Elementary Service-Learning Projects


Serving Senegal  Our third grade class is publicizing and coordinating the collection of art supplies (pencils, crayons, colored pencils, markers, water color paints, and plain white paper) to send to the children of Thies, Senegal in West Africa.

Dinner for All  The "Kids Food Basket" (KFB) provides after school dinner packages for most children in our school. We would like to tie our Social Studies standards related to Producers and Consumers with a charity with whom the students have a meaningful connection.   To raise money, students are going to produce a variety of "goods", including crafts, plants, and other novelty items. They will then sell these items to consumers from the local community and school. We plan to donate a portion of the proceeds to the Kids Food Basket.  In order for students to understand the service that the Kids Food Basket provides, staff from KFB will partner with the school to give an overview of the organization, as well as educate the students about proper nutrition. The students may also assist the KFB in packing and/or distributing their dinner sacks. 

100 Ways to Use Hands for Helping  My students have brought to my attention the problem of students using physical ways to solve problems. Many teachers explain to their students that they need to use their words and use their hands for helping. I overheard a student ask "How do you use hands for helping?" I realized that not all students know what this means. This project is meant to help kids learn why physical means of solving problems is inappropriate by hearing from kids how they feel when this happens. It is also a way to show kids how to use their hands in a positive way. Rather than hurting friends, how can we help them? 

Closer to Home  To tie into our Social Studies standard of Producers and Consumers, the students are going to produce a variety of crafts, books, pictures, plants and gift items. We will invite the community and school to purchase our "goods" at our two-day sale. The proceeds will go to the Mel Trotter Mission homeless children division. Students will go on a service learning field trip to meet the children at the Mission bringing them some of the things we made and our monetary donation to go towards clothing, school supplies and other needs. 

Feed the Need  During this project, second grade students will find out a need of the Wyoming Senior Center, then collect special recipes from students' families and the seniors themselves to create a recipe book to be sold. The money raised will be spent on filling the need at the senior center. A culminating activity of a celebration of cultures will include students' families and the seniors actually making some of the recipes and bringing them to the celebration for others to try. Seniors will also share memories from some of their favorite celebrations.

The Bare Necessities  Throughout the school year for 2012-2013, we plan to do a series of service-learning projects that will center on the learning objective of helping those in need. This involves working with three community partners; Degage' Ministries, United Church Outreach Ministries, Renucci House and Kids Food Basket. 

Love of La Lectura  As an ELL teacher, I see a great need for further efforts to be made to connect Spanish speaking families to the academic lives of their children who attend schools where they are taught in English.  Many Spanish speaking parents do not know that reading to their children in Spanish will help their children develop literacy skills that will transfer to their reading in English.  Therefore the plan for this project is to start a circulation of bilingual books to connect Spanish speaking parents and families with the school and promote bi literacy. Students will provide the service of writing and publishing their own bilingual books to donate to the school library to allow other students to bring home and read. 

Honoring Veterans Throughout the Year  Veterans are acknowledged during Veterans Day, but as the Iraq War comes to a close, it is appropriate to welcome those Veterans and honor all Veterans for their service to our country and wish them a Happy New Year. Kindergarten students will make personal Happy New Year- Good Wishes cards to honor Veterans. The students will also make cards and placemats for the Discovery Elementary family Veterans and Veterans at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans. 

Pollution and Its Effects  Partnered with the City of Wyoming, we will look at types/sources of pollution and how it affects living things. 

We Care  Our Kindergarten classes will learn and teach about the needs of others in the community while collecting pop cans, toiletries, and used clothing for donations to Mel Trotter Ministries. They will also make placemats for a Thanksgiving dinner and have a Candy Cane/Baked Goods sale which they will advertise throughout the school and then donate their earnings to the Mission for the purchase of food for the Christmas dinner. 

Kids Hope  The 2nd grade students would record a public service announcement in an effort to recruit more mentors for the Kids Hope program headed by Daybreak Community Church.

Recycling  We will put in place classroom recycle bins, use the composter (if set up) and empower students to educate other students about why we need to recycle and also how to recycle. 

Rain Gardens and Your Environment  Students are to be introduced to nature, likely to a greater depth than they have before. Students also will learn to distinguish what is a healthy natural environment, as well as how human habitation can threaten that health. Students will take on a project to help improve this interaction between human habitation and nature; specifically, students will learn about hazards such as runoff, and how rain gardens can help. The children will participate in learning about, advocating for, helping with (and possibly even helping with building from scratch) rain gardens.  

