Serving Senegal

District: Lowell Area Schools           Building: Murray Lake Elementary
Teacher(s): Diane Titche          Main Contact: Diane Titche           Email:
Grade Level: 3rd           Subject(s): Social Studies, ELA, Math
First Trimester:           Second Trimester: x           Third Trimester: x
First Semester:           Second Semester:            All Year:

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Project Overview

Give a brief overview of the project you are planning.

Our third grade class is publicizing and coordinating the collection of art supplies (pencils, crayons, colored pencils, markers, water color paints, and plain white paper) to send to the children of Thies, Senegal in West Africa.


Effective Practice: MEANINGFUL SERVICE

Service learning actively engages participants in meaningful and personally relevant service activities.

What community need will you address and how did you determine the need?

Our class has been videoconferencing with a member of the Peace Corps who is serving in Senegal, West Africa. Through our discussions with her, the students have learned that children in Senegal are not given opportunities to learn to be creative, in or out of school. Children are not encouraged to use their imagination and they are not exposed to the creative thinking/work of others. Most adults in Senegal have never even seen a colored pencil or crayon. The result of this lack of imagination and creativity is a society of adults who do not know how to solve problems when they arise. They either rely exclusively on experts or live with the problem indefinitely.

What service will you provide to address the need?

We will collect crayons, colored pencils, markers, water color paints, pencils, and plain white paper to send to Senegal. These materials will be given to the children of Senegal via Peace Corps volunteers and a local Senegalese artist who will teach the children how to use them.


Effective Practice: LINK TO CURRICULUM

Service learning is intentionally used as an instructional strategy to meet learning goals and/or content standards.

How is this project related to your curriculum?

This project is related to our social studies curriculum in that the students are identifying and addressing a public issue. The project is also directly related to the Character Education goals we set for our students, as well increasing their awareness of diversity (cultural, racial, and economic).

What are the educational goals?

1. Students will interview a Peace Corps volunteer, using questions they write, to learn about the country of Senegal, West Africa.
2. Students will identify a community need and determine ways they can help fulfill that need.
3. Students will collaborate with classmates to develop and carry out a service project to address an identified need in Senegal.
4. Students will gain an increased awareness of economic, cultural, and racial diversity and be introduced to some of the issues that arise related to these diversities.
5. Students will exercise a variety of character traits, particularly citizenship, caring, respect, and responsibility.


Curriculum Crafter Connections


Strand: 03 ELA (Speaking and Listening)
TLW: 17 – Build comprehension through collaborative conversations about grade topics and texts. (Gist: Comprehension and Collaboration)
TLW: 18 – Add a visual or auditory presentation to enhance or to help clarify the knowledge and ideas. (Gist: Presentation of Knowledge and Ideas)

Additional State Standards and Benchmarks

List standards and benchmarks met by this project.

Strand: 03ELA: ( Listening)
TLW: Locate, select, retrieve, and present information on a topic, issue, or problem.

Strand: 00ELA: ( Speaking)
TLW: Convey a spoken message, using defined verbal and nonverbal communication in a one-to-one or group setting.

Strand: 03 MATH: ( Measurement) Using common units of measurement including mixed units.
TLW: Measure length, weight, and capacity; explain the relationships between sizes of standard units; and solve addition and subtraction problems of like measures.

Strand: 03 MATH: ( Data and Probability )
TLW: Construct, read and interpret bar graphs and use information in bar graphs to solve problems.

Strand:  03 SS:  P3.1.1 and 3-P3.3.1: ( Public Discourse, Decision Making, and Citizen Involvement)
TLW: Identify a public policy issue [in Michigan], analyze information to solve it, and present the solution to inform others.

Strand:  03SS:  P4.2.2: (Public Discourse, Decision Making, and Citizen Involvement)
TLW: Participate in projects to help or inform others.


Effective Practice: REFLECTION

Service learning incorporates multiple challenging reflection activities that are ongoing and that prompt deep thinking and analysis about oneself and one’s relationship to society.

