One of my favorite lessons each year is one where our students compare our school neighborhood with the most wealthy section of Sacramento, the “Fabulous Forties.” I’ve written extensively about this lesson of highlighting assets instead of deficits in A Lesson Highlighting Community Assets — Not Deficits. I also have the complete lesson plan, including hand-outs, in my latest book.

I believe that every student I’ve ever had has decided that ours school neighborhood is better.

Today, I got an interesting idea for a potential addition to our project.

Today, our local newspaper in Davis (I live twenty minutes west of Sacramento, though I teach in south Sacramento) published an article titled The Seven Wonders of Davis. A student was inspired after reading a book where a young person identified the “wonders” in their Maryland city, and went out and identified “wonders” in our town.

This might be something we could incorporate in our neighborhood project by having students identify the “Seven Wonders of The Neighborhood.” They could spend a short time reviewing The Best Sites For Learning About Various “Seven Wonders,” develop their own criteria for neighborhood ones and, as we do our walking tour and based on their own knowledge, create their own lists. It could be a fun addition and potentially get some good publicity for our school’s inner-city community.

It could even be used as a quick, easy and fun language lesson in an ESL class to just do a version of “wonders” in a single school…