One Book, One School, One Community

District: Lowell Area Schools Building: Cherry Creek Elementary
Teacher(s): Entire School
Main Contact: Kim Lum Email:
Grade Level: 2nd – 5th Subject(s): ELA, Science
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.

We would like to do our third annual one book + one school = one community with the theme Cherry Creek Champs – Earth Defenders. The book we have selected is written from the point of view of a young girl whose school is going green. Throughout the story, Just Grace Saves the Planet, the reader learns many easy-to-achieve ways to conserve, reduce and reuse. This theme is written about in a style that is easy to follow and would certainly guide our school families to have conversations about how to make deliberate changes to defend our earth. In this time of tighten economics, the message from this book could be a source of encouragement to families in how to enjoy reducing, reusing and recycling. A magician will present an environmental theme program to all the students and staff of our school to begin this project. At school students would have many opportunities to share their Earth Defender knowledge through research about being green and helping the environment. Students would be given the opportunity to design a grocery bag that would be available for purchase with proceeds going to an environmental cause. Classrooms would create sculptures with objects during art class. Families would be invited to create an invention and write up a display for our school learning celebration. Cross grade level competitions would take place to encourage all to be better stewards of our resources by comparing waste from cold lunches. Garlic mustard would be pulled from our Nature’s Place and our entire school would participate in the Kent County Recycle Challenge.


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?

The Lowell Community needs citizens that are literate and enjoy learning and thinking. Our school has been identified as a Title I school through the federal government. This indicates the need for our school families to have many opportunities to be engaged in literacy activities. The MEAP test scores have also shown that our students need to become better communicators through written expression. Also by involving all families and all students to participate, the need for all students to achieve will be encouraged through group activities.

Each day we receive information from many scientific sources communicating the continuing need for all of us to reduce our consumption of non-renewable resources. By teaching our children about the consequences of their choices, we can help them to reduce the long-term effect on our environment. This will also be a learning experience for all people involved; families, staff and students.

What service will you provide to address the need?

All Cherry Creek families will be invited to borrow a copy of “Just Grace Saves the Planet” by Charise Mercile Harper during March is Reading Month. They will receive a reading guide with a list of ways to share this book as a family read aloud, discussing and using new vocabulary, and building comprehension skills by predicting and confirm ideas while reading.

Students will be learning the many ways their every day choices effect the environment. This learning will have impact on the amount of trash disposed of during our lunch hour due to packaging of our lunches from home as well as the amount of waste from kids taking too much in the food service line.

Families will be asked to create a “diary” detailing changes they have made to become Earth Defenders. These ideas will be displayed throughout the month as a way to encourage others.

Students would design and decorate reusable grocery bags to be sold with profits going to a local environmental cause.

We would host a book sway/exchange so families could have new to them reading materials. Each book brought to the swap would provide that family with a ticket for choosing a different book to take as their own.

Families would learn the effect of using “those curly” compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFL) in place of incandescent bulbs through a relationship with Lowell Light and Power. This could have an ongoing effect as families continue to change their habits saving energy and pennies a little at a 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?

It will provide motivation for students to practice effective reading strategies with their families. They will also have time to learn a life skill of reading for enjoyment.

Each grade level has Michigan Grade Level Content Expectations that require learning about the environment, energy and conservation. These social studies and science objectives will be met by relating the content of this all-school book to the specifics of the grade level curriculum.

What are the educational goals?

We want our students and their families to develop a life long desire to read. Using different genres allows our school families to experience variety in the types of books.

The character traits of responsibility and respect will be enhanced by having students learn about the power of their individual choices in addition to the choices their families can choose to help save our planet.

As students gather new ideas and then formulate them into a display or product, they are will be reaching a higher level of knowledge to design and create a display or product that engages an audience to share in their newly acquired learning.


Curriculum Crafter Connections

Strand: 02 ELA, 03ELA, 04ELA, 05ELA: Reading Foundational Skills
TLW: Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension. (Gist: Fluency)

Additional State Standards and Benchmarks

List standards and benchmarks met by this project.

Strand: 03SCI: Life Science
TLW: Identify and classify renewable and non renewable natural resources and describe the human impact on the environment.

