Service Learning Fair - A Project Based Learning Project Emphasizing 21st Century Skills


Service Learning is an important component in education. Children learning to serve others has been an important skill taught in public schools since the advent of public education. This page is dedicated to Service Learning and attempts to put a 21st Century twist on the important lesson of civic virtue and public service. This article represents an example I use in persuading teachers to take those projects they have always done and reinvent them to using new technology. I call it turning the jukebox into an iPod! The results include engaged learning, mastered content standards, 21st century skill acquisition, and in the case of service learning, students and community benefit from both giving and receiving. The conclusion of this activity will result in a Service Learning Fair. All the different groups will provide a booth promoting their activity using a line-up of support materials they will create. Attendees will include students, teachers, parents, community service organizations, and the people they served. Keep this Service Fair in mind as you read the rest of this page.

Part One: Creating the stage for a service learning activity.

This is the most important part of this project. It not only is the basis of what is to be learned, it provides the avenue for students to experience it. Teachers have long promoted service learning in their own way. In this model I suggest that students join a group of three other students. Together will eventually decide on a service they can perform either together or in a separate manner. Either way, they are part of a group that forms an service organization. This organization must have a name, a mission, and a logo. After learning through, lecture, research, and multimedia about both service and areas they can serve they make a decision. Students are then given a certain number of days to perform the service. A journal is kept of activities, hours, and reflections. Students are asked to collect artifacts as they perform the task. These artifacts could include digital pictures, digital movies, audio interviews, and props. These will become useful for Part Two of this Service Learning Activity. Finally make sure you make parents aware by some form of permission letter. It is important that parents are part of the process and are able to monitor their children's activities. There are also a great resource in facilitating the service project and supporting the standards.

I am providing some sites below that may assist you as you plan for Part One

SLICE - Service Learning Ideas And Curricular Example - The Learn and Serve Clearinghouse maintains a website with timely information and relevantresources to support service-learning programs, practitioners, and researchers. The Clearinghouse operates national email discussion lists for K-12, cbo, tribes and territories, and higher education service-learning to encourage discussion and exchange of ideas. The Clearinghouse also maintains an ever-growing library collection that is available to Learn and Serve America grantees and subgrantees.

Goodcharacter - A site with lessons, ideas, and handouts that can be used in Service Learning. Start of with the Strawberry Learning Manual which Gives step by step instructions for creating and implementing service learning projects. Includes many examples. Then take a look at a large selection of past service learning projects examples. Be sure to check their links to some great service learning sites .

Idealist - A great site with curriculum, links, and examples from all across the country. A visit here will give educators and students an abundance of ideas for service learning.

National Service Learning Partnership -The Teaching Resources section of this site presents high-quality resources that Partnership members have created for teachers, administrators, students, and community partners. This section provides entry points for both new and experienced practitioners.

Service Learning Wisconsin - The state of Wisconsin has some outstanding resources for teachers. It includes research, curriculum, and service learning ideas. A wealth of information worth exploring!

Part Two: Creating the service learning presentation 21st Century style

This is a part of the project where students will build presentations based on their service. There service organization will be given a number of tasks to perform. The results will be a presentation at their own booth at a Service Learning Fair. Components will include a self running Power Point, video, podcast, brochure, business cards, logo, graphs, letters of invitation. Below I have excerpts from a letter you may give to students.

Dear Students,
Your service learning group has been contacted by the School Board to present the results of your service learning project. You will be presenting to local community members in a professional manner. Your group will need to study and divide up the following work in order to put on a proper presentation. After presentations to your peers, teachers, parents, and community members, certain teams will be selected to present to further audiences These teams will be featured in school newspaper and district newletter, and will present to the school board.
There will also be prizes for winning groups and of course grades will be earned based on your effort, collaboration, communication, creativity, and completion. Culminating project will include all individuals in a presentation that highlights all of the areas above in a smooth running scripted presentation that will not exceed 5:00 minutes. Integrating of above resources is encouraged and provides for an impressive presentation.

Components of final project
All of the below must include a rough draft outline/storyboard and write up of what is to be part of this important element. Collaborative meetings may need to be called in order to make decisions.
A. Power Point Presentation – At least 15 slides that cover no more than 4:00 minutes
a. Include all elements listed (B-H)
b. Incorporate pictures
c. Have at least three presenters and one computer controller (professional dress)
d. Include a credit sheet in the end of all products, sources, and contributors
e. Rehearsed and timed
B. A video promoting your project (no more the 30 seconds)
a. Can include either Windows Movie Maker or Photo-story 3
b. Video or still picture
c. Properly timed
d. Must include audio
C. A audio podcast promoting community service (no more than 60 second)
a. Use Audacity
b. Credits
c. Properly timed
D. A brochure promoting your group and its accomplishments (Published with Word or Publisher)
a. Made in Word or Publisher (Two pages of info)
b. Contain pictures, information, logo
c. Rough draft of Layout
E. A poster board presenting your group and project
a. Two fold poster similar to science fair
b. Creative and eye appealing
c. Include logo and pictures
d. Have a unique feature as part of the construction
F. Business Cards and Letter of Invitation To Service Learning Fair for your group
a. Include Logo
b. Include Team Name
c. Include first names
d. Have a special design that is eye appealing
G. A group logo with team name made of clay (extra - animate it 5 seconds)
a. Must be unique and connect with service performed
b. Must connect with group name
c. No more than 6 inches high, 10 inches wide, and 5 inches deep
d. Must be three D and include background that is unique
e. For extra can include a 5 second animation
H. One spreadsheet that tells a story of your project or volunteering
a. Must cover an aspect of specific service or volunteering in general
b. Must be based on reliable and data that can be accounted for
c. Must go beyond a design of what has been done in class so far
d. Must be accurate and tell a story
e. Must include a paragraph
f. Unique Use of graphics and picture

The next step involves student division of work, job roles, and team rules. It is important that students reflect and clearly state the team rules that they come up with. It is also important to provide time for students to set goals, reflect, and record efforts. I have provided a documents below that help facilitate these efforts.

Team roles include the following:
Project Manager – Oversees entire project and leads group, responsible to teachers
Human Resources – Oversees group behavior, actions, communication, responsible to manger, teachers
Time /Resource Manager – Oversees all group deadlines, resources, responsible to manager, teachers
Quality Control – Checks work quality and productivity in group, responsible to manager, teachers

I have also included a document for students to journal about each day. This is a two page Word Doc and contains areas for tasks worked on, goals, reflections, and things to do.