Freshman Service Learning

District: Lowell Area Schools Building: Lowell High School
Teacher(s): Kim Griffith, Phil Beachler, James Christians, Tosha Duczkowski-Oxley, Jennifer Harlow, Tricia Miller, Amanda Blythe, Russ Stevens, Amanita Fahrni
Main Contact: Kim Griffith Email:
Grade Level: 9th Subject(s): ELA, Math, Science, Soc Studies
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.

The entire staff of Lowell’s Freshman Center works collaboratively with students to plan a grade-wide service learning experience. This is a two day (overnight) trip that takes place mid-late May. Approximately 270 students and 50-60 adult chaperones go to a camp to work on multiple projects needed to prepare the camp for the summer campers. While there, students will also have the opportunity to participate in team building and character building exercises, academic activities and individual/group reflection.


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?

• We feel as a staff that Academic Service Learning is necessary to help successfully implement character values in our students.
• Camp Blodgett helps provide economically disadvantaged and physically challenged youth with a safe place to explore their strengths and weaknesses, as well as grow in confidence, self-esteem, and friendship.
• This experience will help our students become well-rounded contributing members of their community.

What service will you provide to address the need?

• We will be assisting directors of the camp in on-going seasonal projects and revitalization of existing structures. Sitting down and deciding on new and exciting projects to help in the overall growth of the camp has helped motivated us and consequently our students.
• Our labor hours with this project will save the camp money and time to that they can spend valuable time and energy on providing meaningful experiences for individuals with social, financial, and physical needs


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?

Hopefully, through this project, we can help answer the question, “When are we going to use this?”
• English: Making connections to thematic units (self-awareness, Peer-awareness, and community awareness), and how these relate to real life experiences.
• Math: Many projects ask our students to find area, volume, and perimeter. We use these types of measurements in class almost everyday, but now the students are seeing the value of understanding and applying these to real life. Using Geometry and Algebra to find slope and angle measurements when constructing ramps or devices for individuals with disabilities are just a couple of examples of this.
• Social Studies: Students have the opportunity to see how helping one’s community plays a role in developing better sense of civic responsibility and pride. Economics and geography are also addressed.
• Science: Planting and pruning dune grass helps students understand the value of preserving nature.

What are the educational goals?

• Focus on developing the “whole” student.
• Focus on “affective” behavior and character building.
• Build stronger peer relationships.
• Helps students apply classroom knowledge outside the classroom.


Curriculum Crafter Connections


Strand: 09ELA (Writing, Speaking, and Expressing)
TLW: Investigate a community issue, using multiple resources and design an authentic project to promote social action. (Gist: Community Issues and Social Action)

Additional State Standards and Benchmarks

List standards and benchmarks met by this project.

Strand: 09-10 ELA: Reading Literature
TLW: Utilize key ideas and details when reading literature

Strand: Geometry: Geometric Measurement and Dimension
TLW: Explain volume formulas and use them to solve problems


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?

• Each student group will be given the opportunity to represent their Service Learning experience visually on a canvas. These will join the previous year’s students’ canvases which are displayed throughout the Freshman Center
• In depth discussions will be done within our classrooms upon returning to school.
• Students, chaperones, and project leaders will fill out surveys evaluating the experience.
• Students will be writing in their English classes describing their experiences.
• Students and staff will be writing thank-you letters to volunteers.


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 through literature, presentations, and site visits the struggles that face disadvantaged youth with a focus on the populations served by Camp Blodgett.


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 were given the opportunity to select areas of project interest.
• During MME week students were given more detailed information regarding their specific projects. They then brainstormed materials and supplies lists, created team names and images to represent their group.
• Students will be able to assist project leaders in project ownership.



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

Who will you partner with for this project?

Camp Blodgett in West Olive

How will students benefit from this partnership?

Students will gain a sense of responsibility and accomplishment.

How will the partner benefit from this collaboration?

Our labor hours with this project will save the camp money and time to that they can spend valuable time and energy on providing meaningful experiences for individuals with social, financial, and physical needs.



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?

• Students will be given a survey at the end of the experience to see how they were affected by the work done.
• We can evaluate student motivation and engagement throughout the remainder of the school year to look for a general improvement.

How will you assess your service goals?

We will have a follow-up meeting with Camp Blodgett staff to discuss achievement of goals and improvements 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?

• We have a parent meeting to discuss important details of projects and address any parental questions or concerns.
• We recruit parent volunteers to help with chaperoning, project leadership, providing materials, and preparing and providing food.
• Teachers have met with camp directors to solidify the specific details of the projects.
• Each teacher has been assigned three groups of approximately 10 students per group to oversee and guide through the planning process and on site project completion.
• During MME week, teachers meet with student groups to generate interest and ownership in the various projects.
• The Freshman Center webpage contains updated links to applicable Service Learning documents. We have communicated with parents via mail, email, and through the students.

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

Students will work on multiple projects over two days (one overnight), including: constructing new outdoor structures, clearing trails, painting and repairing existing structures, developing orienteering courses and installing an irrigation system.

While at the camp, students will have the opportunity to participate in team building and character building exercises, academic activities and individual/group reflection.

Students will gain a sense of responsibility and accomplishment.