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What Do You Know About Your Town?

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Keywords: town, history, city, flip camera, digital camera
Subject(s): History, Grammar, Spelling, Social Studies, Writing, Geography
Grades 2 through 3
School: Dozier Elementary School, Erath, LA
Planned By: Pamela Cheek
Original Author: Pamela Cheek, Erath
Community Technology Lessons (Our Town Erath, Louisiana)
NOTE: May be adapted to any community.

Time: 45 minutes-60 minutes daily


•Students will learn more about life now and life long ago.
•Using a graphic organizer, students will list certain town events.
•Students will create timelines to understand historical events and its place in the life of the community.
•Students will write a paragraph or create a powerpoint about the life of the community.

Grade Level Expectations (Erath Unit)

•Describe how location, weather, and physical environment affect where and how people live (G-1B-E1)
•Describe changes in the physical and human characteristics in the local community and why people modify the physical environment over time (G-1B-E3)
•Identify ways of making a living within the community (G-1C-E5)
•Define the meaning of the term community citizen (C-1D-E1)
•Identify examples of responsible citizenship in the school and community settings (C-1D-E2)
•Discuss the elements of fair play and good sportsmanship, respect for the rights and opinions of others, and respect for rules (C-1D-E3)
•Describe actions individuals or groups may take to improve their community (C-1D-E4)
•Identify similarities and differences in communities over time (H-1A-E2)
•Identify sources where historical information can be found and how that information can be used (H-1A-E3)
•Identify and describe the significance of various community landmarks and symbols (H-1C-E2)
•Identify cultural elements (e.g., crafts, customs, music, folklore) of the local community (H-1C-E4)
•Write compositions of one or more paragraphs, organized with a central idea and a coherent beginning, middle, and end (ELA 2 E1)
•Use technology to publish a variety of works, including simple research reports and book summaries (ELA 5 E)
•Locate and read information on a chart, graph, diagram, map, and simple timeline (ELA 5 E6)


•The history of Erath (our town) will be covered in this unit. Students and teacher will discuss the legacy of the town and how it began. Discussion on Erath's birth, the town's Centennial, Erath's Tragic moment in time. (The 1964 collapse of the Water Tower on the town's City Hall.) Also discussed will be Hurricane Hilda and Hurricane Lili hitting Erath both on October 3rd. We experienced flooding for both Hurricane Rita in 2005 and Hurricane Ike in 2008.

Day 1: Discussion on “What We Know About Our Community”

Watch an Erath PowerPoint Presentation or a flip chart using Promethean Boards. Share any links you can find on the community. Teacher will open with questions about the community. A list will be created about what the children know about their community.

Questions the teacher might want to ask:

•What is a town?
•What is a city?
•Is Erath a city or town? Explain answer
•What are things in Erath that you know about?
•How old is Erath?
•How did Erath get started?
•What are some special things about Erath?
•What are some bad things that have happened in Erath? Some Bad?
•How did Erath get started?
•Where did the name come from?
•How did the (special town event) like the July 4th Celebration begin?•Teacher will share Erath (city/town) History pictures and information.
•Students research their town using a variety of resources including large time line in the back of the room, the internet, books, newspapers, etc.
•Teacher will review the expectations of students for this unit
•Look up Erath (town) Web Sites
•Look at Erath's (town) Online Photo Gallery
•Teacher will explain the town began with August Erath, Dr. Joseph Kibbe and the Primeaux family in 1892 when land was purchased for the railroad to begin.

•Begin an Erath Word Bank
•Have a KWL Chart to list what students "know" about their area.
•Teacher will show an Erath (city/town)PowerPoint.
•Teacher will share the story of Erath's beginning and the children will be asked to add or share stories,
•Students will go to bookmarked sites about their town. (Erath link for Kids is listed below.

•If possible, walk around the community with digital cameras and a flip camera for the students to view once their return. Share photographs taken and the film segments sometime during the week to review landmarks, events, etc.

Day 2: Graphic Organizer will be done on the Community (may be online)

•Students will be receive a graphic organizer (web) template to write or type facts they learned about their community. (See "web" type graphic organizers link below).

Day 3: Five Event Erath Time Line

•Students will create Erath (city/town) Event Time Lines on the computers. This lesson will involve creating a time line and writing about 5 of Erath's Events. Software may be used. If not software is available, students can use one of the interactive timeline links listed below.

•Teacher will model how to create a five event timeline with Timeliner 5.0 or another timeline program.
•Directions will be posted to guide the students.
•Assignment Timeline Directions were discussed and displayed. A lesson is modeled by the teacher.
•Then students will create a five event time line and record facts. Print each child's timeline to assess it.

Days 4 and 5 – Writing About Our Town (Writing Assignment)

•Through the data gathered in the prior lesson, the students will take the information that they have gathered and fill in a web on Erath's life. From the facts gathered, the students will begin writing a rough draft. Once done with the proofreading and editing, the students will type a final paragraph using a word processing program or PowerPoint.
•Using their Erath timelines and graphic organizers created earlier, the students will write a rough draft about Erath's life.
•Students will gather the information they want to share about their community Erath, Louisiana.
•Teacher will model a paragraph or PowerPoint, showing a good example to prepare the students. Remind them that a paragraph (or powerpoint) has to have a title, an opening sentence, a closing sentence and at least five factual sentences about Erath. The paragraph or paragraphs need to be indented.
•Students will begin their handwritten rough draft.
•The students will type their paragraph (or PowerPoint), proofread and edit their compositions(or PowerPoint) and insert a picture that correlates with their content.
•To complete the unit, students will present their powerpoints or read their paragraphs to the class.

Suggestion: Go on a town field trip with a digital camera and flip camera to document the town's history and landmarks. You can tie in community workers with this lesson as well. Put the photos in a powerpoint or flip chart and share final thoughts of the town. You can share the video (from the flip cam with the group) to end the unit.
Though set for our own town, this lesson plan can be used for any community.
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
ELA, Social Studies
Links: KWL Charts (PowerPoints, templates)
Erath for Kids! Link
Graphic Organizers (Webbing Tools)
Interactive Timelines (if not software is available)
Erath in Vermilion Parish (County)
Materials: Word Processor, Flash/USB Drives, Mice, Keyboards, Power, Computer Accessories, Memory Cards, Batteries, Tripods, Camera Bags, Camera/Video Accessories, Microphones, Portable, Point and Shoot, Flip Video, Mobile Labs