Teacher(s): Linda DeCator, Lori Cyrocki, Nancy Russell

Main Contact: Linda DeCator Email: ldecator@lowellschools.com

Date: 12/7/11 Building: Lowell Murray Lake Elementary Grade Level: 2

First Trimester:        Second Trimester: X        Third Trimester: X


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Project Overview:

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.

Effective Practice: MEANINGFUL SERVICE

Service learning actively engages participants in meaningful and personally relevant service activities.

What community need will you address and how did you determine the need?

As I was told during my initial visit to one of our senior citizen facilities, the need for our senior citizens to be connected to some entity in Lowell is great. Many of our seniors do not get a chance to interact much on a daily basis-some don't get any visitors at all, except from their doctors. The opportunity for old and young alike to interact socially is paramount.

What service will you provide to address the need?

Our second graders and the high school FFA group will provide the social interaction needed to get this planting project going. Just the letter-writing in itself, will give proof to these senior citizens that they matter.


Effective Practice: LINK TO CURRICULUM

Service learning is intentionally used as an instructional strategy to meet learning goals and/or content standards.

How is this project related to your curriculum?

This project is related to many areas of our curriculum: social studies in that it addresses the issue of diversity; math in that the students will have to measure out food plots at the nature center; and Language Arts in that the students will have to write pen-pal letters to the senior citizens. This project also directly relates to the Character Education goals that we have been working with in class and it addresses the issue of diversity.

What are the educational goals?

1. The students will do research in our science units to find out more about germinating our seeds.

2. The students will identify the community need for our project and determine steps needed to have a successful project.

3. The students will cooperatively work with high school students on a plan for planting seeds in pots then transplanting them to our food plot.

4. The students will learn how to compose correct sentences and conventions as they create their pen-pal letters.

5. Most importantly of all, the students will see that they have made an impact on a part of our society that often gets forgotten.

Curriculum Crafter Connections

Strand: 2.MD (Measurement and Data)

TLW: TLW will measure the length of an object by selecting and using appropriate tools such as rulers, yardsticks, meter sticks, and measuring tapes.

Additional State Standards and Benchmarks

SL.2.1 (Speaking and Listening) Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade 2 topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.

SL.2.3 (Speaking and Listening) Ask and answer questions about what a speaker says in order to clarify comprehension, gather additional information, or deepen understanding of a topic or issue.

RI.2.3 (Reading: Informational Text) Describe the connection between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text.

RI2.5 (Reading: Informational Text) Know and use various text features (e.g., captions, bold print, subheadings, glossaries, indexes, electronic menus, icons) to locate key facts or information in a text efficiently.

W.2.3 (Writing) Write narratives in which they recount a well-elaborated event or short sequence of events , include details to describe actions, thoughts, and feelings, use temporal words to signal event order, and provide a sense of closure.

W.2.7 (Research) Participate in shared research and writing projects (e.g., read a number of books on a single topic to produce a report, record science observations).


Effective Practice: REFLECTION

Service learning incorporates multiple challenging reflection activities that are ongoing and that prompt deep thinking and analysis about oneself and one's relationship to society.

What form(s) of reflection will you use with the students to help them identify what they have learned and accomplished?

The students will be keeping a journal from the beginning of the project until the end. They will share these journal writings with their pen-pals (senior citizens) and FFA high school students.

The students will also keep photos of the plants as they grow.

We will make a time-line of the progression of the project.


Effective Practice: DIVERSITY

Service learning promotes understanding of diversity and mutual respect among all participants.

What types of diverse perspectives and experiences will be explored as part of your project?  (i.e.: cultural, generational, abilities/disabilities, learning styles, etc)

Many of the students will experience working with older senior citizens. Many of these citizens will have some type of impairments and the students will have to adjust how they will work with these people. Some will not be able to hear or walk very well some compassion and respect will be forthcoming from our students.


Effective Practice: YOUTH VOICE

Service learning provides youth with a strong voice in planning, implementing, and evaluating service learning experiences with guidance from adults.

How will students gain ownership of the project?

The students' excitement of the project will be the driving force. They all want to get started NOW! Just to be able to receive their own letters from these senior citizens will show them that this is THEIR project.



Service learning partnerships are collaborative, mutually beneficial, and address community needs.

Who will you partner with for this project?

Students from Mr. Nugent's high school FFA group, The Wittenbach-Wege Center, and the Blue Ribbon Feed Company.

How will students benefit from this partnership?

They will gain knowledge about other businesses that can provide help to others in the community.

How will the partner benefit from this collaboration?

The FFA group will reach out to another part of the community and learn about what the senior citizens need and how they can continue to help. The Wittenbach Center will gain knowledge about what the second graders are capable of doing.



Service learning engages participants in an ongoing process to assess the quality of implementation and progress toward meeting specified goals, and uses results for improvement and sustainability.

How will you assess the student learning goals?

The many projects that they do in class will be assessed: journals, research, timelines, photo albums, and conversation.

How will you assess your service goals?

The students plan on a survey to be given to the senior citizen center on our project. Also, we will look at our success at planting a garden.



Service learning has sufficient duration and intensity to address community needs and meet specified outcomes.

How will you prepare students for this experience?

We have already been preparing as we study one of our 2nd grade Science units, Plants. We are also doing lots of writing, paying attention to details and conventions. We role-play talking to adults and especially seniors.

What are some sample possible activities students might do as part of this project?

In Math we work on creating graphics such as graphs, timetables, and working on a major measurement unit. We keep daily journals in our classroom, so the students are constantly writing.



The three arms of sustainability are environmental stewardship, economic growth, and social progress. Think planet, profit, and people.

Describe how your project addresses the issue of sustainability?

As this project evolved, many students thought that this would be a project that could be done every year without much cost. The seeds that we started with could be harvested from other plants that we plant. There are always senior citizens that need to be nurtured and cared for in this small way. The planting of a garden that benefits EVERYONE!