LENDING A HAND – Community Helpers

Students create a mixed media picture that communicates information about 5 different community helpers.

Required Time

80 Minutes

Grade Level

Kindergarten to Grade 3


Language Arts
Social Studies
Visual Arts


career colour community helper print shape


Crayola Marker & Watercolour Paper - 22.9 cm x 30.5 cm (9" x 12") Crayola Washable Paint Crayola Crayons Crayola Markers Pencils Styrofoam Trays Paint Roller Paper Towels

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LENDING A HAND – Community Helpers - Step One

Step One

  1. Choose your favourite paint colour .
  2. Roll a thin layer of it evenly over a styrofoam tray. 
  3. Spread the fingers of your hand and carefully place it, palm down, into the paint. 
  4. Make sure that the palm of your hand is completely covered in paint.
  5. Press your hand onto a piece of white paper to make a print.
  6. Remove your hand.
  7. Set the print aside to dry.
LENDING A HAND – Community Helpers - Step Two

Step Two

  1. Work with a small group to make a mind map of your ideas.
  2. Think of the helpers in your community.
  3. What do they do?
  4. What do they wear?
  5. Write words and draw small pictures to represent your ideas.
LENDING A HAND – Community Helpers - Step Three

Step Three

  1. Choose five community helpers you want to draw.
  2. Draw a helper at the tip of the thumb and each finger.
  3. Make sure you add enough details to show what each helper does.
  4. Share your community helpers picture with the class. 

Learning Goals

Students will be able to:

  • identify a minimum of 5 different community helpers and the tools/materials used by each;
  • draw appropriate features for each helper so that they are identifiable by others;
  • demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity; 
  • support their ideas with evidence found in the artworks.


Have students:

  • make a 3-dimensional version of one of their community helpers in action, e.g., a firefighter putting out a fire in a burning house;
  • write a story about the typical workday of the helper they created;
  • share their stories and sculptures with the class.


  1. Gather and make available books about community helpers, e.g., Clothesline Clues: Jobs, by Kathryn Heling; Helpers in My Community, by Bobbie Kalman; When I Grow Up, by 'Weird Al' Yankovic; Delivering Your Mail: A Book about Mail Carriers, by Ann Owen and Eric Thomas; National Geographic Readers: Helpers in Your Neighborhood, by Shira Evans; Thank You, Helpers: Doctors, Nurses, Teachers, Grocery Workers, and More Who Care for Us, by Patricia Hegarty and Michael Emmerson; and Community Helpers from A to Z, by Bobbie Kalman and Niki Walker.
  2. Download and display pictures of various community helpers from the Internet, e.g.,
    Doctor - Nurse

    Grocery Store Worker
    Police Officer   
    Bus Driver
  3. Ask students to gather pictures of helpers in their community – remind them to ask permission before taking a picture of anyone. Display the photos as reminders of the many people in their neighbourhood who help take care of everyone.


  1. Conduct a read-aloud with a book such as Community Helpers from A to Z, by Bobbie Kalman and Niki Walker to introduce the idea of community helpers.
  2. Talk about the community helpers the students know - including parents and friends who may be firefighters, police officers, etc.
  3. Choose one and discuss the specific details about the role of the helper and why it is important.
  4. List their ideas on a chart paper using words and drawings.
  5. Introduce the challenge.


The Challenge

  1. Create a mixed media picture to communicate information about 5 different community helpers.
  2. Use paint to create a crisp hand print. 
  3. Draw key details for each helper so that other people can tell what they do.
  4. Demonstrate technical accomplishment and creativity.
  5. Support your ideas with evidence found in the artworks.

The Process

  1. Have students complete their hand print and then place them into groups of about 5 or 6.
  2. Guide them through the mind mapping process.
  3. Ask students to share their mind maps with the class and to compare lists.
  4. Ensure that everyone understands the challenge.
  5. Establish success criteria with your students, for example,
    I know I am successful when I have: 
    - created a mixed media picture
    - made a crisp hand print
    - drawn 5 different community helpers
    - added key details to show what each helper does
    - described what my helpers do
    - planned and completed the work carefully
    - kept the paper in good condition
  6. Guide students through the steps in this project.
  7. Observe students as they work.
  8. From time to time ask them to stop and view their work from a bit of a distance so they can see it with 'fresh eyes'.
  9. Provide individual assistance and encouragement.


  1. Place students into groups of 5 or 6 and ask them to share their work with each other. Have them respond to each others' work and then discuss:
    Why they chose their helpers.
    - How their drawings are similar and how they are different from each others'?
    - How the drawings tell others what the helpers do?
  2. As a whole class tally how many community helpers were drawn.
    - Find out if some were more popular than others?
    - Consider why this might be so.


  1. Observe students as they work – thoughtful focus, discriminating, seeking more information, elaborating, experimenting.
  2. Observe students as they discuss their pictures – speaks with a clear voice, looks at audience while speaking, points to areas in the picture, provides accurate information, answers questions from the audience effectively.
  3. Observe students as they listen – looks at presenter, asks effective questions, supports ideas with evidence found in the artwork.
  4. Use a checklist to track progress. (Downloads – Helpers_tracking.pdf)
  5. Have students use the self-assessment form to evaluate their work. (Downloads – Helpers_self-assessment.pdf)