Reciprocating Kindness  The 2nd grade students will perform various random act of kindness per month for members/groups found in our community that students feel need support. With the economy being down there are numerous families and companies in our community needing assistance/morale boost. 

Community Science Fair Second and third grade students are going to be teaching community members about scientific concepts. 

Learning to Go Green  This project will build on "The Recycle Project" that the sixth grade team started last year; organizing a school-wide paper recycling program. Over the course of six weeks, the Global Safari students will explore the question, "Why should we recycle?" Students will research and develop a plan to implement a recycle program in the cafeteria for paper, plastic, metal, and food that can be composted. 

Appreciating Veterans  We will be finding ways to appreciate our veterans throughout the year. We will be making cards and lap blankets for veterans, visiting Veterans at Grand Rapids Home for Veterans, and viewing Veteran Memorials in Grand Rapids, Lansing, and Lowell. 

Neighborhood Clean-up   The kindergarten class of Godfrey-Lee Early Childhood Center will be doing various beautification projects for the three block neighborhood directly in front of their building. The students will be delivering postcards door to door in the three block neighborhood in front of their school and on the postcards they will offer yard work service to these residents done by the students. This yard work will include racking in the fall and flower planting in the spring. They will also offer to make yard art that they will be making with donations of wood scraps from their local lumber yard, Tontin Lumber. There will be contact information for the residents to inquire about receiving these yard work services and once they get responses they will start racking as soon as October 19th 2012. In February 2013 they will be going on a fieldtrip to Home Depot where they will receive a class about building and tour of Home Depot. In the spring they will be asking for donations of flowers from local floral shops and planting them either at residential homes or businesses around the neighborhood. 

Project Eco Fair  I plan to connect with a group of teachers in the Kentwood district to organize an Eco Fair. The end product will be a community and/or school wide event that includes student project demonstrations and presentations pertaining to a topic promoting environmental sustainability. Throughout this project students will be networking with local businesses and experts. 

Grow and Give With Hydroponics  Our second grade classes will grow plants using Hydroponics while studying parts of a plant and fulfilling the social studies standard of advocating for a local cause. Food that is produced using Hydroponics will be donated to the local Fresh Food Initiative of Barry County. 

Fountainview Friends  We want our students to learn about and appreciate the elderly members of our community. We will visit and interact with the residents of Fountainview of Lowell (assisted living facility). Each first grade class will visit twice throughout the school year interacting in a variety of ways (singing, reading, playing games...). We will conclude our service learning project with a final visit with all three classes to plant flowers for the residents to enjoy through the summer months. 

Giving Greater Than Receiving  Students learn about the elderly in our community and the feelings of isolation that can occur among this population and are challenged to make a difference in the lives of some of our senior neighbors. 

Letters to Soldiers  Students will review and practice letter writing in the friendly letter format. They will write to a soldier and hopefully be able to continue writing the same person over the course of the year. We would possibly send packages to the soldiers they are writing. 

Cross Grade Study Buddies  Our two classes will meet every other week to work on math and reading skills. Fourth graders will be partnered with a first grader. Each time we meet, there will be a focused skill we are working on: fact families, counting money, reading, adding, subtracting, listening skills, etc. 

United We Stand  The students will develop an awareness of integration and segregation that is within our communities based today, not by laws, but by proximity and populations. They will meet each other, compare and contrast two diverse cultures inner city vs. a rural setting or predominant minority vs. middle class white suburbia, and participate in problem solving/team building activities. 

Sow Harvest and Enjoy  Our second-grade students will initially visit a senior citizen's center for "tea" and get to know these citizens. We will then plant seeds in individual containers that will be taken care of by these senior citizens. We will then become pen-pals over the course of a couple of months. We need to be connected with our senior citizens and plants. When these little cucumbers, pepper, squash, and tomato plants are ready to be transplanted, we will travel back to the facility to pick up our plants. These plants will be planted at the Wittenbach-Wege Center (with help from FFA High School students). Our students will continue to write to our senior citizens so that we can let them know how our plants are doing in the nature center food plot. The students will take care of the plants during the summer. At harvest time, we will again visit the senior citizen facility to deliver vegetables and have another "tea" with our special senior citizens. 

