Magazine article Techniques

Service-Learning in Our Classroom

Magazine article Techniques

Service-Learning in Our Classroom

Article excerpt

Many schools use service-learning on their campus to enhance their classroom content. "Service-learning is a teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility and strengthen communities," notes the Learn and Serve Clearinghouse. It is not volunteering. It is an application of academic standards to the project that makes it more than just a volunteer event. "Service-learning provides structured time for thoughtful planning of the service project and guided reflection by participants on the service experience."

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Programs

There are several projects that can be implemented on the high school campus that can promote service-learning. The following two, Empty Bowls and The Solar Project, were implemented at Raymond S. Kellis High School, Glendale, Arizona.

Empty Bowls

Empty Bowls is a nationwide program developed to feed the hungry in communities. The Empty Bowls concept was created by an artist/teacher in 1990. "From its humble beginnings as a meal for the staff of one high school, Empty Bowls has spread across the United States and beyond and has raised tens of millions of dollars for anti-hunger organizations," notes Empty Bowls' Web site. Raymond S. Kellis took part in this program during both lunches on March 12th. Teachers purchased lunch for $10 that day at the Culinary Cafe. Lunch included pasta. salad and iced tea as well as the selection of a bowl created by our students. (Teachers could choose a student-produced ceramic bowl. a wooden bowl or a bread bowl.)

This cross-curricular project included the ceramics, woods, culinary, accounting and marketing students with each classroom working toward their own state standards. For example, the marketing students covered their event planning, leadership and management studies and utilized their project management techniques. The accounting students tracked all the monies and costs on a spreadsheet. The culinary students cooked and planned for the crowds at their restanurant; they also hosted and worked on customer service techniques. The ceramics students learned how to make bowls, and the woodworking class learned how to turn bowls with the machines in their shop. All the students were able to reflect upon their part in the event and how their work made a difference in the community.

The Solar Project

The student store at Raymond S. Kellis has undergone some upgrades this year and in the process has added more appliances. Unfortunately, the electrical load blew the circuits in the building. the marketing students sough advice on how to make changes on the loads by asking the building trades classes to do an electrical assessment of their needs. Thus was born another service-learning project on the campus. The building trades class decided that the installation of solar panels would be perfect for the store, a great learning opportunity, and a good thing to do for the environment by going green. This project would require some funding, though. Enter a partnership with Green Clubs of America. The club applied for a grant on the school's behalf, and was awarded $15,000 from the Earth Day Network of the project. …

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