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Service-Learning Project Ideas

Elementary School Level

Playground Safety-PreK/K (Leominster, MA)
The students in this classroom wanted to create a safer and more pleasant playground. The teacher decided to teach a playground safety unit. The school nurse came to talk to students about playground safety. Students brainstormed ideas for playground safety rules, made a list, and paired them with visuals. Students then made a class book illustrating them following each of the rules. Students then traveled to other classrooms teaching their peers the rules. Lastly, signs were made to post on the playgrounds of each of the three early childhood schools that pair the words of the rules along with the visuals. (ELA & Comprehensive Health curriculum connection)

School Beautification-Kindergarten (Dudley-Charlton Regional School District, MA)
As part of the school's preparation for accreditation by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, teachers prepared "learning centers" for their students, one being a construction center. The teacher wanted to expand on this center by getting the students actively involved in learning about construction and doing something for the school community. Students, teachers, and parent volunteers participated in a building workshop at Home Depot followed by a building project back at the school. The students made planter boxes to be placed outside of the science area where the students could plant seeds and learn about the plant life cycle. The students were able to beautify the school with their planters. (Science & Math curriculum connections)

Getting to Know Our Bus Driver-3rd Grade (Hampden-Wilbraham School District, MA)
A third grade class decided to strengthen their relationship with their school bus drivers with the goal of establishing "a positive relationship of mutual respect and understanding." Students surveyed bus drivers and other members of the school community and then worked on a brochure to highlight appropriate school bus rules, and made presentations to other classes throughout the school building. The second project was to create a book entitled "Getting to Know Our Bus Drivers," which provided brief biographies of the drivers. Finally, the culminating activity was to host a Bus Driver Appreciation Breakfast to show that students had learned the value of respectful interactions. (ELA & Comprehensive Health curriculum connections)

School Community Garden-3rd Grade (Springfield, MA)
Students designed and developed a small community garden at Mary O. Pottenger School. This garden was researched and planned by the students. The students participated in a full six-hour cleanup and many additional hours planting, watering, weeding and doing other garden work during the year. The entire school enjoys the garden, as do the people in the local community. The students also composed music, and are still in the process of writing music that is "garden" orientated. They have performed in concerts at school. (Math, Science, and History & Social Sciences curriculum connections)

Writer's Workshop-4th & 5th Grades (Hilltown Cooperative Charter Public School, MA)
Twenty 4th and 5th grade students at Hilltown Cooperative Public Charter School partnered with 12 Elders at Hampshire Care in a Writer's Workshop. Together they produced creative writing based on the Elders' life stories and their experiences of childhood. The children learned language arts skills in a practical setting by practicing interviewing, creative writing, poetry, note taking, transcribing, proof reading, editing skills, and constructive feedback. A community member and creative writing specialist initially worked with the teacher and the children in the classroom to establish the format for the Writer's Workshop program. (ELA curriculum connections)

Honoring Our Veterans-1st, 2nd, 3rd, & 4th Grades (Shrewsbury, MA)
This highly successful program, which has been held for the last seven years, enabled students at the elementary school to interact with homeless veterans at Massachusetts Veterans Inc. and provide them with needed personal care products. Students discussed homelessness in their community, learned about the role of veterans, and identified products and routines necessary for personal care. In turn, students organized a collection week for donations such as shampoo, toothpaste, soap, etc., and applied the principles of assembly line work in packing tote bags. Finally, they recited the Pledge of Allegiance and designed cards of appreciation for veterans. After the items were collected and tote bags assembled, they were delivered to the shelter. (Comprehensive Health, English Language Arts, History & Social Sciences curriculum connections)

Last Updated: December 14, 2007
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