This planning sheet can help educators design and implement service-learning projects that support prejudice reduction. Emphasis is placed on collaboration, direct service and advocacy.
THE BIG IDEA
I want to make the issue of ________________________ come alive for my students. My hopes are:
The topic is related to academic inquiry along the following themes:
The project would support standards, skills and benchmarks, including:
Potential partners and collaborators in this project include:
CLASSROOM INTRODUCTORY UNIT
1. Pre-Service Reflection Activity: What do we think we know about ________________________ ? When we think about ________________________ , how do we feel? What comes to mind? Why?
2. Background reading/research:
(I) Individual (S) Small Groups (W) Whole Class
3. Reflection Activity: What did we learn in our reading and research that supports or contradicts what we originally thought? Does this change how we feel about ________________________ ? Why? What more can we know or learn?
4. Organization/Recipient Interview(s) or Meet-and-Greet
PLANNING -- STUDENTS & TEACHERS
1. Discussion: What do we think we can do to impact the problem of ________________________ ? (See What Kind of Service Is It? for descriptions of the following categories.)
Direct action ideas:
Indirect action ideas:
2. Vetting: With guidance from the teacher, students should meet with, or draft a letter to, the organizational representative/recipients outlining the class' ideas and soliciting feedback and new ideas. Revise the class' ideas, based on agency/recipient feedback. Note: An organizational representative or recipient should be involved in subsequent design and implementation steps.
3. Planning for Implementation: What do we need to do to make these things possible?
Brainstorming prompts include:
- What steps should we take? How might we break steps down into bite-sized pieces?
- Whose involvement or approval is necessary, i.e. school administration, parents/guardians?
- Whose support could help us be more effective, i.e. other students and teachers, campus and community media, civic leaders, etc.?
- Are there school or agency policies and procedures that we need to follow?
- What supplies will we need to do this work?
- Do we need access to equipment — computers, for example?
- Do we need money to do this work?
- What do we need to learn, and from whom/where?
- What objectives should we set for ourselves, i.e. X hours of direct service, Y number of Z products delivered to agency, coverage of issue by local media, etc.?
Ask students to volunteer for work teams along the themes that arise from the brainstorming, i.e. research team, collaboration/partnership team, publicity team, fundraising team, etc. Then divvy up the responsibilities and tasks:
ASSESSMENTBRIEFINGS & REFLECTION (ONGOING)
Reflection activities can include discussion, writing exercises, art projects or presentations.
Before initiating direct service: Conduct exercises that delve into assumptions or stereotypes that students may hold about the population being served. What do students think they currently "know" about recipients?
Throughout the project: Focus on students' experiences (i.e., How did you feel about your experiences? What was most interesting? Difficult? Why?); societal issues (i.e., What are you learning about the issue? How is that knowledge affecting your actions?); and diversity (i.e., What do you have in common with those whom you are serving? What are you learning from them? How do they work to change their own lives? What forces limit their effectiveness?)
On a periodic basis, teams should brief one another on their progress, outlining activities, challenges encountered, successes enjoyed and subsequent steps. Oral reports should be supplemented by written documentation to help maintain record of activities.
At the end of the project: Reflect on what students have learned about themselves, others, citizenship, service and the social problem (i.e. What have you gained/learned in the course of this project? What have you learned about people who experience ________________________ ? What would happen if everyone in our democracy helped address this issue? What would happen if no one helped? What will you do in the future to address this issue? What other issues would you like to address?)
In addition to reflection exercises, teachers should "end" service-learning units with a celebration or acknowledgment of students' efforts and impact. Involve recipients/service agencies, the school community and others.
This section is drawn from Community Service Learning: A Guide to Including Service in the Public School Curriculum (ISBN # 0-7914-3184-3)
Use team briefings, student reflections and project outcomes to assess student performance against the standards and benchmarks identified in the Curriculum Connections step (above).