Service Learning: Developing Opportunities to Engage the Community

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SWBAT develop their service learning projects by identifying and sharing ideas for community service.

Big Idea

Students share ideas and build connections for their service learning project.

Let's Get Started: A Quick Look at Symbol

10 minutes

For homework students had to write a literary device on symbol for the short story, "Her Three Days." A literary device asks students to find an example of the literary element in the text. Once they have an example, they have to write a function paragraph that states the context in which the example occurs, an explanation of the symbol, and finally how does the symbol connect to the text as a whole.

I begin by asking them to take out their homework.  I as them to work in groups of three or four to review the homework (SL 9-10.1a).  Each group member will read their function paragraph to the group.  The other group members listen and give verbal feedback.  Next, the students will pass their paper to another group member. Now they read each other's paragraph and provide written feedback on all the the pieces of the function paragraph (W 9-10. 5).  

I give them about seven minutes to complete this activity.  Then I tell them regardless of where you are in the process, return the paragraph to the writer.  Now the writer can review the feedback and rewrite their function paragraph.  It should take three to five minutes.  

Finally, I tell them to put their original and revised literary device in the homework tray. 

Building Knowledge: What is Service Learning?

20 minutes

Now we transition to the service learning project.  This is the fifth year I have done this project and I am still tweaking it.  I would like to find a project where we could volunteer as a group. However with my schedule, student schedules, and multiple classes, that goal has been a hard one to achieve. Instead, students have to complete 10 hours of community service outside of Tucson High School.  I tell tell them that a car wash for their sports team or club does not count as volunteering because they directly benefit from the money raised. 

Most students have never done a service learning project. However many of them have experience volunteering in the community.  I want them to understand how service learning connects to our class.  So, I have them take turns reading the "What is service learning?" and "Academic goals" section of the directions.  I just ask for volunteers to read. At the end of each section, I give them a moment to process the information and then I answer any questions they might have (RL.9-10.10).  

Next, I go over with them what they need to do by the end of the project. I explain the options of volunteering as an individual or as a small group.  After answering all their questions, I give them the timeline with all of the due dates. 

Finally, I ask the class if anyone already volunteers in the community.  I call on the students who raise their hand so they can share their experience with the class.  Many students often have experience with faith-based volunteering or they have volunteered at Ben's Bells, an organization that does kindness education in our local schools. 

Building Knowledge: Service Learning Opportunities in our Community

15 minutes

The next part of the class is like a pre-writing activity for the project (W 9-10. 5).  The last page of their service learning handout is a brainstorming activity. Students have already shared their past experiences with volunteering.  If is possible that other people in the class have also volunteered but did not raise their hands.  Now I ask them to answer the first three questions.  

  • 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 tell them that I know some of them will not be able to answer the first question. However everyone can answer the last two questions.  Once the pens/pencils stop moving, I take volunteers to share their answers to questions two and three. 

The next section of their paper has a chart on it.  They have to brainstorm places to volunteer based on these categories: non profits, faith-based, community, political, and other. Before, I let them work independently on brainstorming, I ask for an example for each category and I write them on the board. The examples will be something like Ben's Bells (non profit), youth group (faith-based), public library (community), and Sanctuary Movement (political).  Some of these examples could fall into multiple categories.  I am not overly concerned with what column they put them in.  I just want them to generate ideas in writing. Thus, I tell them if they have an idea but don't know which category to place it in, use "other" and we can talk 1:1 about the best place to put this idea. These students have many ideas for service learning locations.

Closing: Next Steps

5 minutes

As the time winds down, I tell them that they need to tell me where they are volunteering by next Wednesday.  I also tell them to share this project with their parents. They will need support from their families if they are to complete 10 hours of service.  I also want to answer any questions parents may have about the project as soon as possible.  

Beyond taking to their parents and picking a place to volunteer, there is no additional homework for tonight.  We will begin a new unit next class.