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No place like home, but where’s your ideal?

Students write and picture their ideal communities


If you could live anywhere you wanted, would home be in an urban, suburban or rural setting?

Lakeside Elementary second-graders know what they like best. And they not only can picture it in their minds, they wrote about it and made paper dioramas too.

Leo Wang is a suburban guy all the way

Foodie Leo Wang wants to live where the restaurants are, but he also wants a yard to play in and maybe a lake nearby. He’s a suburban guy all the way. Same goes for Naomi Meyer, but for different reasons: She likes having a school and friends within walking distance.

Joeli Deane, on the other hand, favors a rural setting. There, she writes, she would have her own space. A treehouse, perhaps. And a projector to watch movies.

But Anna Jane Schutt, she’s an urban cowboy. She wants to live in an apartment with an elevator that goes up and down.

Teachers Whitney Moore, Erin Stirdivant and Lindsey Turner say they have had their students do the cross-subject project for a few years.

Naomi Meyer likes living where school and friends are nearby

“It’s nice to be able to do a creative art project that ties in with curriculum so well,” Stirdivant said.

Students are shown on Google Earth that communities usually form in a target shape around city centers, Moore said. They also are introduced via picture books, videos and TCI Social Studies Alive to concepts such as economy, citizen, community leader, legislature and community services providers.

For the writing piece, Turner said it’s a good lesson to practice capital letters, punctuation and spelling, as well as to use the phrase “for example” in their writing.

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Morgan Jarema
Morgan Jarema
Morgan Jarema is a reporter and copy editor, covering East Grand Rapids, Forest Hills and Northview. She is a Grand Rapids native and a product of Grand Rapids Public Schools, including Brookside and West Leonard elementaries, City Middle/High School and Ottawa Hills. She found her tribe in journalism in 1997 and has never wanted to do anything but write. For 15 years she was a freelance journalist for The Grand Rapids Press, covering local schools and government, religion, business, home & garden and lifestyles. She and her husband, John, think even those without kiddos should be invested in their local schools and made to feel a part of them. Read Morgan's full bio

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