It is important for educators to distinguish between "community service" and "service learning." In its truest form, service learning connects deeply to the school curriculum, offering students unique opportunities to acquire new skills as they learn responsibility, experience satisfaction, and provide benefit to the wider community.
Learn More About Service Learning Across the Grades
Is Community Service a Waste of Time?
Many educators use the terms community service and service learning interchangeably. The two are very different concepts, though. What is the difference? Should your students participate in one or the other? Education World talks to the experts.
Four Schools With Award-Winning Service-Learning Programs
Education World "tours" a few of the schools recognized as National Service-Learning Leader Schools. Learn about their approaches to service learning and about the special projects that earned them the awards. Included: Tips from these top schools.
Service Projects Help Students Find Their Voices
Brenda Dyck describes a service project her students participated in. She reflects on what might happen if she connected her students' passion for this type of learning to her prescribed curriculum. Included: Articles about the value of service learning.
"I Never Knew I Could Be A Hero": Thoughts on Service Learning
Educator Kathie Marshall values service learning as a highly effective strategy for engaging students' interest in the curriculum and in their community. She shares her love of service learning and explains how any teacher can implement it on a shoestring budget.
Students Learn While Helping at Soup Kitchen
A project launched by teachers and students in New Hampshire was designed to teach compassion. Classroom learning was tied closely to the students' participation in a project carried on with the Nashua Soup Kitchen and Shelter.
Special Dog "Guides" Middle School Curriculum
Students in Bryan, Texas, are raising a guide dog named Penny. Teachers at Sam Rayburn Middle School have turned this special community service project into lessons in geography, art, language, and more.
Earth Inc. -- A Community-Service Lesson Plan A well-planned service-learning project should include stated academic and service goals, strategies for assessment, and opportunities for reflection. This lesson plan from the Social Studies Education Consortium offers a template for a model service project.
Service Learning in Action Across the Grades
No matter what grade level or subject you teach, service-learning projects can add a new dimension to your curriculum. Education World offers examples of three true service-learning projects -- one each at the elementary, middle, and high school levels.
Community Service: Opportunity or Exploitation?
What about mandatory community service in schools? Is it a wonderful opportunity or "slave labor?" At its best, community service offers students a unique chance to learn responsibility, experience satisfaction, and acquire new skills.
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