Literacy for Life

District: Kentwood Public Schools Building: Crossroads Alternative HS
Teacher(s): Janet Sall Email:
Grade Level: 9-12 Subject(s): Social Studies, ELA
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 Leadership class at Crossroads Alternative High School in Kentwood, MI will be organizing a book drive for Kentwood Public School students in grades K-2. We are hoping to collect enough books for each student at Bowen, Meadowlawn, and Townline Elementary; about 455 books. We plan on implementing this project on March 2, 2011, Read Across America Day, and April 15, 2011 Global Youth Service Day. In the weeks leading up to these specific days, we will collect the books necessary to distribute to the elementary school students by asking for book donations and money from local community organizations so that we can purchase the leftover number of books needed. On Read Across American Day student volunteers will read to whole classrooms, discuss literacy, and distribute books to the elementary students. On Global Youth Service Day Leadership will issue a literacy proclamation and provide literacy materials that fulfill the specific needs of each of the three elementary schools.


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?

Students that struggle with reading by the time they are in second grade struggle throughout their remaining school years, and that’s if they decide not to drop out.

What service will you provide to address the need?

• We will read to 18 elementary classrooms and promote the importance of literacy.
• We will provide books for students to keep and take home to practice reading at home.
• Literacy materials will be granted to elementary schools.


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?

There will be many learning goals that we will meet during this project. We will be gaining an important civic perspective. We will also be writing grants, a web site page, and constructing formal letters, emails, and fliers that will improve our written communication for the standards of our language arts class. In addition, we will be making several telephone calls, personal visits, and reading to the students, all of which will enhance our oral communication.

What are the educational goals?

As a leadership team we will develop teamwork, collaboration, critical thinking, and networking skills with our potential and established community partners. We will be expanding our problem solving skills by identifying our community need and expanding it to how the community can benefit from our help. This project will better prepare us for the workforce, as we establish potential future contacts among the different community organizations.


Curriculum Crafter Connections

Strand: 11-12ELA: Writing

TLW: Write a variety of informative or explanatory text types for different purposes. (Gist: Text Types and Purposes Informative or Explanatory Writing)
TLW: Demonstrate the production and distribution of writing.

Additional State Standards and Benchmarks

List standards and benchmarks met by this project.

Strand: 11-12 ELA: Speaking and Listening
TLW: Add a visual or auditory presentation to enhance or to help clarify the knowledge and ideas.

Strand: 11-12 ELA: Language
TLW: Use the knowledge of language and its conventions when writing, speaking, reading, or listening.

Strand: AG: Civics
TLW: Investigate the meaning of citizenship in the United States of America. (Gist: meaning of Citizenship)


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?

At the end of this project, our Leadership class will create a 1-2 page summary of what we learned from this project. This will be used to help sustain our effort, so that students in following Leadership classes will have a list of all of our contacts, and the methods in which we went about contacting potential partners and local community members. We will also create a portfolio containing all the documents that were create throughout the Literacy for Life project. We will include in it a list of what went well, and ideas for what the students could do differently than what we did.


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)

We will engage a diverse group of volunteers by talking to our fellow students to help spread the word of our project. Because we are reaching out to the entirety of the K-2 grade students in the local elementary schools, we anticipate involving young people who are often not involved in service projects. Also, because the targeted youth will be in the classroom, we will not miss any student who might be in foster care, have refugee status, or have special education or disability status. We will involve every student in those classrooms and grades. Out of 3,762 students in the district’s elementary schools, 57% receive a free lunch and 6% receive a reduced lunch which illustrates their socioeconomic diversity.


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?

This project is the idea of the students, and from its inception, they have been in charge of developing and implementing it (with their teacher providing guidance and facilitating discussions).



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

Who will you partner with for this project?

Community partners: Kentwood Public Schools’ staff, students, Board of Education,, National Education Foundation, Michigan Community Service Commission/Service Learning Youth Council, and Kent District Library.

Service Recipient Partners: Bowen, Meadowlawn, and Townline Elementary Schools

How will students benefit from this partnership?

We believe that these partners will help us greatly to identify our proposed activity because of the knowledge that they can offer us surrounding the problems that our community faces, such as a lack of access to affordable books. These partners will also hopefully help us to implement our proposed activities by providing donations of books, or money to purchase books. The more community partners we talk to the voices we will have to spread the word of the importance of literacy for youth.

How will the partner benefit from this collaboration?

The first and second grade students will all benefit by having older students engage them in reading activities and bringing books to life in their classrooms in an effort to make reading more fun for them. They will also benefit by receiving books they can keep and practice reading at home throughout the summer.



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 assessed on their writing skills demonstrated on their grant applications.

How will you assess your service goals?

While we talk to community members, public officials, and other members of the media; we will keep track of our success. This will include keeping track of the number of people we talk to, the number of books collected, and the number of people who will continue to spread our message. After Read Across America Day, our Leadership class will facilitate a discussion with our community partners surrounding what went well, and what did not go well in order to make changes for Global Youth Service Day. Lastly, we will hold a post-volunteer meeting with volunteers not in our Leadership class discussing their observations on our leadership and what elements of the project we can improve on 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?

Students participated in a Service Learning Youth Council retreat where they formulated the idea for this literacy project. Classroom discussions have focused on literacy and the importance of engaging students with reading at an early age to help ensure academic success. The Leadership group met several times to formulate a plan of action and to gain an understanding of everything involved in carrying out the Literacy for Life project.

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

• Planning how to publicize and carry out the collection of supplies.
• Planning a timeline for the project from start to finish.
• Writing community letter, grant, web page, and flyers.
• Students reporting project to the Board of Education.
• Student will secure and decorate book receptacles.
• Writing a literacy declaration to issue to the elementary schools.
• Acknowledging donors with thank you cards and tax forms.
• Ordering literacy materials