By Barbara Gruener
Service learning takes students well past merely performing a service by allowing them ownership in the process and reflection once it’s complete. That’s why we at Westwood Elementary have tried to include all students at all grade levels in service learning projects that tie in with The Six Pillars and connect to our academic standards.
When we polled our students about whom they wanted to help, animals clearly led the pack. Westwood teacher Carolyn Lowe and I collaborated with New Jersey kindergarten teacher Michelle Maruca to create a plan for a service-learning Pet Project. This project will enrich students’ study of living organisms as well as help students become responsible pet owners, understand animal needs, and assist the animal population in our area.
* Check out the full lesson plan and extension ideas.
* Check out our other service-oriented lesson plans.
* Read this article from nj.com about a great service-learning project in Hamilton, New Jersey. Just before Christmas, Kindergarteners at Lalor Elementary School collected dog and cat food, treats, blankets, towels, paper towels, mats, food and water bowls for a local animal shelter.
Barbara Gruener is a school counselor at Westwood Elementary in Friendswood, TX, a winner of the 2009 CEP National School of Character Award. For more information on Westwood’s program, visit its website.