Service Learning Primer
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Sorry about the length of this page. The first half is K-5; the bottom half is grades 6-12. Happy scrolling!
Denise Eichel, 2001 St. Mary's County,
Maryland, Lettie Marshall Dent Elementary School
Meet a recognized community need: The veteran's home is just 2 miles from our school. The students were aware that many veterans who reside at the home are lonely, depressed and rarely visited. They felt that since these men and women are members of our community, members who provided a service for our country, that it was our responsibility to help with their need for friendship.
Achieve curricular objectives: The students were required to write letters to the veterans. Biography is a genre that the students are required to study, therefore, they read a biography to each of the veterans. Students met many math objectives while completing a task in which they planned the Valentine Social.
Reflect through the service-learning experience: The students were encouraged to reflect on the project through class discussions, journal writing, creation of a PowerPoint presentation and displays, and newsletter articles.
Develop student responsibility: The students developed responsibility by choosing the activities we carried out and by organizing the Valentine Social.
Establish community partnerships: The principal and myself contacted the veteran's home to plan a meeting with the events coordinator.
Equip students with knowledge and skills needed for service: Students learned about the veteran's home and the residents.
Regina Teat, 1995 Dorchester County,
Maryland, Vienna Elementary School
Judy O'Connell, 1994 Baltimore County,
Maryland, Hebbville Elementary School
1996: As part of reading and citizenship, my 3rd grade students visit a nearby nursing home and read "Big Books," do projects and visit with residents. Through this project, students strengthen their reading and communication skills while discovering their personal power to make positive changes in their communities.
Hannah Mossman, 2001 St. Mary's County,
Maryland, Oakville Elementary School
Meet a recognized community need: Our project was designed to reduce the isolation many senior citizens feel from others, especially young people. Students visited the nursing center on a Thursday morning, set up, performed and socialized with the elderly. Students shared hugs and hand shakes while the elderly commended them on their performances.
Achieve curricular objectives: The students read for all purposes and used writing to express their thoughts on the project.
Reflect through the service-learning experience: The students discussed what they thought about the project with each other and shared their thoughts with the residents. The students prompted the senior citizens with statements such as "if this... then...".
Develop student responsibility: The student developed responsibility through studying and learning their lines and gestures at home. They created and designed their own costumes and props.
Establish community partnerships: We established community partnerships through the parents who volunteered to help with stage set up and transportation of the props. The nursing center activity director assisted with organizing the project and soliciting businesses for props. We also work with Petsmart, Denny Morgan, a retired drama and music teacher, and Crabhrochen.
Plan ahead for service-learning: We contacted the nursing center for suggestions of businesses to solicit for donations. We ordered scripts during the previous summer before school to give the student sufficient time to prepare.
Equip students with knowledge and skills needed for service: To equip the students with the skills and knowledge they needed, we studied techniques for learning lines, and for staging movement and gestures with a theatrical consultant. The students reviewed the steps involved for service-learning, preparation, action and reflection, in teams and read the outcomes we were covering, so that they could see the connection.
Judith Wilson, 2000 St. Mary's County,
Maryland, Carver Elementary School (Resource Teacher)
Meet a recognized need in the community: While walking to their small Title I elementary school, many students had noticed trash in the gutters near the storm drains. It was not until our club's discussion about the environment and ways to save the Bay that the students realized that this debris along their sidewalks would eventually wash into and contaminate the Bay that was less than three miles away.
Achieve curricular objectives through service-learning: The fourth graders through their PACE Maryland Service Club applied the economic concepts they had been studying to a real world situation- an obvious environment problem in their Southampton community. They became the human resources who used capital resources (paint and stencils) to provide a service (stenciling the storm drains) for their school's community. In doing so, they learned the importance of environmental preservation as well.
