Wood Duck Nesting Boxes, Sherry Unger Service-Learning Project Winner - August 2003
George Henckle Memorial Walkathon
To honor the memory of the school's principal who died prior to the beginning of school in 1999, students from Sudlersville Middle School decided to participate in the George Henckle Memorial Walk-A-Thon. The event generated scholarship funds to benefit former Sudlersville Middle School students who attend post-secondary education or trade school.
Our students have met many community needs, but our most memorable ones would be the landscaping of our town bank and post office and providing holiday joys for residents of St. Martin's House. The curricular objectives we met were through our projects were:
* demonstrating positive attitudes toward science and its relevance to the individual, society and the environment;
* the ability to apply science to solving problems and making personal decisions.
We reflected and celebrated by writing and receiving thank you notes. Our projects were also covered by the local media. We also discussed how changes to the actions might improve the projects in the future. My students are 8th graders who need little prompting to take full responsibility for making phone calls, preparing, acting and reflecting.
Planning and preparation are infused into our curriculum and are carried out during regular class periods. For example, wood duck and blue birdhouses are measured and marked in Math. Reading covers habits and habitat. Social Studies covers migration, and the boxes are constructed in Science.
My 9th grade Earth Science class was involved with a food drive and Empty Bowls Dinner. We obviously filled, and are filling, community needs related to hunger and hunger awareness, and planned campaigns for both. In the case of the food drive, I used past business experience to inspired leadership and pride in excelling at something that benefits others. We not only collected more items than any other class in the food drive, but also raised the bar for other classes by inspiring friendly competition. Upon reflection, students realized that service implies using the best of one's talents, be they organizational skills, leadership, people skills, or others. Curricular goals that were met include quantitative scientific study of events and phenomena.
1996: The students formed a community partnership with the St. Martin's House, a shelter for homeless women and children. The Interdisciplinary unit is covered throughout the year. There are three preparation lessons, the action is making school boxes, hygiene boxes, birthday boxes and infant boxes for the women and children of the shelter. Reflection is covered throughout the year.
1995: Queen Anne's County plan calls for integrated units infused across the curriculum. Serving Seniors is the 6th grade project or unit. Building Wood Duck Boxes is the 7th grade unit. And the 8th grade unit is serving a homeless shelter for women and children. I work with 6th grade students at Sudlersville middle School. They have a community partnership with the Crumpton Senior Center. The 6th graders learn about the aging process and the needs of seniors through integrated units across the curriculum. They have practical hands on experiences with them by sponsoring Senior Fun Days and Visiting the center. They plant and harvest a vegetable garden for them.
A service-learning unit infused in the math, science, social studies, and language arts/reading classes has a partnership with the Department of Aging. During the preparation component in social studies, students define service-learning , study citizenship, and become aware of the needs of the community. Through slides and guest speakers in science, students complete a sensitivity lab and learn about the changing physical and mental characteristics of aging. Several readings and research projects in language arts, and graphing data collected through surveys in math also prepare the students for the action component. Action, both direct and indirect consists of making holiday cards and sending letters and visitations to senior centers and nursing homes. Reflection, an ongoing process throughout the entire unit and employing several techniques, such as verbal and written responses, helps the students express what has been learned and what needs to be changed. All lessons can be adapted to meet your time frame, and all materials needed for successful completion of the unit are included.
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