Meaningful Service-Learning Evaluation Exercise
1. Each group will be assigned to one of the following service-learning scenarios.
2. Evaluate the assigned scenario using the Meaningful Service-Learning Checklist.
3. Identify strengths and weakness of the service-learning scenarios.
4. Identify ways to enhance the service-learning project.
5. Share the results.
Head Group -- Queen Bee Schools Description: Service-learning is integrated with an environmental science curriculum at the middle school and includes both content and process skills from the subject areas. Students are encouraged to brainstorm ideas for potential projects and investigate such issues as hunger and poverty that can be related to their academic curriculum. Projects focus on one of the three types of service: 1) direct service that is related to helping people of improving the environment; 2) indirect service based on organizing and carrying out awareness or fundraising functions for community cause; 3) advocacy service to raise awareness of issues such as solid-waste management and environmental problems. Among the community partners are the Forest Preserve District, the conservation foundation, S.C.R.A.P. (School Recycling Assistance Program), the Village of Glendale Heights, Bethlam Food Bank and Alden Village. Training is provided by the community and focuses on issues that arise at the service sites.
Heart Group -- Peacefully Reaching Out Description: Peacefully Reaching Out (PRO) is a Big Brothers, Big Sisters project designed to provide an opportunity for at-risk students to learn conflict mediation/resolution strategies and share these strategies with other community youth. Students who are involved in conflict miss time from class. This project increases on-task behaviors so that students receive the instructional time. Students learn critical thinking skills and how to make better decisions. 83 students in the Students-At-Risk Program participate in instruction that focuses on areas such as conflict mediation/resolution, self-esteem and career exploration. Students enhance their technology skills by working on computers, and staff and parents are involved in in-service training. As a result, the students' newly learned skills are transferred from acquisition to instruction, and the PRO students provide mediation/resolution strategies to approximately 350 fifth-grade students from four feeder elementary schools. This instruction with elementary students involves group sessions, classroom instruction, role playing, etc. Acquisition of the skills is only half the task; modeling the skill within the community helps these students make the first step in violence prevention.
Hands -- Clover Parish 4-H Livestock Club Description: A parishwide project involving over 300 elementary students and several activities serves the Aberdeen Humane Society by raising money and collecting materials for much-needed supplies for the animals. Their activities develop citizenship skills and promote public awareness of the non-profit organization and its work among students and their parents. The project and activities were selected, organized and promoted by the students on council and involved all classes in the school. They began with an assembly at which the director of the Humane Society spoke with the students about the shelter and the issues of animal neglect and care. Among their activities, students incorporated other concerns, such as the environment in recycling cans and shredding newspapers for lining cages and making beds for the animals. The project culminated in the school Spring Program with the theme of animals, coinciding with a highly successful bake sale the day parents attended the program. The school sees the value and educational possibilities of such projects for its students and is planning more lead time for the project in coming year and a faculty in-service to increase curriculum connection to the service project.
Health -- 4-H KWIC (Kids Working to Improve our Community: Inside and Out) Description:
This program provides students with information on music, feelings and health. The students are conducting a library search to explore how music affects one's feelings and health. Students are learning several psychology terms as well as gaining a better understanding of the elderly. They are preparing a 20- to 30-minute musical presentation for performance at a local nursing home. They are composing a simple pre- and post-test to compare residents' feelings and reactions.