Giving Greater Than Receiving

District: Lowell Area Schools Building: Alto Elementary
Teacher(s): Mark MacDonald, Barb Schneider, Sarah Fox
Main Contact: Barb Schneider Email:
Grade Level: 5th Subject(s): Social Studies, ELA, Math
First Trimester:           Second Trimester:     X Third Trimester:
First Semester:           Second Semester:           All Year:

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Project Overview

Give a brief overview of the project you are planning.

Students learn about the elderly in our community and the feelings of isolation that can occur among this population and are challenged to make a difference in the lives of some of our senior neighbors.


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?

This project is the result of ideas generated with the students. We engage a class discussion and try to teach the kids about the isolation and disconnect that is felt by many senior citizens. (caution – not too patronizing)

Afterwards, we encourage ideas to bridge the generational gap and we tell them how important it is to serve others in the community. There are benefits for all people who stay connected in our world. This becomes part of a larger lesson on “The Common Good” and character traits which our community holds in high regard.

The Manor has already requested that we continue this civic program.

What service will you provide to address the need?

• Handcrafting personalized holiday greeting cards
• Helping the Schneider Manor Staff distribute fruit baskets, Calendars
• Creating cookies, candies and chocolates to deliver, and…
• Learning Christmas Carols to perform in the community room


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 relates to our curriculum in Social Studies (participate in projects to help and inform others), Math (solve and apply problems with fractions) and Language Arts (using linguistic features and textural features to clearly communicate ideas).

What are the educational goals?

For the students to learn the concepts listed above in a hands-on manner that helps others.


Curriculum Crafter Connections

Strand: 05SS: Public Discourse, Decision making, and Citizen Involvement
TLW: Identify a problem, analyze information to solve it, and present the solution to inform others.

Additional State Standards and Benchmarks

List standards and benchmarks met by this project.

5-P4.2.2 Social Studies: Participate in Projects to help & inform others.
5-P3.2.1 Social Studies: Connections between classroom & the community;

Also: Character Traits, with emphasis on “The Common Good,” qualities which our community holds in high regard.

N.MR.05.19 Math: Solve and apply problems with fractions (measurement)
W.PR.05.03 Language Arts: Using linguistic features and textural features to clearly communicate ideas


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?

After the events, we discuss the impact that student actions have on our senior citizens.

Students reported seeing cheery faces and hearing kind words from the residents. “Man, I didn’t know that giving to seniors could be so much fun!”

“I felt happy inside, knowing that we’d made somebody’s holiday special.”


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)

Most ten year-old children do not have much contact with senior citizens outside their own family. We seek to expand that awareness and connect with other members of the community.


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 are part of the brainstorming sessions to come up with ways to make the seniors feel connected to others in the community. They are given freedom in the design of cards and letters sent. They also have a choice in which Christmas project they would like to help prepare.



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

Who will you partner with for this project?

The Lowell Area Housing- Board of Directors; Residents of Schneider Manor; parents, grandparents and community volunteers

How will students benefit from this partnership?

Our students grow an understanding of community members whom they seldom hear or see. The correspondence between some Schneider Manor residents and our students continued throughout the year.

How will the partner benefit from this collaboration?

This project inspired a Blanket Mission, which continues throughout the year. Some of the residents expressed an interest in teaching students the lost art of knitting. They taught a cadre of 4th and 5th grade students how to knit sections of a future blanket. The women who taught our students tell us often- how grateful they are to have the attention of eager boys and girls.



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?

• Language Arts Instructors will assess the written components of this project.
• Measurements will be checked by volunteers (cooking/baking)
• Social Studies objectives will be part of a class lesson / discussion / planning

How will you assess your service goals?

The feedback from Schneider Manor Residents and our de-briefing with staff will help us to refine our goals for next year!



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

How will you prepare students for this experience?

Beginning in November, we discuss how fortunate we are to live in the Alto Community. We generate a discussion around the theme, “Giving is More Rewarding Than Receiving.”

The first week of December is spent contacting each resident, informing them of our planned get-together.

We work with Jody H… to arrange the details of our December 19th celebration.

Students learn and practice holiday music to entertain in the community center. Music sheets are provided for our seniors to participate.

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

This visit to Schneider Manor becomes our holiday celebration, rather than a common, (unrewarding) gift exchange. During this visit students perform holiday songs for the residents, deliver gift baskets, and share treats with the seniors.

Thank-you notes are composed by the students to all of the volunteers, bus drivers and cooks.