Creating Valuable Service Learning Experiences for your Students that lead to Big Impact

Welcome to Project Stella Resources!

We provide you with tips and curriculum that you can use in the classroom and when working with youth so you are confident that you are making a difference in the lives of your students.

Part of the Schools that Radiate Outrageous Compassion & Kindness (Schools that R.O.C.K.) program is service-learning. Service learning combines the academic work and meeting standards with the benefits of community service and volunteerism.

In this post, I outline the components of planning a service learning project so that you are meeting all the criteria of a valuable learning experience that students will remember and benefit from. This provides you with the basics of what is included in each Service Learning lesson plan with the Schools that R.O.C.K. program.

New here? I also have the following blog posts to help raise kids who R.O.C.K.

5 Reasons you need to start a Kindness Club at your school or in your community today

5 Things you can do today to stop bullying in your classroom

5 Awesome Ways your school can R.O.C.K. with students who Radiate Outrageous Compassion & Kindness

25 items to have in your home or classroom to inspire kids to Radiate Outrageous Compassion & Kindness

3 Classroom Management tips that encourage students to be kind

Top 12 Book Recommendations from Moms who R.O.C.K

Creating a Service Learning Project: It’s more than Volunteering

I LOVE working with students and doing community service.  Encouraging them to be kind and find ways to make it happen brings me a lot of joy. 

BUT… it is important to know that SERVICE LEARNING is not community service. Yes, they are similar in some ways, but going out to collect can food items to donate to a local food pantry is wonderful BUT it is not service learning.  

It can be one part of a service learning experience.

There are several pieces of service learning and I will discuss those below.

Service Learning Project Piece #1 – PreReflection

After giving your students some very basic information about their upcoming project have them think about the following questions…

  • What are we going to be doing for our project?
  • Why are we doing it?
  • What am I going to get from the experience? Will I learn something beneficial? Will I help someone in the community?
  • How do I feel about this project? Am I excited? Nervous? Anxious about stepping out of my comfort zone?

Student should record their PreReflection so they can refer to it at the end of the project. This could be an open ended journal question or a series of short answers to writing prompts.

Service Learning Project Piece #2 – Research/Reading

This is the piece that takes place in the classroom or assigned as independent/group work.  Students are learning about a theory, reading about an issue, and working towards certain learning outcomes established.  

  • Students could be reading in book that discusses social themes
  • Students could be learning a theory that needs to be explored more
  • Student could be taking information from a class lecture that needs to be applied to the real world so they gain experience

Service Learning Project Piece #3 – Project

This is where students apply what they learned in the classroom through a practical experience that also benefits the community, brings awareness to an issue, or supports a service.  On it’s own this would be the community service project or the volunteer opportunity.

Different idea for projects

  • Creating a collection drive to meet a need in the community
  • Helping younger kids in another classroom
  • Working in a community garden
  • Pairing up with members in the community to record and share stories

In a future series, I will provide specific ideas. Through the Schools that R.O.C.K. program you also are able to download lesson plans.

Service Learning Project Piece #4 -Presentation

This is when students report back to the class or to an audience about what was accomplished. It is the result of melding the research with the hands on experience.

Presentations styles could include

  • Making a poster
  • Giving a speech
  • Showing a slide show
  • Creating a skit

Service Learning Project Piece #5 – Reflection

Provide an opportunity for students to think about what they originally thought about the issue, the theory, or the project and see if what they thought before actually happened.

Questions could include

  • What was your biggest challenge in this project? 
  • Did you have teammates you worked with?
  • What surprised you the most?
  • Is this an issue you feel passionate about? Why or why not?
  • If you had to do this project again – what would you do differently?

Service Learning Project Piece #6 – Assessment

As a teacher, this is how you grade or give credit for the project.  The best way to give credit is to have a rubric established when you first developed the project.  

The Rubric could include

  • Were learning outcomes met?
  • Did the students meet all participation requirements?
  • Were there challenges that students overcame?
  • Was there growth in reflection?
  • Did students work as a team and did they evaluate each other?


3 responses to “Creating Valuable Service Learning Experiences for your Students that lead to Big Impact”

  1. […] Creating Valuable Service Learning Opportunities for your Students that create big impact […]

  2. […] Creating Valuable Service Learning Opportunities for your Students that create big impact […]

  3. […] Creating Valuable Service Learning Opportunities for your Students that create big impact […]

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: