Help A Willing Kid

Student(s): Kristen Luedtke, Alex Nowicki, Marne Choate, Mary Northfell, Kim Mitchell, Torie Agne, Carly McElreath, Payton McFall
Date:  2/19/13          Grade Level: Elementary – 5th Grade
Instructor:  Carla Stone                Email:
Teaching Assistant:  Bella Tirtowalujo        Email:

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Name of Project: “Help a Willing Kid”

Project Overview

Give a brief overview of the project you are planning.

We will pair the students in our classroom with the children who participate in the H.A.W.K program by giving each of them a pen pal (as similar to them in age as possible) that they will communicate with regularly throughout the year.  Through these letters, both sets of children will be able to form a meaningful relationship as well as discover the ways in which the children in our classroom can help the children at H.A.W.K by the way of “life supplies” (e.g., shampoo, soap, clothing, books, school supplies, food, etc.)  During the year, the children will organize a drive to collect these items which will be donated to the H.A.W.K.  program in addition to finding other ways to help.


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 are addressing the issues of poverty and a lack of support from both families and educational services.  This need was determined by meeting with the leader of H.A.W.K. who organizes this program and other efforts for the children who fit this need.  He was able to explain their needs and ways the children could help.

 What service will you provide to address the need?

We will provide both sets of children with the improvement of writing and reading skills through the pen pal program in addition to creating a feeling of support and building relationships.  The children in our classroom will host a “drive” where all of the items they’ve collected will be donated to the H.A.W.K. organization.


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?

We are targeting the areas of literacy (reading and writing) with the pen pal system.  In addition, we will focus on pieces of curriculum standards that include the following: math through graph work and money management; technology through the use of computers both for graphing purposes and instruction of use with their pen pal buddies; social studies as we focus on trends in poverty over the years in both the Lansing area and around the world; fine arts through the creation of posters and other forms of advertisement; and physical education through learning the sport of boxing, a skill the children at H.A.W.K perform well.

What are the educational goals? 
Students will learn to build meaningful and supportive relationships while improving their literacy skills through regular communication with the H.A.W.K students. They will also focus on the issue of poverty and ways they can help improve the lives of others living in such a situation.


Curriculum Crafter Connections

Strand: 05 ELA: (Writing)
TLW: Write routinely over extended time frames, for a range of discipline-specific tasks, purposes, and audiences. (Gist: Range of Writing)

Strand: 05SS: (Public Discourse, Decision Making, and Citizen Involvement)
TLW: Identify a problem, analyze information to solve it, and present the solution to inform others.  (Gist: Solving Public Problems)

Additional State Standards and Benchmarks

List standards and benchmarks met by this project.


  • R.WS.05.02: Use structural, syntactic, and semantic cues including letter-sound, rimes, base words, affixes, and syllabication to automatically read frequently encountered words, decode unknown words, and decide meanings including multiple meaning words.
  • R.WS.05.03: Automatically recognize frequently encountered words in print with the number of words that can be read fluently increasing steadily across the school year.
  • R.WS.05.05: Acquire and apply strategies to identify unknown words or word parts, and construct meaning by analyzing derivatives, defining meanings of affixes, and applying knowledge of word origins.
  • W.PR.05.03 : Draft focused ideas using linguistic structures and textual features needed to clearly communicate information composing coherent, mechanically sound paragraphs when writing compositions.
  • W.PR.05.04: Revise drafts based on constructive and specific oral and written responses to writing by identifying sections of the piece to improve organization and flow of ideas (e.g., position/evidence organizational pattern, craft such as titles, leads, endings, and powerful verbs).
  • W.PR.05.05: Proofread and edit writing using grade-level checklists and other appropriate resources both individually and in groups.
  • W.GR.05.01: In the context of writing, correctly use compound subjects and predicates; proper nouns and pronouns; articles; conjunctions; hyphens in compound and number words; commas between two independent clauses to set off direct address, long phrases, clauses; colons to separate hours and minutes and to introduce a list.
  • W.SP.05.01: In the context of writing, correctly spell frequently encountered words (e.g., roots, inflections, prefixes, suffixes, multi-syllabic); for less frequently encountered words, use structural cues (e.g., letter/sound, rime, morphemic) and environmental sources (e.g., word walls, word lists, dictionaries, spell checkers).
  • W.HW.05.01: Write neat and legible compositions.
  • W.AT.05.01: Be enthusiastic about writing and learning to write.
  • S.DS.05.01: Engage in interactive, extended discourse to socially construct meaning in book clubs, literature circles, partnerships, or other conversation protocols.

