My latest lesson with the 2nd graders was all about community. The Social Studies textbook chapter was a little dry so I decided to spice it up a bit and combine the concept with what I have already taught the kids about mapping so far this year. I found this fantastic lesson by Kyle Knips. Before we began, we discussed the difference between a neighborhood and a community. I asked what places (parks, forests), services (fire department, police), and necessities (roads, parking) they might look for in a community where they would live. Each child then created his or her own Barefoot Island and included these elements plus their own fun features like alien spaceships, animal parks, sports complexes, and elaborate transportation systems. The kids also created a legend to explain their maps. The islands all turned out so great and the kids had a lot of fun. I love it when a good lesson comes together!