Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Art of Service Learning

Service Learning is a HUGE part of the culture at my school.  As a matter of fact, each grade level in our school (PreK-8th) all raise money and support a particular organization.   Here is the breakdown of all our services:

Prekindergarten: Theme: Animal Care
Organization: West LA Animal Shelter
Description: Students learn about animals and their basic needs and wants.  They raise money by hosting an annual Chips for Chihuahuas in which they sell nachos to the students at school.  They also host a drive for animal supplies.  

Kindergarten: Theme: Hospital Care
Organization: Pennies for Patients
Description: Students participate in the Pennies for Patients program, which raises funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

First Grade:
Theme: Ocean Conservation
Organization: Heal the Bay
Description: Students research ocean ecosystems throughout the world. Students learn about the human impact on ocean environments. Students raise money for Heal the Bay by selling otter pops.

Second Grade:
Theme: Shelter
Organization: Habitat for Humanity
Description: Students write letters to elected officials to end poverty housing. Students raise money for the building of affordable homes through Habitat for Humanity.

Third Grade: Theme: Family Support
Organization: Ronald McDonald Pasadena House Charities-Pull-Tab Collection Program
Description: Students research cancer as an illness and the affects on the family unit. Students develop a school-wide program to collect pull-tabs for patients at the Ronald McDonald House.

Fourth Grade:
Theme: Endangered Animals
Organization: World Wildlife Fund
Description: Students research endangered species around the world and how humans impact their endangerment. Students will devise plans to protect their habitats and raise money through recycling for the World Wildlife Fund.

Fifth Grade: Theme: Hunger
Organization: Heifer International
Description: Students research the effects of hunger throughout the world. Students work with Heifer Project International to end hunger and care for the earth. Students raise money by collecting Boxtops and selling wooden animal figurines.

Sixth Grade: Theme: Plant Conservation
Organization: Tree People
Description: Students research plant life and their positive effects on the environment. Students raise money to plant trees in various communities through Tree People.

Seventh Grade: Theme: Medical Assistance
Organization: Smile Train
Description: Students research the needs for children’s surgeries around the world. Students raise money to provide surgeries for children in other parts of the world by contributing to Smile Train.

Eighth Grade:
Theme: Human Rights
Organization: Facing History, Facing Ourselves
Description: Students examine racism, hatred, and anti-Semitism throughout history. Students develop a campaign to break down the walls of hatred through art and language. Students work with the Museum of Tolerance.

The wooden figurines we sold for $5 each making a 50% profit on each one.
My entire class made shirts to wear on Service Learning Day
This year was a big year for the 5th grade, which is the Service Learning I have been apart of for the past five years.  We have slowly been collecting BoxTops to raise money to purchase a heifer through Heifer International in the amount of $500.  However, this year we added on an additional component in which over a two week period we sold wooden Anamalz which I can receive for a discounted price. I was able (and if you need them, I can get them for you too - just contact me) to get the animals for $2.50 each.  The wooden figurines that we selected were all farm related which tied in with Heifer International.  They retail for about $10 online and sometimes more.  However, since we were raising money for a charity we sold them for only $5.  In two weeks we sold over 200 of the wooden animal figurines and made a profit of $560!


With the animal figurines profit, we also accumulated another $500 in Box Tops and this year made a purchase in the name of the school.  We bought not only the heifer we had been working on for so long but ALSO two goats, one water buffalo, a flock of goslings, a flock of chicks and a flock of ducklings bringing our total donation amount to $1060.   This was an amazing feeling for not only myself but for the entire school as we could see that something as simple as clipping boxtops or purchasing a wooden toy could make such a huge difference in the world.

I truly enjoy working with Heifer International and raising money for their cause. They also are very teacher friendly.  They offer a lot of resources on their webpage for educational use.  I received (for free) an entire kit with DVD, book and lesson plans to help introduce and teach their message to my class.  They definitely help make it easy to connect their work with the classroom.

What type of Service Learning Projects do you do?


  1. WOW. I want to share this with my principal!! I love that the service learning projects are clearly made to fit with the standards and the level of the students, and they're all so different!

    My kids did a lemonade stand this year for tornado victims, and they loved the whole experience. This has given me lots of ideas for other projects we could do! Thanks :) I LOVE that your school does this!

    Luckeyfrog's Lilypad

    1. Thanks Jenny! It truly makes a difference - by the time students leave our school they have worked on ten different projects. Many of them later continue to do something for at least one of the projects later on when they are older. Life changing!

  2. Don’t know if you’ll see this. But where did you get the animal figures to make? Love this idea!


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