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Innovation in Teaching Competition - Beyond the Textbook

Bringing Vocabulary to Life: Using our Words to Help Homeless Children

Bynikini Frazier
Sarah Mills Hodge Elementary School
Savannah Chatham County Public Schools

Grade Level and Content

First Grade
English Language Arts, Mathematics and Social Studies


This unit plan – Bringing Vocabulary to Life: Using Our Words to Help Homeless Children – engages students in explicit and systematic vocabulary instruction which strengthens their abilities to construct meaning of robust vocabulary. Throughout the unit plan, students embody the meanings of the words concerned, support, and compassionate by completing a service learning project. The core of the unit plan involves students learning about homelessness, and working on initiatives which both support homeless children, and help students master English Language Arts (ELA), mathematics and social studies standards. The unit is taught over a series of about five sessions. While the materials for this unit focus specifically on homelessness in Savannah, this unit can be adapted to address homelessness in your own town, city, county or state.

Standards Addressed

English Language Arts
ELA.1.L.6; ELA.1.RF.2; ELA.1.R.F.3; ELA.1.W.5; ELA.1.W.6; ELA.1.W.7; ELA.1.W.8; ELA.1.SL.1; ELA.1.L.2;

M.1.MD.4; M.1.MD.2; M.1.NBT.2 ; M.1.NBT.1

Social Studies

Available Materials

A Letter from the Teacher
Daily Lesson Plans
How Can We Support Homeless Children? PowerPoint
Supplementary Materials

Video of Lesson

> Download this Video (To save right-click then select 'Save target as' or 'Save link as')

About the Teacher

Ms. Frazier is currently a 1st grade teacher at Sarah Mills Hodge Elementary School. She is the 2015 Savannah Chatham County Public Schools District Teacher of the Year. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Education from the University of Georgia and a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Armstrong Atlantic State University. Her best piece of advice is to embrace your significance as a teacher, transcend teaching expectations, and teach with such a passion that your students accomplish the impossible and exceed their established goals.

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Disclaimer: The unit plans and materials on the Innovation in Teaching Competition website are aligned with Georgia’s standards through December 2014. English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics standards have been revised. The revised standards were approved by the State Board of Education on January 15, 2015. The revised ELA and Mathematics standards were renamed from the CCGPS to the Georgia Standards of Excellence (GSE).

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