of their home is realistic.
- During discussion, be aware of the students’ sense of community and of how their homes are part of their community.
- Hume, Barbara, Frances James, and Ann Kerr. Sense of Place: Activities Which Develop Geographical Skills Through the Study of Places and Themes, for Children from Five to Nine Years. Belair Publications Limited, 1999.
- The Star with My Name: The Alaska Rural Systemic Initiative and the Impact of Place-Based Education on Native Student Achievement, The Rural School, and Community Trust.
- Goble, Paul. Storm Maker’s Tipi. New York: Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2001.
- Nashone. Where Indians Live: American Indian Houses. Sacramento, California: Sierra Oaks Publishing Company, 1989.
- The map of California Tribal Homelands Map
- South Central California Indian Homelands and Trust Lands Map
- Map of North Fork Mono Homelands