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We’re In The Middle Of My Favorite Unit Of The Year — Comparing Neighborhoods

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'Neighborhood Appeal Logo' photo (c) 2014, Neighborhood Appeal - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/

Every year, my Beginning and Intermediate English Language Learners class do a neighborhood comparison project as part of learning how to write a persuasive essay.

You can read all about it at A Lesson Highlighting Community Assets — Not Deficits. In summary, students identify the qualities important to them in a neighborhood, compare their neighborhood with the richest neighborhood in Sacramento, and then write about which area one they like best. Almost all students choose their present one.

Here’s a slideshow of the field trip we took walking around the school’s neighborhood on Friday, which I’m still recovering from….

Also, I’m doing one thing differently this year. Sometimes, when I’m feeling ambitious, we also take a field trip to the wealthy neighborhood, known as the Fabulous Forties. When I don’t have it in me to do it (like this year — usually I can only handle two field trips a year — one to our surrounding neighborhood and another a twenty hour trip to San Francisco. Visiting the Fab Forties also requires additional stress because sometimes residents call the police to investigate what we’re doing on their street), we take a virtual tour using Google Maps. But that’s a bit problematic because sometimes it’s a bit slow and cumbersome.

So, this year, I’m using Google Street View Hyperlapse. It lets you pick point A and a Point B, and then takes you on superquick tour (which you can slow down by clicking the space bar). You can see three maps of different sections of the Fab Forties here that I’ve created.

Finally, students created some videos at the end our field trip. You can see them here. They’re okay, but I was too exhausted to put much energy into them by that time. Here are the instructions I gave them.

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Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.

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