Addressing Hunger with Haven House  Our project is to teach the students about the nutrition and malnutrition. We will include aspects of famines throughout history and how they have affected the world. We will also include percentages of people in the world and the surrounding community that are homeless. The class would then find somewhere to serve in the community. We will go as a class and help cook dinner for the homeless and hungry. The students would then take pictures and record how it makes them feel and the difference they see they are making. 

Bake for Books  We are raising money by doing a school-wide bake sale to get authors of the books we will be receiving to come and talk to the kids of the school that will be obtaining the books. 

Help a Willing Kid  We will pair the students in our classroom with the children who participate in the H.A.W.K program by giving each of them a pen pal (as similar to them in age as possible) that they will communicate with regularly throughout the year. Through these letters, both sets of children will be able to form a meaningful relationship as well as discover the ways in which the children in our classroom can help the children at H.A.W.K by the way of "life supplies" (e.g., shampoo, soap, clothing, books, school supplies, food, etc.) During the year, the children will organize a drive to collect these items which will be donated to the H.A.W.K. program in addition to finding other ways to help. 

Picture Book Pack  For our project we will have each student in the class write and illustrate a picture-book to give to a resident at a nursing home. This will allow them to work on their writing and be creative with the illustrations. Along with the picture-book, we will have each student make a no-sew fleece lap-blanket for the resident at the nursing home. We will also have the students make a tissue paper flower, then bundle everything together. We will take the students to the nursing home and have them give the picture-book pack to a resident at the nursing home, then give the student and the resident time to read the book together and get to know each other. 

Watch Me Grow  For this project, students will be learning about plants, specifically photosynthesis and the growth process of flowers. After learning about photosynthesis and plant growth, students will write a short story with illustrations about their life if they were a flower. Then, representatives from the Master Gardeners club will come into the class and give a short presentation about what flowers grow best in our area.  They will then be paired with a student (students if fewer representatives than students), and the students will read their short stories to the Master Gardener. After the stories have been shared, the Master Gardeners teach the students how to plant an annual flower, having the students plant their own flower in a plastic cup. The flowers each student planted are kept in the classroom for daily care, observation, and recording the growth and measurements of the flowers. Students will take notes on daily observations of the growth of their individual plant, as well as measuring the height of their plant and drawing a sketch of what their flower looks like on Fridays. These observations and notes will be charted in the classroom on a graph by the students to compare each student's flower. 

Young Athletes Program through Special Olympics  We are planning a project that will better equip general education students to be more comfortable around students with special needs. We are finding as teachers, that our students become very uncomfortable whenever a student with special needs is present and they don't know how to act accordingly. Our goal of this project is to get all students on a more level basis. We will be attending a gymnastics event and our general education students will be helping run the event. They will time different stations and also measure the height of things. They will be learning in an open environment where students with special needs will be present. We are hoping they will learn how to be more comfortable around students who may be a little different than them!  

Think Out of the Box:  Recycle in the Box  Students address the need for recycling in their community starting with their own school. They will find ways to encourage recycling by promoting it in the other classrooms through their presentations of the project. A recycling program at the school will be planned and put into action and spread throughout the whole school and maybe the community.  

Friendship Across Generations  Children get an elder pen pal and write letters to them. At the end of the project they will create small gifts for their pen pal at the nursing home. A scrapbook will be created as a reflection of the project.  

Books to Benefit  "Books to Benefit" is a project designed to give students and their school peers a medium to donate new and used children's books to a local homeless shelter. Students will plan almost every aspect of this project-- from when book collection will be, where it will be, collection goals and goal tracking, and personal reflection. 

I Speak for the Truffula Trees  To improve school attitudes towards recycling by involving students in creative projects to reduce waste.  The goal of this project is to encourage students to think about how recycling helps keep the environment clean. This service-learning project will not only improve children's mindset towards environmental sustainability, but it will also improve the natural conditions in which they live.  

One Tree at a Time  Students will collect cans to raise money in order to buy a tree(s) to plant and take care of outside of the school.  Recycle and Replant.

Save the Truffula Trees  Teaching the students about deforestation and its serious consequences. They will try to help reverse the problems of deforestation by growing their own plants and planting them at a nursing home.  

A Hunger Banquet  Second grade students work together to plan, fundraise, and carry out an event where food is served to raise awareness and fundraise for an agreed upon hunger-based charity.