My Community and Other United States Communities

Discuss this lesson


Students learn that there are three types of communities and each has distinct characteristics. They use this knowledge to discover what type their community is as they explore a text to self connection, and then write a paragraph.

Suggested time allowance: 2 class periods


  • SS.3.1: Geography can be divided into six essential elements which can be used to analyze important historic, geographic, economic, and environmental questions and issues. These six elements include: the world in spatial terms, places and regions, physical settings (including natural resources), human systems, environment and society, and the use of geography.
  • RL.2.1: Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text.
  • RL.2.5: Describe the overall structure of a story, including describing how the beginning introduces the story and the ending concludes the action.
  • RL.2.9a: With prompting and support, students will make cultural connections to text and self.
  • W.2.2: Write informative/explanatory texts in which they introduce a topic, use facts and definitions to develop points, and provide a concluding statement or section.

Essential Unit Questions:

  • Does where you live affect how you live?

Resources/Materials for this lesson: (Recommended book is bold)

  • Burton, Virginia Lee. The Little House. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1942. Fictional picture book. The rosy-pink Little House, on a hill surrounded by apple trees, watches the days go by from the first apple blossoms in the spring through the winter snows. Always faintly aware of the city's distant lights, she starts to notice the city encroaching on her. First, a road appears, which brings horseless carriages and then trucks and steamrollers. Before long, more roads, bigger homes, apartment buildings, stores, and garages surround the Little House. Her family moves out and she finds herself alone in the middle of the city, where the artificial lights are so bright that the Little House can no longer see the sun or the moon.
  • Chart paper/marker
  • Personal Connections” worksheet (included)
  • Triple T-chart (included)
  • Pre-writing graphic organizer for “My School and Its Community” paragraph (included)
  • My School and Its Community” paragraph template (included)
  • Rubric for “My School and Its Community” paragraph (included)
  • SMART Board Activity (included)
    Students identify the characteristices of 3 different types of communities through pictures and images from Google Earth.

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1. Tell students, “There are three types of communities. In this story, we will read about a little house and discuss how the community around it changes. Pay close attention to how the area around the house changes.”
2. Read aloud The Little House. At each point in the story where the community changes, the teacher will stop to discuss what the students notice about the community around the house.
3. Start a triple T-chart asking the children to tell what they notice about each type of community. (Keep chart available for the rest of the unit for children to add to.) Teachers may choose to have students complete their own T-chart as well. (included)
4. Continue the discussion on communities by asking the students to

  • decide what type of community they live in
  • give reasons to support their answer.

5. Refer back to the story and ask “What does this story remind you of?” “Does it make you think of something in your own life?”
6. Students then fill out “Personal Connections” Worksheet. (included)
7. Students share the connections that they made with a partner.

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  • As a homework assignment or in class extension, the students fill in a pre-writing graphic organizer. (included) It should include:
    • the name of their school
    • the community in which the school is located
    • the type of community: rural, urban, or suburban
    • a brief description of the three characteristics that make up their community, supporting it with information learned
    • a concluding sentence
  • In class the students will complete the essay on “My School and Its Community” (template included)


community a place where people live, work, or have fun together
neighborhood an area in a community where people live near one another
rural a community with open land, few buildings and businesses, and few people
urban a city community with a lot of tall buildings, a community in which people live that is larger or more crowded than a town
suburban a community outside of the city where people live in neighborhoods with individual houses or small apartment houses

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Integrated Social Studies/English Language Arts Curriculum (Grade 2)
©Putnam/Northern Westchester BOCES Curriculum & Instructional Services
Last revised June 23, 2012
Unit 2 Overview Lesson 1:  What is a Community? Lesson 2:  Introduction to Rural, Urban and Suburban Communities Lesson 3:  Rural Communities Lesson 4:  Urban Communities Lesson 5:  Suburban Communities Lesson 6:  Comparing and Contrasting Rural, Urban and Suburban Communities Unit 2 Glossary Guided Reading Suggestions Additional Print Resources Unit 2 Assessment