Food For Thought

District: Grand Rapids Public Schools Building: Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Academy
Teacher(s): Barbara Dodge
Main Contact: Barbara Dodge Email:
Grade Level: 3rd 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.

Students will plan, organize, and pack food for needy families in our schools.

Food For Thought is a program that was created in order to meet the needs of our school family. Children can earn food to be taken home for families. There are many ways families can get the food. It can be earned as an award for good behavior or for accomplishing difficult tasks, it can be earned if the student chooses to do special projects (service learning for the school or individual classrooms). They do have the choice between an extrinsic reward or food for thought items. Also, if a family In need requests food, it will be provided to them.


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?

About a year ago, our classroom was given a donation, I polled the class and told the kids that we needed to think of the best way to use the money so that it would help not just us but, others….pay it forward. I explored their needs, asking what they needed and how we could help. The answer amazed and terrified me at the same time. I am ashamed to say that even though I feel I am very connected to my students, I didn’t realize, almost all of them were going hungry nightly. They communicated their needs. I went out right after school and bought enough groceries so that each child in my classroom would have twenty-five meals to take home with them. We had the bags delivered to the room on seven carts. You should have seen their eyes when they saw all the food. It was really something.

I just have to share some of their thank you letters …they are really powerful.

Shonyah: My eyes popped when I saw all the groceries that you got for us. Thank you for all of the kindness in your heart. Now I won’t be so hungry in the morning and night.

Gladys: Wow! When I saw all that food I knew you had lots of love in your heart. At night I am really hungry so I have to drink lots of water and then I sneak down to try to get food which we don’t have much of. Thanks for giving my family food.

Jmyrea: My mouth watered when I saw all that food. You have a big heart. I usually go to bed hungry but now I won’t because of you. Thank you for being my friend.

Cheri: If I live to be 100 I will never forget all the food you gave us. That was so kind of you. My family is always hungry. They will smile tonight!

The need is even greater this year. We are asking for funds to help replenish the funds so that we can continue to feed our hungry families. A child cannot learn when his/her basic needs aren’t being met.

What service will you provide to address the need?

A small food bank will be created for families in crisis that are in need of food. Students can earn the food through special projects, as rewards, or through requests from families in crisis.


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?

• Health Education
• Mathematical Standards will be adapted when making shopping lists and figuring pricing of objects.
• Self-Selected Reading activities will focus on families in need and grade appropriate informational reading on topic.
• Computer Skills: Creating fliers, banners, and brochures using Microsoft Office.
• Social Studies:
• Public Disclosure, Decision Making, and Citizen Involvement
• Use graphs, data, and internet resources to analyze information about a public issue.
• Compose a paragraph expressing a position on a public issue with a reasonable argument.
• Citizen Involvement:
• Develop and implement an action plan and know, how, when, and where to address or inform others.
• Participate in projects to help inform others.

What are the educational goals?

In an effort to create a more caring community, our school requires each classroom to take part in a service learning project. In an effort to correlate state standards, curriculum and real world experiences the following academic content areas will be included in the service learning project activities.

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?

• Pre and post service learning forms
• Role plays
• Journal writing
• Class discussions
• Final Learning Project: to be presented at KISD (posters, PowerPoint, speeches, etc.)


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:

  • Presentations (auditory)
  • Research and collection of data (right and left brain hemispheric, cooperative learning, and Critical thinking)
  • Class Discussions (accountable talk and critical thinking skills)

    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.

    Students 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 and make healthy food choices for families in need.
    *Class discussion to collaborate on findings and finalize budget. Majority rules as to items that will be purchased and amounts.
    *Students will shop for items needed at local neighborhood stores. (field trip)
    *Students will create totes with inspirational messages.
    *Students will package totes when appropriate.
    *Students will create fliers, posters, and power point presentations to inform others of the service being provided, and to inform other community businesses of the need….donations.
    * 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?

    Our School Families.

    How will students benefit from this partnership?

    The students will have been exposed to a myriad of academic experiences that connect academic content with real life experiences. They will receive a higher level of learning because of the connections.

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

    How will the partner benefit from this collaboration?

    School families in need will receive a tote bag with food for their families


    Effective Practice: PROGRESS MONITORING

    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?

    • Pre and Post Service Learning Forms
    • Reflection paper Topic: What did I learn from this experience?
    • Speeches

    How will you assess your service goals?

    Assessment of Service Goals will be assessed through evaluation forms. We will assess if we accomplished our goal and how we can further maintain the service in order to continue the project.


    Effective Practice: DURATION AND INTENSITY

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

    How will you prepare students for this experience?
    • What is Service Learning? Students will study the reason for service learning and the positive effects it has.
    • Learn about healthy foods, the four food groups, and the food pyramid
    • Learn about the negative effects on young people when they don’t have proper nutrition

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

    • Learn about healthy foods, the four food groups, and the food pyramid
    • The learner will create pamphlets, fliers, and brochures pertaining to the project
    • Plan itemized budget to purchase food including a shopping list.
    • Go to a local store and purchase food.
    • 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 KISD for service learning presentations