First Grade Tour Guides

Teacher Notes


You come here to school everyday and you feel pretty comfortable in our school. You know how to get to the important places like the cafeteria, the office, and the library. You know the people who work in these places and help you with things. What other people and places do you know about? Your parents don't come to your school as often as you do, so they probably don't know as much about your school and how to get around in it as you do. Do you have and open house or other special event coming up? If not, maybe you can plan a special "Parent Night!" How can you plan a tour of your school that will show your parents all of the important places let them know what happens in these places, and introduce them to the people who work there?


The following letter from your principal will let you know what needs to be done:



Dear First Grade Students,

Open House is coming up very soon! It is a fun evening when you can bring your family to show them your school and introduce them to your teacher. I would like for your family to feel welcome at our school and I want them to feel like they really know their way around this place.

Would you please plan a tour that you can give your families on open house night? I would like you to make sure that you include all of the important places in our school on your tour. Be sure to tell you parents about each place and introduce them to the people who work there.

If I can help you in any way, please let me know. I hope you will help you family's feel like our school is their school too!


Your Principal


Day One:

1. Make a chart: What do we know? Make a list of all of the important places in your school, the names of the people who work there, and one sentence about what happens in each place. Fill in as much information as you can, leaving blank spots that you can fill in later.

Your chart could look like this:

What We Know




What We Need To Know




What We Learned




2. Make a List: What do we need to know? Make a list of the places that you need more information from. These are the blank spaces from you first chart.

Day Two:

1. Read you chart and list from yesterday. Brainstorm all of the ways you can think of to find out the missing information.

2. Look over you brainstorming list. Which ways of getting information will be the most reliable? Which ways will be easy? Did you think of going to each place and interviewing the people there? This is a good way to get information.

3. Look at some of these web sites. They contain some interesting interviews. Think about the kinds of questions people ask in an interview.

Kermit the Frog is interviewed at this site called "Inside Education":

Children's book authors Chris VanAllsburg, Allen Say, and more answer questions from kids at this site from Houghton Mifflin called Education Place:

4. Decide: What kind of information do we need? What questions should we ask?

5. Make a list of the questions you will ask.

Day Three:

1. Your teacher will help your class get into groups of three or four. You will be in charge of finding information about one of the important places on you list from the people who work there.

2. Look at the list of interview questions with your group. Decide which questions each of you will ask.

3. Your teacher will show you how to use the tape recorder. Practice using the tape recorder in your group. Pretend you are doing the interview so you feel comfortable with everything.

4. Your teacher will help you make an appointment with the person your group is going to interview.

Day Four:

Today is the day your class practices your interviews with an older student at the school or a "big buddy."

1. Before you begin you interviews, talk to your group about the interviews again so everyone knows what to do.

2. Remember these things:

Look at the person you are interviewing.

Speak loudly and clearly.

Thank them for helping you.

3. Practice your interview with your big buddy.

4. Ask you big buddy for suggestions.

Day Five:

1. Go with your group to interview your person at the important place. Review the "Remember" tips from yesterday.

2. Come back to the classroom and listen to your tape with your group to be sure that the tape recorder worked properly. Save your tape for tomorrow.

Day Six

1. Today your group will play your interview tape for the class. You will also get to listen to the other interview tapes.

2. Before you play your tape, tell the class where your group went and who you interviewed.

3. After you play your tape, your teacher will help you list the answers to your questions on the computer or a chart page. You can hang up the page of information in your classroom so everyone can look at it later.

4. Remember these tips when listening to the other interviews:

A good listener looks at the group that is giving the presentation.

A good listener listens quietly for important information.

Day Seven:

1. Now it's time to begin planning the tour for you parents. Talk with your classmates and teacher about how you give a tour. Listen to everyone's ideas and share your ideas too. Think about these things:

Help your class make a list of all the good ideas.

2. Look at the videos of tours. A good tour of a dairy farm is on Make Mine Milk (a video recording produced by America's Dairy Farmers).