Reflect throughout service-learning experience: The students first had to analyze the potential environment danger in their community. The club's discussion focused on the questions asked in the Chesapeake Bay Trust's grant application. Through the authentic grant writing process, each student had a part to complete within the grant application. After providing the service, the students wrote reflections in their learning logs. One student responded, "I learned that stenciling the words "Don't Dump" on the neighborhood's storm drains receives good comments. I felt good when both the Chesapeake Bay Trust and the County Commissioners approved our project. I hope that other kids are not afraid to help their school or community." Students also sent their reflections to the Chesapeake Bay Trust to fulfill their grant requirements.
Develop student responsibility: The students themselves wrote the grant to receive funding from the Chesapeake Bay Trust. The club members always run each Maryland Service Club meeting by following scripts which allow them to role play according to parliamentary procedure.
Establish community partnerships: The students along with the school's DARE officer went out in the Southampton community to stencil storm drains. They had asked permission from the Board of Public Works as well as the County Commissioners before embarking on this project. Via this grant, they have established a working relationship with the Chesapeake Bay Trust.
Plan ahead for service-learning: Parent's permission was obtained prior to the student service learning project. Because the club had to apply for a grant, they had to prepare an action plan for the Chesapeake Bay Trust. Students always fill out an action plan for every monthly service project.
Equip students with knowledge and skills needed for service: The club members learned how the trash is washed into the bay via storm drains and how such contaminants affect the health of the bay and its inhabitants. The students also " live and breathe" such economic concepts as human, natural, and capital resources when providing goods and services as they perform student service-learning projects.
Banded Peak School, Bragg Creek, Alberta,
In one part, seniors bring in memorabilia and work with their student partners to capture related memories, pictures, and stories on an Internet Web site. In the second part, students and seniors together learn ways of using the Internet, such as banking, finding health information, sending and receiving e-mail, and researching genealogy. Third, an outreach program provides seniors with access to Web-TV.
The goals of the program are to provide opportunities for shared experiences between Canada's seniors and youths, to encourage senior citizens to use the Internet, and to provide both seniors and students with greater technology-based skills.
Students at Banded Peak School engaged in a number of curriculum-based activities to prepare for their participation in the program. Those activities included the creation of A Primer for Working With Seniors, a survey of seniors about their attitudes toward and their uses of technology, establishment of e-mail accounts so that seniors and students could maintain online contact between personal visits, research into appropriate online and multimedia resources to meet seniors' needs, the development of a Web site, Personal Memories/Community Treasures, which allows seniors and students to share their experiences with others.
During the program, the seniors had the opportunity to learn technology skills and to help teach students about the world they live in. Gordon Berry, one of the senior participants said, "I like the idea of playing a role in helping kids learn, since they are the future of the country." Another senior, Pearl Lammie, uses her newly acquired technology skills and e-mail access to keep in touch with her children, living in widely scattered areas of the United States and Canada.
The benefits to the students were also more than academic. "The technologies involved are less important than the connections they've helped the participants make," said Belsey. "At the beginning of the program, both the seniors and the teens were uneasy about working together, mostly because of stereotypes they carried about the other generation. The project has broken through that by centering on the shared learning that takes place."
That is what Travis and Bryce learned
about senior David G. Langford, for example.
The students also met Flora MacDonald
and Don Harron, the co-chairs of the Canada Coordinating Committee for
the United Nations International Year of the Older Person (IYOP).
Voter Empowerment Workshop, Chicago,
Kindergarten Students developed booklets containing activities they had done in their first year of school and felt that preschool children would like to hear about. The kindergarten children read the booklets that they had produced to preschool children so that the preschool children could better understand what kindergarten was really like.
Kindergarten Students learning about animals went out into a nature center and took care of a butterfly nest. They then performed a play for other students and their parents dealing with what they had learned about butterflies at the nature center.
1st Grade As part of a social studies unit first graders prepared a Thanksgiving feast, decorated tables and invited needy people from the community to participate. This feast was compared to the first Thanksgiving dinner.
1st Grade Students designed and made placemats with a Holidays theme. These mats were laminated and presented to a local soup kitchen to be given to the people with their Holidays meals.
