Friendship Across Generations

Student(s): Jessica Chartier, Jaclyn Botsford, Sarah Richard , Alex DiTrapani, John Congdon
Mentor Teacher: Tammy Polena
Grade Level: 4th Grade Subjects: ELA, Social Studies
MSU Instructor: Kim Keglovitz Email:

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Pen Pal friendship/Companionship

Type of Service

Direct Service

Point of Entry

From a theme or unit of study (Elders and English)

Project Overview

Give a brief overview of the project you are planning.
Children get an elder pen pal and write letters to them. At the end of the project they will create small gifts for their pen pal at the nursing home. A scrapbook will be created as a reflection of the project.

Rationale & Goal

State the goal of your SL project.
To provide friendship and connections with elders while practicing English and writing skills along with communication across generations.


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 need we addressed was friendship and connections across generations with elders who feel alone in the nursing home. We determined the need by searching through the guided service learning book.

What service will you provide to address the need?

The service we will provide is companionship and friendship with the elders through letters and meeting times.


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?

This project relates to reading and writing.

What are the educational goals?

The goal is to get students to practice writing which is directed for someone else to read, also students will learn how to address letters and communicate through writing.


Curriculum Crafter Connections

Strand: 04SS: (Public Discourse, Decision Making, and Citizen Involvement )
TLW: Identify a public policy issue in the U.S., analyze information to solve it, and present the solution to inform others. (Gist: Solving Public Problems)

Strand: 04 ELA: (Speaking and Listening)
TLW: Build comprehension through collaborative conversations about grade 4 topics and texts.  (Gist: Comprehension and Collaboration)


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?

Students will use writing skills and illustration to generate a classroom scrapbook. This scrapbook will contain student’s favorite memories and discussions with their pen pal. After the scrapbook is complete there will be a class discussion about the project


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 be exploring the difference between generations. Students will learn about these elder’s lives and make connections to how things are different or similar to their lives as children.


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 are responsible for determining what they choose to write about and discuss with their pen pals.



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

Who will you partner with for this project?

We will be partnering with the Birchum Hills Nursing Home.

How will students benefit from this partnership?

Students will be practicing their writing skills while creating ties between generations.

How will the partner benefit from this collaboration?

The Elders at the nursing home will have the opportunity to gain friendship with a child who will hopefully uplift their spirits.



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?

The teacher will review each student’s letter before dropping them off at the home. Students will also be assessed by having a teacher/student discussion about each student’s experience with their pen pal.

How will you assess your service goals?

The teacher will review each student’s letter before dropping them off at the home. Students will also be assessed by having a teacher/student discussion about each student’s experience with their pen pal.



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

How will you prepare students for this experience?

We used guided questions to get students to come up with the idea. We share a book with the students to prepare them for proper etiquette while speaking with the elders.

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

• Brainstorm problems in the community
• Brainstorm problems that affect families
• Brainstorm problems that affect the elderly
• Practice the art of conversation/asking questions
• Learn proper etiquette when visiting a nursing home
• Meet with elderly in nursing home and establish relationship
• Learn to write friendly letters, and write them to elderly pen pals
• Learn proper way to address envelopes



The three arms of sustainability are environmental stewardship, economic growth, and social progress. Think planet, profit, and people.

Describe how your project addresses the issue of sustainability?

Our project addresses the issue of sustainability through social progress by creating connection and companionship across generations.