Sunday, December 28, 2014

Making Learning Priorities Visible

Students in my class are creating a service learning display.

The display will make visible our school's tremendous efforts toward serving others.

Several years ago, in order to make time for PLCs, our principal brought all students in the school through a series of service learning lessons. He gathered each grade level in the cafe and used video, words, and examples to teach the children about service learning.

Since that time, an entrepreneurial effort has grown exponentially throughout the school. Individual students, small groups, family-children, whole class, and other teams focus on specific service learning efforts to help others.  Typically the efforts include research, assembly presentation, advertisements around the school and via the intercom system, a collection of some kind, and then contribution. For example, recently a couple of second graders fostered a service learning project to collect blankets for the homeless while another group asked students to make cards for cancer patients.

The service learning display focus audience will include our entire learning team: students, family members, educators, leaders, and community members.

The display will include a title like this:

What Can You Do to Help Others?

Then we'll the quote:

"The time is always right to do right." - Martin Luther King, Jr. 

After that, we'll add the subtitle:

Happy Hollow 2014-2015 Service Learning Superstars

Following that title will be pictures of this school year's students who have fostered service learning projects with a short description of each project.

To the corner, we'll add the directions for creating a service learning project to inspire other students, student teams, and classrooms to get involved:

How to Become a Service Learning Superstar
  1. Choose a need that you want to understand better and contribute to.
  2. Set up a meeting to discuss your project with the principal. 
  3. Study that need by researching the following questions:
    • What is this need?
    • Why does this need exist?
    • How can people make a positive difference with respect to this need?
  4. Create a presentation that teaches others about the need.
  5. Edit your presentation with a teacher or family member.
  6. Present your project to others via school assembly, classroom presentation, school advertisements, and/or social media share. 
  7. Lead an effort that raises money, collects needed goods, and/or facilitates an activity that makes change. 
  8. Create and present the result and reflection of your service learning work (optional)
  9. Add your picture and project write-up to the Service Learning Superstar Display.
Finding a place to make learning visible in a school matters. Displays like that send a message to the entire learning team about what's important as well as giving each member of the team a way to take part in important initiatives.