Kids Helping Kids with Cancer
Our Survival Unit, a part of the 7th grade Frederick County language arts curriculum, was a perfect opportunity to create a student service-learning project addressing cancer, a concern in our community. After pooling knowledge about cancer, we invited a teacher whose daughter has leukemia to come in and talk about her daughter’s experience. In classes to follow, students used the jigsaw method to become experts on topics related to cancer such as history of cancer, causes of cancer, cancer treatments, and so on. We also compared and contrasted articles discussing children their age with cancer. Students then made anti-smoking posters to hang in the hallways of our school community. Learning about Guatemala and their tradition of the worry dolls led to making hundreds of worry dolls to send to the children of Johns Hopkins Hospital Oncology Unit. Student wrote poems to attach to the dolls explaining the tradition of the worry doll which is thought to take your worries away. In addition, students sold “Give a Smile to A Kid with Cancer” smiley faces for $1 and raised over $800 which we sent to Hopkins along with the worry dolls to purchase entertainment for the children staying there for treatment. This project happened to coincide with the Senate’s decision on banning smoking in public places. After an in-class debate, students wrote a letter to their senator voicing their opinion on the upcoming bill.
Kids Helping Hopkins
The Program is designed to provide students of all ages the opportunity to help others without personal gain and to teach the values of compassion and respect for others. Involvement in Kids Helping Hopkins is an excellent way for students to learn the value of service to the community.
Amanda conducts professional development for her schools' staff on service-learning and works closely with the school's Character Counts coordinator and two other Service-Learning Fellows at the school to enhance the schools service-learning program. She also works to ensure that her community understands service-learning and keeps track of students' progress toward the service-learning graduation requirement. Amanda is collaborating with the Character Counts coordinator to introduce the "Start Something" youth program into the school. "Start Something" is a program developed by the Tiger Woods Foundation and the Target Corporation. The purpose of this program is to help young people strive to become persons of character with a strong set of core values by, in part, engaging in service-learning projects.
The Veterans Partnership Committee won The Sherry Unger Award for September 2002. In cooperation with the WKMS student government, 8th grade band, 6,7 and 8th grade chorus, and life skills classes, the Committee planned and implemented a program honoring veterans in observance of Veterans Day 2001.
Going Grocery Shopping
Our seventh grades complete the project at the beginning of the year and it includes problems that pertain to about half of the objectives on the MFMT. Items that are "purchased" by the students are later donated to the Advocates for Homeless Families at the completion of the project.
Empty Bowls Project
Our annual Empty Bowls Project lets students learn about and discuss the issue of poverty in our community. Students explore this complex issue and then work to alleviate the problem by raising money through a culminating fund and awareness event. They donate any funds raised to local charities.
Lindsey Learning Center Walk-A-Thon
Three hundred and fifty 7th graders at Windsor Knolls Middle School participated in a walk-a-thon that raised approximately $16,000 for the Lindsey Learning Center and Bread of Life Soup Kitchen of the Frederick Rescue Mission, an organization in Frederick County that helps people who are homeless and in need. Through their curricular classes, students learned about homelessness, planning a fundraiser, and used other skills that made the walk-a-thon a huge success.
Earth Day Eco-Fair
Each spring, as a celebration of Earth Day, I sponsor an all-school Eco-Fair which features 5 or more service-learning projects focused on environmental service, awareness, and beautification of school grounds. Some of the projects have included creating a theme garden area with butterflies, Shakespeare, water gardens and a timber-frame arbor, mosaic garden stones, and ornamental trees. Students have also built birdhouses, bird feeders, created "bird seed recipes," and created a cold frame "mini greenhouse."
I work with students to maintain a mitigation site and create an outdoor classroom where elementary children are exposed to and trained in environmental science by 9th grade students.
Book Drive and Bake Sale
As a seventh grade language arts teacher, my student service-learning projects often come directly from something the students have read about people in need. In 1998, my students read a Baltimore Sun article about the plight of an inner-city elementary school which had lost its entire library collection in a flood. Students quickly mobilized and collected more than 7,000 children's books for the school. In 2000, my students organized and carried out a bake sale fundraiser for the Harlem Park Community Organization after reading about the financially threatened summer program for children in that neighborhood.
We did a literacy project with four of our local Headstart centers. We began with a story telling performance and the students created follow-up learning games. Next, we created letter and number plays, and made learning games for them. Our third event was an Easter Egg Hunt, in which the children had to match letters to claim the eggs. The eggs were then mounted on a chart to make the alphabet.
I coordinate the meritorious service-learning activities at Thurmont Middle. This includes advertising service opportunities, training and preparing students for their service, and record keeping. I also teach the required 6th grade Integrated Studies class. Service is infused into the curriculum of this course which includes math, science, social studies, and language arts. The purpose of the course is to introduce students to service and "turn them on" to it. The service project revolves around the story "A Christmas Carol" and the theme of poverty. Students help single mothers by providing supplies for their babies, thus performing service and learning the negative consequences of teen pregnancy.
Model Program Coordinator for Service and Literature. Service-Learning Advisory Board (SLAB) advisor for Frederick County.
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