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|Project Title: ||Salem Senior Companions|
|School Year: ||2007|
|School - District:||Collins Middle - Salem|
|Contact Name:||Tim Mahan|
|Content-Area(s):||English Language Arts|
|Community Need:||Human Needs|
|Brief Description of SL Project: |
The service learning project that the class chose to initiate was developing a relationship with members a local elderly care facility. The students researched the needs of the facility and the elderly in general to identify needs. The students then began to familiarize themselves with the staff and residents of the care facility. They created activities like crosswords and current events discussions, and helped plan social events at the facility as well. The students learned a multitude of research, discussion, presentation, and planning skills throughout the process
|The Community Need the Project is Meeting:|
The students learned of a need for spending time and interacting with elderly members of our community. Students began by brainstorming ideas and doing preliminary research before finally selecting this project based on a group proposal and class approval.
|Service Component: |
Students provided several services including spending time in discussions, organizing social events, creating and participating in activities, and developing brief biographies on several community members. The students spent approximately 1-2 hours a week for several months volunteering and coordinating different projects. The residents of the John Bertram House, the elderly care facility that the students volunteered at, were always excited and enthusiastic to see the student volunteers.
|Connections with Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks: |
The largest part of this project took place in the research stage. One of my main goals going into this school year as well as this project was to have my students research more and become independent thinkers/leaders during the research process. After the students had an initial discussion they all picked approximately 4-5 ideas that they wanted to further research. They used online databases of magazines, newspapers and professional journals to find as much information as possible. Their goal was to convince their class that their project was the most pressing need and also that they could fully complete their project.
One specific element of the project that was created was a comparison of a book we read in class Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse to actual accounts of people who lived during the time in which the book is set. Students researched the time period, the Great Depression, and developed questions and conducted interviews. They were assessed on their knowledge of the book, the time period, and their comparison and judgment of the accuracy of the book based on their interviews.
|How Youth Voice Helps Shape Project:|
The students were the leaders from the outset of this project. They independently chose this project and developed the different stages of it. They were able to make contact and develop a relationship with the community on their own. Several students took the lead to recruit more students, develop activities, and plan for the future of the project. The students were always polled and kept up to date on each stage of the project by the student leaders.
|Student Reflection Component: |
Students made weekly reflections in a journal and the class checked in approximately once a week.
|Community Partners Involved: |
The partner for this particular project was the John Bertram House in Salem, Massachusetts. The Bertram House was extremely receptive and open to any and all ideas the students had for their project. Some activities were planned by the Bertram House, and others by the students. The staff at the Bertram House always had time for the students and provided a significant amount of support for their ideas and projects.
|Demonstration/Celebration of Students' Work: |
he students were able to present their project at a city event and dinner. Inside the classroom the students also voted on superlatives for participants in the project to recognize all of the hard work everyone did.
|Evaluation of Project’s Impact:|
At one stage of the project students voted on which specific activities worked best with the elders. In addition, students could develop a survey for the elders to provide feedback on their experience.
|Challenges/Solutions Identified by District:|
At one stage of the project students voted on which specific activities worked best, and they also prepared PowerPoint presentations and the class graded the effort. Also students created posters for one aspect and were graded on that piece. Another component was a self evaluation where students graded their personal effort throughout the process.
* NOTE: This project summary was written by the district/community. Any text in italics was added or modified by the Department (ESE). Most of these projects were supported with Learn & Serve America funds distributed through the ESE.