1st Grade The children combined a science lesson (growing marigolds) with art (decorating pots) to produce unique gifts for senior citizens in a home adjacent to their elementary school. The students presented the gifts individually to the residents of the home.
1st Grade Students designed and produced Halloween Trick or Treat bags for kindergarten students. The 1st graders wrote Halloween safety tips on the bags and talked with the "younger" children about safe ways to trick or treat.
2nd Grade Math students studying symmetry designed valentines and presented the valentines to a local adult foster care home.
2nd Grade As part of Writing
Month and a Book-It program the students wrote and drew pictures about
their favorite books on grocery bags. They gave the finished bags to the
grocery store, which used the bags to pack shoppers groceries. This
project worked on students reading and writing skills, school publicity,
encouraging reading, and hopefully brightened a shoppers day.
3rd Grade Science and social studies students studying the 3 Rs (recycle, reduce, and reuse) made posters for their room. They eventually expanded the use of their posters to the halls in the school and eventually to store fronts downtown.
3rd Grade Math and language arts students studying symmetry and reading about veterans made valentine cards and presented them to a local veterans hospital.
3rd Grade Students helped the local community library by designing and making new book covers for childrens books in the library. Each student read the book and wrote a brief summary of the book as well as producing the new cover.
3rd Grade Students made an "ABC" Big Animal Book with illustrations which was then shared with first graders. Individual students used their book to help the younger students master the words.
4th Grade Students established a Kids for Saving the Earth Club. This came about as a result of the environmental studies portion of the academic curriculum. Kids wrote letters to children who lived in a rain forest. They started a recycling program in the school and petitioned the local council to make recycling mandatory in their community.
4th Grade Students made place mats as part of their art time and took them to the hospital to be placed on meal trays at Halloween.
5th Grade Students learned to bake Christmas gingerbread cookies and made art projects gifts for the local seniors and presented their gifts to the seniors at a program they developed themselves.
5th Grade Students developed questions that were asked at the local "Foods with Friends" gathering. The students interviewed the seniors to learn about their community and then put on a skit for the seniors to show them what they had learned. They followed up with decorated "Thank You" cards to show their appreciation.
-MIDDLE & HIGH SCHOOL-
Catherine Gistedt, 1997 Anne Arundel
County, Maryland, Marley Middle School (Science)
Mary Keene, 2001 Baltimore County,
Maryland, Hereford Middle School
Meet a recognized community need: The Hereford School Community learned about the work of the Leukemia Society and how they could help in many activities.
Achieve curricular objectives: Each content leader contributed to a phase of this activity and linked it to their curriculum.
Reflect through the service-learning experience: Students talked during counting sessions about their experiences and daily announcements/reflections on the success of the project included the whole school.
Develop student responsibility: Each homeroom selected a representative who collected the money.
Establish community partnerships: The project was advertised by the Olive Garden and the Leukemia Society to the schools.
Plan ahead for service-learning: The project was planned jointly with homeroom teachers and the student council.
Equip students with knowledge and skills needed for service: Student Council members trained the homeroom representatives.
Linda D. Bailey, 2000 Calvert County,
Maryland, Windy Hill Middle School(Science)
I prepared the students for this project by informing them that as a class, they were responsible for completing a major activity that would help our community. The first step of this project was to determine the need that we wanted to meet. As a class, we investigated several community problems and evaluated how we could tackle the problems in the classroom. We studied, discussed, and did small projects/activities involving recycling, fire departments, nursing homes, the environment, and homelessness. Students reported to the class on the various needs of their community. The students then choose the theme of recycling for their big project. Next, the students were engaged in designing a plan for the project. We devised multiple solutions and chose the best plan of action. We had to organize the ideas to form a logical plan that would work. We determined what materials were needed and decided how to obtain them. It was decided that it would be best to divide the class into groups to meet the needs of the project. Through brainstorming and voting, we decided that we needed groups to perform the following functions:
Overall leadership and direction Communication of the plan through poster advertisements and announcements Education of the student body about the need for recycling through announcements and posters Collection of the cans Measurement and calculation of the results.
