Service Learning Project: Why is Volunteering Beneficial to Me and my Community?

2 teachers like this lesson
Print Lesson


SWBAT revise letters based on the Common Core standards by reviewing the Common Core shifts in teaching practices. SWBAT apply pre-writing strategies to begin planning for their service learning project.

Big Idea

Community -- it is a big place. Students explore how their interests and talents can impact the community through volunteer service.

Introduction to Service Learning

let's Get Started: Revising Our Letters

30 minutes

The majority of class today will focus on writing standard W.9-10.5.  I will approach it in two ways: revision and pre-writing/developing ideas for a topic. 

In class on Monday, students wrote a reflective letter about the class.  I wanted them to write a critique of the class as part of their reflection and I was specifically looking to see if the students established an appropriate tone for the letter.  The quality of the critique, depth of reflection, and use of tone varied.  So, I wanted to give my students an opportunity to revise and/or give more details in their letter.  A contributing factor to the quality of the letters is that I did not provide specific elements for them to reflect on or critique.  

In addition to writing letters on Monday, students gave mini presentations.  One of the presentations was on standardized testing.  The students had a lot of questions on the AIMS (current Arizona graduation test), the PARCC, and the Common Core.  

So, today I will randomly place their original letters on a table.  I will ask my students to find their letter and then sit at the table with their letter. Thus, they will be will be sitting in in different groups than they usually sit in.  I hope the students will get new ideas from talking with different people. 

I will ask the students to reread their letter and share their letter with a partner.  In partners, I will ask them to answer the following questions aloud (SL.9-10.1): Does it contain all the required information?  Is it the appropriate tone?  

After a brief discussion, I tell them that they are going to revise their letter based on the Common Core (W.9-10.5).  I put up a slide titled Common Core shifts in teaching practice.  This slide is from EngageNY. I tell them that the new English Common Core Standards expects these shifts to happen in class so they can learn and develop 21st century skills.  

There are five shifts.  I assign each group one shift.  I tell them to figure out what the shift means and provide an example of what it would look like in class.  After each group presents their shift, I tell the students to pick one or two of the shifts and revise their letter to critique the class and reflect on the impact of those shifts on their learning.   

Building Knowledge: Explanation of Community Service Learing

20 minutes

If the students have not finished their letters, I tell them to finish it for homework.  I pass out the community service learning project. I hand it to them upside down and tell them not to turn it over. 

Next I ask, "Who has ever volunteered someplace in our community?"  Most students raise their hand. I go around the room and ask them to share where they volunteer and what do they do? 

Now, I tell them to turn the papers over, I read the objective for the project.  I ask them to read the goals of the service learning project. Then I ask them to explain it in their own words.  I break it down into small pieces.  

  • What is service learning?
  • How is it an academic experience?
  • What the community connection?
  • Tell me one goal, another goal, etc.

I ask if there are any questions about that part of project. Now I move into the assignment.  I go over the criteria of the assignment.  I explain that they cannot volunteer at Tucson High.  If they are in a sport or a club they cannot use fund-raising for that sport or club as volunteer time. I also tell them they can volunteer together, however, they have to write their own essay.

Next, I go over the due dates.  The project is not due until March so they have plenty of time to volunteer for 10 hours. 

Now, we move on to pre-writing.  Students have one week to tell me where they are going to volunteer.  They answer three questions and discuss the answers with their group.  

  • Have you volunteered for an organization in the past?  If yes, where? And why?
  • Why do some places need people to volunteer?
  • How does volunteering impact the community?

I ask for volunteers to share with the class.  

Finally we complete the chart that is on the prewriting page.  I have all the categories (non-profits, faith-based, community-based, political, and other) written on the board.  I tell the students to get us and write as many examples on the board as they can for each category.  The combination of reflecting on what it means to volunteer and brainstorming on the board serves as pre-writing activities (W 9-10 5) for the service learning essay and presentation. Students can review the lists on the board and write down on their paper possible places to volunteer.  It also sparks class discussion on the function of different organizations in our community. 

Wrap Up: Homework and Activities for Next Week

5 minutes

I remind the students that they have to identify where they will volunteer by next Friday.  There homework is to read "Her Three Days" by Sembene Ousmane and answer questions 1 through 6 by next Wednesday. I gave students a packet with the story in it last semester.  However I told them that I would scan it and upload it to our Edmodo page in case they could not find it.  Edmodo is an free on-line service where teachers can create closed social networks for their classes.