What form(s) of reflection will you use with the students to help them identify what they have learned and accomplished?

During the collection period, the students will track the materials collected using bar graphs to evaluate the success of their publicity, and if necessary revise their plan of action.

The students will continue to video conference with the Peace Corps volunteer in Senegal, updating her of their progress in collecting materials, and learning about the planning process taking place in Senegal so they are ready when the supplies arrive there.

The students will view pictures and/or video of the students in Senegal receiving and using the supplies they collected and sent. We will discuss as a class the impact of our efforts on the lives of the students in Senegal.


Effective Practice: DIVERSITY

Service learning promotes understanding of diversity and mutual respect among all participants.

What types of diverse perspectives and experiences will be explored as part of your project?

(i.e.: cultural, generational, abilities/disabilities, learning styles, etc)

Through experiences shared by the Peace Corps volunteer, as well as exploring texts, videos, and Internet sights about Senegal, the students are being introduced to several aspects of diversity including racial (they are learning what it is like to be the only white person in a city), cultural (they are learning how different life is in the city of Thies, Senegal from life in Lowell, Michigan), and economic (they are learning about the lack of resources available to the Senegalese people and how this impacts their standard of living).


Effective Practice: YOUTH VOICE

Service learning provides youth with a strong voice in planning, implementing, and evaluating service learning experiences with guidance from adults.

How will students gain ownership of the project?

This project is the idea of the students, and from its inception, they have been in charge of developing and implementing it (with their teacher providing guidance and facilitating discussions).



Service learning partnerships are collaborative, mutually beneficial, and address community needs.

Who will you partner with for this project?

The United States Peace Corps
A Senegalese artist

How will students benefit from this partnership?

The students are in direct contact with the Peace Corps volunteer via video conferences that take place approximately twice per month. The discussions with the volunteer are guided by the students’ questions along with a focus on the curriculum objectives.

How will the partner benefit from this collaboration?

The efforts of Murray Lake students to send art supplies to Senegal will further the goal of the Peace Corps to develop important problem solving skills among the Senegalese people.

The individual artist who has partnered with the Peace Corps will be able to further his goal of teaching Senegalese students to think and act creatively with the help of the supplies being collected by Murray Lake students.



Service learning engages participants in an ongoing process to assess the quality of implementation and progress toward meeting specified goals, and uses results for improvement and sustainability.

How will you assess the student learning goals?

The development of this project in and of itself is evidence of the learning that has already taken place as a result of our partnership with the Peace Corps volunteer. As we move forward with this project, the students’ continued ownership and investment in seeing it through to successful completion will be the most telling assessment.

How will you assess your service goals?

The feedback we receive from the Peace Corps volunteer and the Senegalese artist, as well as the photos/video we receive from them will allow the students to learn about the impact of their efforts on the students of Senegal.



Service learning has sufficient duration and intensity to address community needs and meet specified outcomes.

How will you prepare students for this experience?

The discussions we have had with the Peace Corps volunteer, as well time spent exploring texts, articles, videos, and Internet sights about Senegal have given the students the background knowledge they need to understand the importance of this project.

Our class discussions, in which the students are sharing their experiences with projects to help others and making plans for this project, are also helping the students gain an understanding of everything involved in carrying out a service project on this level.

What are some sample possible activities students might do as part of this project?

Students are:
1. Planning how to publicize and carry out the collection of the supplies.
2. Planning the timeline for the project from start to finish.
3. Writing informational blurbs to be shared on the school’s morning announcements and put in the principal’s newsletter, and making flyers to be sent home to inform Murray Lake families about the project.
4. Making posters to hang throughout the school reminding Murray Lake students to bring in supplies to donate.
5. Visiting other Murray Lake classrooms to share what they have learned about the lack of creativity in Senegal and explain why their project is important.
6. Keeping track of progress and keeping a list of questions to share with the Peace Corps volunteer in future conversations with her.