  • 5 – P3.1.1: Identify contemporary public issues related to the United States Constitution and their related factual, definitional, and ethical questions.
  • 5 – P3.1.2: Use graphic data and other sources to analyze information about a contemporary public issue related to the United States Constitution and evaluate alternative resolutions.
  • 5 – P3.1.3: Give examples of how conflicts over core democratic values lead people to differ on contemporary constitutional issues in the United States.
  • 5 – P3.3.1 : Compose a short essay expressing a position on a contemporary public policy issue related to the Constitution and justify the position with a reasoned argument.
  • 5 – P4.2.1: Develop and implement an action plan and know how, when, and where to address or inform others about a public issue.
  • 5 – P4.2.2 : Participate in projects to help or inform others.


  • D.AN.05.03 : Given a set of data, find and interpret the mean (using the concept of fair share) and mode. Given a set of data, find and interpret the mean (using the concept of fair share) and mode.
  • D.AN.05.04 : Solve multi-step problems involving means.
  • D.RE.05.01 : Read and interpret line graphs, and solve problems based on line graphs, e.g., distance-time graphs, and problems with two or three line graphs on same axes, comparing different data.
  • D.RE.05.02 : Construct line graphs from tables of data; include axis labels and scale.


  • 1.1: Describe the essential nutrients the body needs to stay healthy.
  • 1.2 : Describe guidelines to follow for healthy eating.
  • 1.4 : Explain the importance of choosing water rather than other beverages for the purpose of keeping the body hydrated
  • 1.7 Plan a meal using specific criteria such as fat, carbohydrates, fibers, calcium and calorie content of foods.
  • 3.1 : Explain the importance of respecting personal space and boundaries
  • 3.2 : Describe the characteristics of appropriate and inappropriate touch.
  • 3.6 : Analyze situations to predict safety hazards when home alone and in public places.
  • 3.9 : Develop a plan to stay safe when home alone and in public places
  • 4.14 : Advocate for a caring school environment.


  • K.PA.05.01 : explain the effects and benefits of physical activity.
  • K.AN.05.01 : describe effects that physical activity and nutrition have on the body (e.g., food as fuel; helps build and maintain bones, muscles, and joints; reduces feelings of depression and anxiety; reduces risk of some chronic diseases; provides nutrients vital for health and maintenance of body; reduces risk of low bone mass).
  • K.PS.05.01 : distinguish between key behaviors which exemplify each of the personal/social character traits of responsibility, best effort, cooperation and compassion in controlled setting.
  • K.PS.05.02 : distinguish between key behaviors which exemplify each of the personal/social character traits of constructive competition, initiative, and leadership in controlled settings.
  • K.RP.05.01 : Identify positive feelings associated with regular participation in physical activities in a controlled setting.
  • K.RP.05.01 : Describe the need to practice skills for which improvement is needed in controlled settings.
  • K.SB.05.01 : identify benefits of social interaction as part of participation in physical activities in controlled settings.
  • K.ID.05.01 : choose to participate with students of varying skill and fitness levels in dynamic settings.
  • K.ID.05.03 : choose to participate with students of varying skill and fitness levels in controlled settings.
  • K.FE.05.01 : identify emotions related to how individuals feel while regularly participating in physical activity.


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 students will participate in a couple of reflection activities.  They will create a “scrapbook” which includes their favorite memories related to their pen pals throughout the year as well as copies of their letters to see how they’ve improved.  The scrapbook will also contain a short reflection essay in which they can state what they liked and didn’t like about the project as well as the things they’ve learned.  If they choose to raise the money to do so, they will donate a book to their pen pal at H.A.W.K, and inside will write their final letters to them.  Finally, at the end of the year the children will throw a celebration party where both sets of students can discuss the things they’ve learned and have the opportunity to meet their pen pals.


