Dodging the Cold

District: Grand Rapids Public Schools Building: Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Academy
Teacher(s): Barbara Dodge
Main Contact: Barbara Dodge Email:
Grade Level: 6th – 8th Subject(s): Social Studies, ELA, Math
First Trimester:          Second Trimester:           Third Trimester:
First Semester:           Second Semester:              All Year:   x

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Project Overview

Give a brief overview of the project you are planning.

The service learning project that the teen leaders will commit to is called, “Dodging the Cold”. Students will collect winter clothing to help the homeless who live on our community streets.

The students will learn about the plight of the homeless and collaborate on how to help best meet their needs. The culminating activity will be to visit God’s Kitchen and deliver the totes with winter clothing to the homeless before serving them their meal.


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?

My father used to devote much of his time working with the homeless through the Servant Center. He also devoted a lot of time in my classroom with my students. When he passed away, we wanted to keep his dream alive…..helping the often forgotten citizens of Grand Rapids….. the homeless. We call the project, “ Dodging the Cold “ in honor of my father . We go to God’s Kitchen when the people are arriving for their one meal of the day. While they are waiting in line, we let them choose hats, coats, boots, gloves, hand warmers, etc. (these items are all donated from friends or acquaintances…items that are hanging in closets that are no longer needed) I cannot begin to explain with words what a humbling experience it is. It reminds us to count our blessings and of the importance of being thankful for what we have….don’t sweat the small stuff. It is a joy to meet and talk with them. These people are trying to survive the bitter cold and they maintain such a positive outlook and have an undying faith. They are thankful for the littlest of things….things that we take for granted. The plastic bags and boxes that we transport the items in are prized possessions to them because it is the only way they have to carry their belongings with them while living on the streets.

When we first arrive, there are only a few people standing in line. We place the boxes and bags of clothes outside and the people come swarming from out of nowhere. I don’t know where they come from but, I know they are trying to hide from the bitter cold winds behind buildings, etc. It all happens within minutes because the need to fight the cold is so great for them.

I wish everyone could experience this. The people are so positive. I think the thing I admire most in them is that there is a sense of family and unitedness between them. When they swarm around the clothing and see something that would fit someone in the back of the line, they all pass it back. One man said that his friend hadn’t arrived in line yet, and he wondered if he could have two pairs of gloves so that his friend could have some. He didn’t want to seem greedy.

One woman received a long wool coat and said that she would finally be warm tonight.

Another man, Robert came hobbling up. His shoes are tight and he is in need of a pair of 11 1/2 pair of boots for this winter season. We didn’t have any to give. But we were determined to find some!

Together, we will make a difference.

What service will you provide to address the need?

Clothing items will be collected and purchased in order for teen leaders to create totes with hats, gloves, scarves, socks, hand/feet warmers, and inspirational messages to be passed out to the homeless waiting in line at God’s Kitchen.


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?

In an effort to create a more caring community, our school requires each classroom to take part in a service learning project.

This project focuses on the areas of Public Discourse, Decision Making, and Citizen Involvement to act constructively while furthering the public good.

What are the educational goals?

Students will learn to act constructively to further the public good.

• Students will strengthen cooperative learning techniques (school to work ethic) and learn problem solving techniques that can be used in daily experiences while participating in class discussions, creating action plans, and working together to provide the service.

• Students will increase computer, research and speaking skills while creating their projects. It will also better prepare them for high school expectations. An evaluatory rubric will be in place so that the learner can reflect on expectations and make improvements along the way. They will increase an awareness of interpersonal skills and computer skills by learning the process of creating brochures, fliers, and power point presentations. They will also learn how to write an effective letter of thanks to businesses and individuals who volunteer to help along, with keeping in contact with their pen pals.

• Use data and information collected about a public issue in Michigan and evaluate alternative resolutions to meet the needs. Note taking skills will be taught, writing process reinforced, and learning how to organize information and data effectively in a report will be studied.


Curriculum Crafter Connections

Strand: 03SS: 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. (Gist: Public Issues in Michigan)

Additional State Standards and Benchmarks

List standards and benchmarks met by this project.

P4.2 Citizen Involvement / Act constructively to further the public good.
6 – P4.2.1 Demonstrate knowledge of how, when, and where individuals would plan and conduct activities intended to help others for the public good, report the results, and evaluate effectiveness.
P4.2.3 Participate in projects to help or inform others of the need (e.g., service learning projects).
P4 2.1 Develop and implement an action plan including how, when and where to inform others and actively service the need.
4.2.2 Participate in projects to help inform others.
P3. 1.2 Use data and information collected about a public issue in Michigan and evaluate alternative resolutions to meet the needs
P3.3.1 Compose a paragraph expressing a position on an issue in Michigan and justify the position with reasonable argument.


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?

• Class discussions
• Journal Entries
• Speeches
• Final presentation in power point, poster, or speech form


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)

Cultural and Generational:
• Walking in Another’s Shoes: Speaker: Don Tack from The Servant Center The Plight of the Homeless:
• Why don’t they have homes? (Veterans, mentally ill, poverty, etc.)
• God’s Kitchen Tour

Learning Styles:
• Presentations (auditory)
• Tours and field trips (active participation)
• Research and collection of data ( right and left brain hemisphericity, cooperative learning, and
• Critical thinking)
• Class Discussions ( accountable talk)

• One classroom of 7th graders at KEC Mayfield (a special education school) volunteered to help our students with the project. They are making scarves for the project.


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?

• Small groups will come up with action plans to address the needs.
• Teens will be given a budget and decide how to best use the money to meet the needs of the homeless.
• Small group discussions to create budgets.
• Class discussion to collaborate on findings and finalize budget.
• Students will shop for items needed.
• Students will create totes with inspirational messages.
• Students will deliver totes to the homeless. (per district approval)
• Students will create fliers, posters, and power point presentations to inform others of the plight of the homeless.
• Students will give speeches: Topic What I learned from this project and how I can apply what I learned to my life.



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

Who will you partner with for this project?

The homeless people of Grand Rapids who are serviced at God’s Kitchen.

How will students benefit from this partnership?

Students will learn to act constructively to further the public good.

How will the partner benefit from this collaboration?

Each homeless person will receive a tote with winter clothing.



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?

• Evaluative Rubrics for final projects
• Peer and Teacher feedback from Class discussions
• Pre and Post reflection paper Topic: Did we accomplish our learning goals?
• Speeches

How will you assess your service goals?

• Assessment of Service Goals will be assessed through evaluation forms, and projects
• Our goal is to maintain the program through donations of others. We will assess if we accomplished our goal and how we can further maintain the service in order to continue the project:
• Fund Raising
• Informing Others
• Letters will be written to The Servant Center asking about additional needs.



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

How will you prepare students for this experience?

• Don Tack, founder of The Servant Center will give an informational presentation on the plight of the homeless.
• Tour God’s Kitchen and learn about the facility.
• Research and find data related to the plight of the homeless.
• Watch video clips from the movie, The Pursuit of Happiness. Hold classroom discussions including getting in touch with emotional intelligences and critical thinking skills.

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

• The learner will create pamphlets, fliers, and brochures pertaining to the plight of the homeless and request slightly used donations of winter clothing.
• Plan itemized budget to purchase winter clothing and totes including a shopping list.
• Go to a local store and purchase hats and gloves.
• Create inspirational messages to be placed on totes.
• In small groups, create a final project depicting action plan and what was learned from this experience
• Final project could be in poster form, power point form, or in speech form.
• Field Trip to pass out totes at God’s Kitchen (with district approval)