3. Check out these web sites that give tours!:

At "Visit Hershey Foods" you can go to visitor's centers in four different locations!:

Experience an electronic tour of the White House at the official White House web site:

Tour George Washington's home at the Mount Vernon site:

4. Did the video or web sites give you some good ideas for your tour? Add these ideas to you class list.

Day Eight:

1. Now you need pictures of the important places to go with your map. You can do this two ways:

2. Place you pictures on the bulletin board, near you class map with a piece of yarn from the pictures to that room on the map.

Day Nine:

1. The first step is to make a map of your school. You will need grid paper and a tape measure. Each interview team will take a part of the school to map.

2. Put all of the maps together with the help of you teacher

3. Make one master map for the whole class.

Day Ten:

Today is the day you plan the route, or the way you will go, for the tour!

1. Take a walk with your group to decide which place to go first, second, third, and so on.

2. Share your ideas about the best route with the rest of the class. List the best route on char paper or computer.

3. Your teacher will help you make a checklist to use on the tour.

4. Practice the tour with your class. Bring your checklist with you and think about what you will say at each important place.

Day Eleven:

Today is the day you will practice giving you tour to your big buddy!

And tonight is the real thing! It's time to get ready...

1. Take your big buddy on your tour of the school. Remember to pretend they are your parents and they don't actually know about the places you are showing them.

2. Discuss with your class how the practice tour went. Did you have any difficulties? Is there anything you need to remember for tonight?

3. Take your checklist home so you remember to give your parents the tour! Remember to have your parents sign the list and you can turn it in to your teacher during Open House.

Conclusion and Reflection:

Day Eleven:

1. Talk with your class about how the tours went. How did you feel when you gave the tour? What is something good that happened last night?

2. Fill in another column on your chart from day one. Call this column "What we learned." Help your class list things you learned by planning and giving your Open House Tour.

3. Write about your tour experience in your journal. How do you think it will make a difference for your parents to know more about your school?


Students bring a checklist their parents will sign at the end of the tour. Families will return the list to the classroom after the tour. Students will complete all of the tour with their families with 90% accuracy. Debriefing activities will reflect that students have:

Extension Activities:

Teacher Notes:

Grade Level/Unit

The purpose of this lesson is to provide an experience which:

H/SS Standards:

Grade 1

1.2 Students compare and contrast the absolute and relative locations of people and places and describe the physical and human characteristics of places by:

3.constructing a simple map, using cardinal directions and map symbols

Historical and Social Science Analysis Skills Grades K - 5

Chronological and Spatial Thinking

4.students use map and globe skills to determine the absolute locations of places and interpret information available through the map's legend, scale, and symbolic representations

Speaking: Features & Delivery:

This lesson takes about 3 weeks to complete if you work about 30 - 45 minutes each day.

Teacher Materials:

cart paper and markers
computer with a word processor
Internet connection and large display
tape recorder
lots of cassette tapes
graph paper and chart paper in grids

Interdisciplinary Connections: You will notice this lesson contains connections between virtually all areas of communication arts as well as social studies.

Adaptations for special needs:

Students of all needs an abilities are able to participate in this activity. Since students work in groups to prepare, each can contribute according to their ability. I recommend using parent volunteers and teacher assistants with each group regardless of student ability.

No matter how hard you try, some students are unable to attend Open House and they really don't have any control over this! Have any students who did not give the tour on Open House night get with a buddy or parent volunteer the following day to give the tour.

Background information and additional resources for the teacher:

Web Resources:

The Virtual Library Museums Pages allows you to search quite easily for museums with online exhibits:

Video Resources:

Eric Carle, Picture Writer, a video recording produced by Searchlight Films for Philomel Books and Scholastic, Inc.

A Visit With Rosemary Wells, a video recording produced by Weston Woods Studios in association with Dial Books for Young Readers and Puffin Books; produced and directed by Paul R. Gagne.


Laura Trapp
Helena School District 1
Four Georgians Elementary School
555 West Custer Avenue
Helena, MT 59601