A table was made to display the roles and the members of each group. Students then broke into the groups. They worked to reach group agreement and complete their part of the project. Prior to the day of collection, groups made and hung up posters to advertise the contest and to educate the school about recycling. Students made announcements over the intercom and during the lunch shifts. They distributed collection bags and tags to each teacher. On the day of the drive, students collected the bags from each first period class, weighed the cans, recorded the results, and placed the cans into the delivery truck for recycling. The winner of the drive was announced the next day during the morning announcements.
Students were completely responsible for the success or failure of this project. My role was mainly a facilitator. They chose the project and listed the requirements as a whole group. Their subgroups were responsible for meeting the goals of their group. They had to decide how to do the work and then complete the work. Lessons were learned from failures as well as successes.
We met several curricular objectives with this project. The students investigated a problem, developed multiple solutions, designed a plan by organizing information and ideas, communicated their plan through writing and public speaking, sequenced events, measured and calculated results, interpreted data, constructed a table, and worked in learning groups to complete a task. All of these skills are listed as needed skills for MSPAP success.
I reflected with the student throughout the project. As a group, we discussed the status of the project and subprojects. We listed the problems that were being encountered and worked as a group to fix them. We made note of each problem for discussion at the end of the project. At the end, we discussed what we could have done differently to avoid some of the problems. We also wrote about what each student could do in the future to maintain recycling in their homes and their community.
Through this project, we developed two important community ties. The recycling center where we took the cans is still used by my school today to recycle metal. We now, as an ongoing recycling activity, recycle can tabs at this center and donate the money to our homeless shelter. We have also developed a relationship with our homeless shelter. Throughout the years, we have sent students to them to clean up their storage areas. We have donated money and done school-wide drives to provide school supplies and necessities for the homeless children.
Tamara Sasscer, 2001 Calvert County,
Maryland, Southern Middle School
Meet a recognized community need: The project helped to raise moral in the students and staff of Southern Middle School and engender school and community pride in an effort to decrease vandalism and related behaviors.
Achieve curricular objectives: We incorporated area, perimeter, and scale drawings into the project.
Reflect through the service-learning experience: We discussed reasons why we should plant a butterfly garden. When it was finished, the students invited each class to a picnic in the improved courtyard.
Develop student responsibility: The students were responsible for deciding where to place the plants in the courtyard. They were also responsible for digging the holes, planting, and maintaining the courtyard.
Establish community partnerships: We established community partnerships with Chespax, who donated the plants, and we obtained shovels from Lowe's Home Improvement store.
Plan ahead for service-learning: The principal of Southern Middle School informed me of the school's beautification money. I planned the concepts that needed to be taught to prepare for the project.
Equip students with knowledge and skills needed for service: As a class, we reviewed how to find area and perimeter and discussed scale drawings.
LaNika Anthony, 1999 Prince George's
County, Maryland, Charles Carroll Middle School (English)
Jerry Pace, Brittons Neck High
School, Marion School District Four, South Carolina
Spring Valley High School, Service-Learning
Coordinator: Beverly Hiott
Powers High School, Powers, Oregon,
Superintendent: Don Grotting
Crook County High School, Prineville,
Oregon, Curriculum director: Dennis Kostelecky
White River High School, Buckley,
Malcolm Shabazz City High School,
Academy for Science and Foreign Language,
Sharon Public Schools, Sharon, Massachusetts
Another project involved eighth grade
students using the election process as a context for writing editorials
about state and national political issues. High school writing mentors
reviewed the editorials, which were sent to newspapers. A panel of editorial
writers from state and local newspapers discussed editorial writing with
John Marshall Middle School, Long
Beard Alternative School,Syracuse,
Here are some
excellent sources for project ideas
Augsburg College (Minneapolis) Service
Learning Teacherís Guide
Service-Learning Project Profiles (Wisconsin
Dept. of Ed.)
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