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.)

Many diverse experiences will take place during our service project. Our students come from all different backgrounds and each student will be paired with another student of a completely different background that is involved in the HAWK program. The students will be writing letters that will contain certain topics about their pen pal’s lives that are different from their own life. This will create diversity but also show it is okay to be different. Other diversities will depend on the students that are involved in the service learning project. The students could possibly have a diversity of learning abilities. Some of the students will have different abilities with their writing and reading skills. With the help of Pen Pals, the student’s writing skills will hopefully improve. Students will start to feel more confident in their writing and reading skills. We want our students to be introduced to diversity so that it becomes more familiar and comfortable each time they encounter it. This service learning project will allow students to gain multiple different perspectives.


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?

The students will be writing their own pen pals each week and at the end they will be writing a reflection or be making a scrapbook of the experience they have gone through while working with their pen pals from HAWK. By doing a reflection at the end of the project, they are taking ownership for what they did to contribute to this project. Also, anything they can add or ideas they come up along the way would be great. Having their own journals they could write in each day as their own mini reflection is a way they can throw new ideas out to the class and take ownership for more ways to serve the HAWK foundation.

The students can continue to add on to the project when we are finished and they can keep the service learning going and make their own group going as like what we are doing now(depending on their age group).



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

Who will you partner with for this project?

We would like to partner with The Help A Willing Kid Foundation (H.A.W.K.). This is a foundation that stresses on the needs of children ranging in age from 6-18. These kids are all kids who have a difficult situation at home and who need extra assistance with their living situation. H.A.W.K. helps to provide a welcoming environment for these kids who need it.

How will students benefit from this partnership?

The students will benefit from this partnership because they will be able to see how other people live instead of just having first-hand knowledge about their background situations. We would probably set it up for the students to do some type of pen pal activity and then in the end do a comparison between cultures and allow the students to meet each other. On the side, we would stress that there are many people who have hard situations at home and that we are very lucky to be where we are.

How will the partner benefit from this collaboration?

The partner will benefit from the collaboration because they will be able to make a new friend in the process and realize that there are people out there for care for them.


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?

Students will compile a “scrapbook” which will contain copies of all their pen pal letters which we will use to assess their writing improvements by the means of structure, length, grammar and neatness.  We will also have short quizzes after learning new content in relation to math or social studies to check their competency levels.

How will you assess your service goals?

Service goals will be assessed through tracking the materials and items that have been collected for the H.A.W.K students in comparison to their level of need.  If possible, this project will be continued or expanded to other classrooms to provide further aide.



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

How will you prepare students for this experience?  What are some sample possible activities students might do as part of this project?

The duration of our service learning project plays an important role and its length will determine how much the students will take from the experience. It is important that we pick a timeframe that will allow ample time for the students to efficiently and effectively move through the Five Stages of Service Learning- investigation, preparation and planning, action, reflection, and demonstration. One of our main goals is for our students to develop long-term meaningful relationships with their pen pals where they will develop a support system for each other. Relationships like that do not happen quickly. It will take time for the students and the children at HAWK to form trust and to get to know each other on a deeper level. Fundraising and collecting “life supplies” for HAWK will take time as well. In order for this to happen, we think the service learning project should be a yearlong commitment. The intensity will vary depending on the stage we are in. For example, the planning of the supply drive will be a time of high intensity. The students need to be aware that this project is a commitment and the letters are their responsibility.



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 promotes sustainability in many aspects. By tutoring and by motivating inner city teenagers, we are trying to ensure that they will graduate. In order to grow economically, degrees need to be earned and by supporting them it should pay off in the long run with economic growth and social progress. We are also trying to raise money for the center and give donations in order to ensure that H.A.W.K. has enough resources to be sustainable itself.  This center helps many children within the Lansing area and by trying to tell others about the organization and getting more people aware about the organization it can help Lansing’s social progress. The center does not allow students who are violent to participate; they need to be positive students who will not harm others. This motivates the children to be better people, reducing crime in teens and motivating them to be better people also helps Lansing’s social progress.