Strand: 04SCI: Science Processes
TLW: Demonstrate an understanding that scientific inquiry and reasoning involves observing, questioning, investigating, recording, and developing solutions to problems by estimating and measuring weight, mass and volume. (Gist: Estimation and Measurement)

Strand: 04SCI: Life Science
TLW: Explain how variations in physical characteristics can give organisms an advantage and how environmental changes can produce changes in food webs. (Gist: Adaptations and Food Webs)


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?

The amount of time students spend reading prior to March can be measured using the Accelerated Reader data. Then this information can be gathered for just the month of March as a comparison. It is expected that the amount of time students spend reading will increase during March.

Cherry Creek families will be invited to invent a new device to help them do a task. This would give families a way to reflect on newly gained knowledge from reading “Just Grace Saves the Planet” to help them in their pursuit of becoming Earth Defenders.

Using the district tech resources, a group of upper grade students could create a pre and post survey to measure student and their family attitudes about being green. This survey could be developed on the computer and then students could complete it on the computer with the data displayed for all read and reflect.

Wednesday, March 17 could be designated as our all school GREEN DAY. This could be a day that we target to vastly reduce the amount of trash after establishing baseline information from the first two weeks of March.


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)

Learning Styles After our families learn more about how to go green, they can choose a variety of ways to share their learning with a family project. This might be a song, poem, invention creation, mobile, model, skit, etc.

Students will be sharing newly learned vocabulary and it will be displayed in our school providing opportunity for conversations as classes walk through the halls.

Classrooms will create visual displays from treasures during their art class work. These sculptures will be presented at our May 6 learning celebration

Individual classes will complete research projects on topics related to their curriculum. These will be presented using a variety of media including power point, recorded choral readings, display boards, models, etc. These would also be displayed at our learning celebration on May 6.

We are still exploring the possibility of connecting with a group to learn to sew and make our own lunch bags from fabric.


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?

Cross grade level groups could go out together for the Garlic Mustard Pull after instruction from our resident expert, Wendy Kapolka.

A different classroom would be responsible for counting and posting the amount of materials brought in each day for the Kent County Recycling Challenge. These students would also make announcements on the intercom practicing their speaking skills.

Our weekly school newsletter could have a Green Tip section with writings submitted by Earth Defenders. There could be container for students to submit ideas from their families and research to share with the school. These could be compiled by a special focus group and shared on the intercom as well as in our school newsletter.



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

Who will you partner with for this project?

We will partner with our Cherry Creek families, Meggan Johnson from the Wittenbach/Wege Center, Jim White – Lowell Area Schools Energy Czar, and Lowell Light and Power.

How will students benefit from this partnership?

Our students will gain by increasing the focus on literacy in their homes and by learning to be Earth Defenders for life.

How will the partner benefit from this collaboration?

Our families will benefit by becoming more involved in the learning of their children and school community. The efforts of Meggan Johnson and Jim White will be increased through this partnership by having more citizens aware of their abilities to improve our environment by knowing the power of their choices.



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?

Reading data from the Accelerated Reader program would be an indicator as to the increase in reading levels. We can compare beginning of the school year – month by month to the specific month of March.

Family involvement will be measured by the number of responses received for our various displays including inventions, conservation diaries, and vocabulary ideas for our display board.

How will you assess your service goals?

A pre and post check list of family habits about conserving energy would be used to understand family habits and their changes from the beginning to the end of this project.

Our involvement in the Kent County Recycle Challenge would be another indicator of effect for the service portion of this project. Also changes in the amount of trash in our lunch program would be a measurement of effectiveness of our service goals.



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

How will you prepare students for this experience?

We will send a letter to invite families to join us for this project by signing up to commit to participate in this all school activity. We will have kick off by having a magician present a motivational presentation to the entire school.

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

Some possible outcomes might include researching about changes to the environment and the effect on the animals; gathering data about the amount of trash in our cold lunches and having grade levels take charge to develop recycling of more parts of our lunches, creating sculptures, designing reusable grocery bags, pulling garlic mustard, the Kent County Recycle Challenge, Green Day at Cherry Creek – March 17, writing and presenting on the intercom, etc.