Survive and Thrive

Teacher(s): Jenny Riha
Main Contact: Jenny Riha Email:
Date: 11-10-11 Building: Crestwood Middle School Grade Level: 7
First Trimester: __________ Second Trimester: _________ Third Trimester: _________
First Semester: ___________ Second Semester: ___X______

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Project Overview

Give a brief overview of the project you are planning.

My sixth grade students would coordinate and plan an orientation brochure and video for fifth grade students who will enter our building in the fall.


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?

All fifth grade students must attend an orientation session to middle school. The guidance office, in the past, has asked for student volunteers to help with the orientation. Students who will come to our building will learn what to expect from students who just went through the same experience. This will, hopefully, reduce the anxiety of the fifth graders and their parents!

What service will you provide to address the need?

We will create a brochure and a video that will showcase what students coming to our school can expect and how to prepare for the transition to middle school. Students will also serve as facilitators at orientation and be available to answer questions that the fifth graders might have. This information would be made available on a website that can be accessed at any time.


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 the language arts curriculum in that the students are planning their thoughts, performing research, and presenting material via written and multi-media methods. This project will follow our reading of Hatchet, by Gary Paulsen, which has a theme of survival. My students will take their knowledge of Brian’s survival in the wilderness in the story and apply it to their real lives and interpret it into surviving sixth grade.

What are the educational goals?

1. Students will read Hatchet and focus on the theme of survival.
2. Students will identify tips that they believe incoming fifth graders should know about sixth grade.
3. Students will interview elementary and other middle school students, teachers, principals, and parents to identify questions and worries about middle school.
4. Students will use multi-media methods to create brochures and videos to introduce survival tips to fifth graders. They will plan and implement the presentations from start to finish.


Curriculum Crafter Connections

Strand: 06 ELA: (Speaking and Listening)
TLW: Build comprehension through collaborative conversations about grade 6 topics, texts, and issues. (Gist: Comprehension and Collaboration)

Strand: 06 ELA: (Speaking and Listening)
TLW: 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.

RL.6.2. Determine a theme or central idea of a text and how it is conveyed through particular details.
W.6.2. Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas, concepts, and information through the selection, organization, and analysis of relevant content.
W.6.6. Use technology, including the internet, to produce and publish writing as well as to interact and collaborate with others.
SL.6.1. Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions with diverse partners on grade 6 topics, texts, and issues, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.
SL.6.5. Include multimedia components and visual displays in presentations to clarify information.


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?

Students will be put into collaborative groups in which they will plan and implement each aspect of the project. Each group will elect a group leader who will lead the group in evaluating progress by creating timelines throughout the project.

After completing the survival presentation, students will receive feedback from the fifth grade teachers, school counselor, and the principal and will discuss the process and evaluate the project as a whole, as well as suggest changes for next year.


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)

Students will learn about different learning styles so that they may address various learning styles in their presentation to the fifth grade students. They will also become more aware of students with different abilities and ways that they may need different ideas to survive middle school.


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?

Students will have full control of the project, from meeting with teachers and principals, setting up Skype sessions with fifth graders, and topics for survival. Students will also plan and design printed and multi-media presentations. The teacher will provide guidance and facilitate the project.



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

Who will you partner with for this project?

I will partner with fifth-grade teachers in our district to arrange for Skype sessions between our two classes so my students can identify questions and fears that the fifth graders have about middle school.

How will students benefit from this partnership?

Students will have an understanding of the fifth graders’ worries, which will increase empathy and build relationships that will grow when the fifth graders come to our school.

How will the partner benefit from this collaboration?

The elementary teachers and middle school counselors will be relieved from partial duties of preparing fifth grade students for middle school because the sixth grade students will help. Also, the sixth graders will act as liaisons between fifth graders and the middle school.



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 the project and completing the presentations will be evidence that we have met our learning and content goals.

How will you assess your service goals?

The feedback received from the fifth grade teachers, school counselors, principal, and fifth grade students will allow the students to learn about the impact of their efforts.



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

How will you prepare students for this experience?

Students will read Hatchet, a novel revolving around the theme of survival. We will then read current-day informational text articles about different types of survival, then discuss the ways that we use survival skills on a daily basis. Students will identify the skills that they use and then identify the skills they learned to survive sixth grade. We will also learn about the importance of service learning and the process of planning a large project and presentation.

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

1. Students will learn how to communicate with others by using interview skills via Skype and in person.
2. Students will create a timeline for the project.
3. Students will create brochures and videos about sixth grade survival, which will be presented to fifth graders during middle school orientation.
4. Students will meet with administrators and counselors to plan their participation in orientation activities.



The three arms of sustainability are environmental stewardship, economic growth, and social progress. Think planet, profit, and people.

Describe how your project addresses the issue of sustainability?

This project builds relationships between current and future students at Crestwood Middle School. It provides current sixth graders with a leadership experience that they can carry over into seventh grade.