Dear Families, My name is Marisa Castrillon and I will be teaching Social Studies this year in your child’s classroom. I am very excited to be a part of your child’s learning and to teach him or her specific content-area skills and strategies, as well as to integrate literacy and many other enriching experiences into our time together. Below, are some suggestions families can do together to make the home-school connection an amazing one.
Family Photos Show your child family photographs and talk about your own childhood and how it was similar to or different from your child’s experiences. Ask your child to talk about what he or she sees and to describe experiences and events as they remember them.
Explore Holidays and Traditions Visit the local library to read books about different holidays. Then, have a discussion with your child about the various ways people around the world celebrate.
Family Talk Encourage your child to interview other family members to learn about different cultural and historical events that took place.
Learn your Neighborhood History Take a tour and look for historic sites, monuments, and markers. Write down the names of the streets, look them up online, and build connections to today.
Create a Timeline Create a timeline of your child’s personal life and include major milestones along with historic events. At your local library, look up the front pages of newspapers and magazines of the day, month, and year when your child was born. Read the articles together and share how life was the same and different during that time period.
Write a Letter Write a letter or postcard (not an email) to a friend or family member and then take a walk to your local post office to have it delivered. At the local library, research the history of the U.S. Mail. What role does it play in our lives? How is communication today changing the role of the post office? How do you think the way we communicate now will change in the future?
Find a Route Use a train or bus map to trace the route to a destination or family trip. What information does the map provide? How does it help us travel?
Oral History Record a conversation with a grandparent or a family member about a particular historical event they were a part of. Find out why the event mattered to the family member. What role did he or she play? How does he or she want the event remembered?
Sharing Memories Share the meaning of a souvenir, heirloom or emblem that is treasured by your family. Encourage your child to photograph the artifact and write a story about it.
Flags and Monuments Explore the significance of buildings with flags and monuments in your neighborhood. Walk five blocks each way from the entrance of your home and draw a map of your local neighborhood. Write down names and draw symbols for what you see.
Street Names and NYC History Notice the names of the streets in your neighborhood and explore their meanings.
Travel Map Using a map or globe, pick out places that you have traveled to or would like to visit. Mark them and create an annotated list that describes the highlights of each place. Involve your child in planning a family trip. Ask him or her to plot the family's itinerary on a map and find out what type(s) of food, music and art the family will encounter along the way.
Where did it come from? Reinforce concepts like global economic inter-dependence by helping your child find imported items in your home. They can be items of furnishing, food, and clothing. On a map, mark or pin each location of origin. Connect the locations by drawing lines or use yarn. Visit the local supermarket and make a list of items that change with the season. What fruits and vegetables are more prominent in the summer/fall/winter/spring? Make connections between availability of certain items and the weather and season.
I look forward to working with your child this year and to meeting you throughout the year. Wishing everyone a wonderful school year full of learning and fun!