ECSL’s 2017-2018 professional development content was introduced at our fall workshop and focused on how the principles of service learning intersect with other student-led inquiry approaches (such as Challenge-Based Learning, Design Thinking, Project-Based Learning, etc). These frameworks are not mutually exclusive- they all support student-driven initiatives with outcomes that serve a purpose!
Participants were given the opportunity to hear two service learning stories with teacher and student presenters from Turning Point and Oakwood School. These stories helped attendees see the process of service learning in action and helped them glimpse ways they can expand and enrich their own plans for social action this year. Following the presentations, students and the supporting teachers engaged in discussion with participants. It was an opportunity for attendees to reflect upon their own programs and establish takeaways applicable to their plans for the school year ahead.
Participants were also encouraged to compare and contrast their existing curriculum frameworks (adopted in their classrooms or schools) with the Five Stages of Service Learning. Seeing the similarities in these philosophies offers teachers new ways of approaching student-led inquiry. ECSL welcomes you to use the framework comparison document shared at the meeting in order to explore ways popular curriculum frameworks intersect with service learning!
In this exercise, teachers examine other frameworks of student inquiry alongside the service learning process. The five stages of service learning are represented in the outer circle of the diagram. The inner circle is used to align elements of another inquiry processes with these stages to draw connections between the practices. With this exercise, teachers see how service learning themes tie into their existing curriculum and how they can use this five-stage method to add rigor to their student inquiry curriculum.
Sustainability for our planet by reducing waste and growing resilient gardens. Sustainability for our communities by increasing empathy and embracing diversity. Join ECSL and Netiya for an innovative dinner workshop that bridges the concepts of food and social justice. Cook farm-to-table ethnic food and engage in conversation focusing on ways we can link concepts of bio-diversity and cultural diversity within our curriculum and school communities to create a more just society.
At our fall meeting, ECSL advisor Sammy Lyon outlined how planning for service learning fits seamlessly with the classroom planning you’re already doing. The article For Teachers Who Think They Can’t Do Service Learning accompanies the easy-to-implelement lesson planning tools that were presented and gives you a road map for integrating student-led action into the curriculum you already use. Download a free copy of the tools- Backwards Planning for Service Learning- to support your service learning curriculum.
Bridges Academy in Studio City is hosting a community service fair on October 15th that may give you and your students some opportunities to connect with organizations and launch service learning ideas:
Share with your community: bridges-academy-community-service-fair
Check out these two environmental service learning summer professional development opportunities brought to you by Generation Earth. Both these experiences provide access to personalized support, links to standards, toolkits, and eligibility for stipends and bus funds for a related field trip next school year.
On Saturday, April 16th ECSL joined with the Green Ambassadors Institute, a professional development program through Environmental Charter High School, to engage in a first-of-its-kind experiment: The Curriculum Hack. It was based on the shared experience of many teachers that there is no one-size-fits-all curriculum. An educator is a kind of jigsaw puzzle expert. They are constantly fitting together the puzzle pieces (standards, time, current events, learning styles, youth interests) to create the big picture (a curriculum that best serves their students).
With so many factors to consider when deciding how to deliver content, teachers rarely use a published curriculum verbatim. They take out, add on, or adjust lesson plans to create something that fits the needs of the class. Teachers may do this in isolation or amongst their planning teams on campus. But at this spring’s BioDiversity Summit, Green Ambassadors gave educators access to a valuable resource in this process of tailoring curriculum- diverse perspectives.
In our increasingly interconnected world, there is a need to bring together all community stakeholders to create curriculum that helps students prepare for the challenges we face as a society. Everyone was invited to the table. Educators, students, community organizations, businesses and government leaders all lent their ideas and expertise. In real-time, this melting pot of perspectives helped shape curriculum for pressing essential questions we need to cover in our classrooms, like “How can we undo environmental injustices within our communities in order to keep people safe and healthy?”
At the start of the summit, ECSL led participants in a personal inventory activity that revealed each other’s interests, skills and talents through a guided interview process. Later, when it was time to hack the curriculum together, each member could reflect on their traits, background and experiences that would impact their group’s lesson planning process.
This year’s institute theme was BioDiversity, and the experience lived up to its name. The diverse skill sets present amongst each group member led to rich explorations of environmental justice themes for all grade levels.
Green Ambassadors has made available the lesson plans created in this collaborative curriculum development experience (where you can also access the Personal Inventory activity presented by ECSL).
We look forward to connecting with members and new participants alike at the ECSL Fall Meeting scheduled for September 27th at The Skirball Cultural Center from 3:15-5:30pm. Join us for another unique opportunity to network with a variety of stakeholders in the service learning community.
This winter’s ECSL workshop featured international service learning expert, Cathryn Berger Kaye, who helped us rethink the ways we engage students in reflection. Here, participants explore reflection strategies throughout the stages of service learning: investigation, preparation, action and demonstration. We share some of the work and responses here to help continue the dialogue about the importance of taking time for reflection and how we can consider a variety of ways to reflect- both large and small, quick or lengthy, and through a range of different learning modalities that reach all students. Take a moment to reflect on what strategies you see here that can be implemented within your classroom.
**Share your service learning program at the upcoming Environmental Justice Showcase and Curriculum Hack that ECSL is co-sponsoring with Environmental Charter High School.**
PLEASE CALENDAR: SATURDAY APRIL 16, 2016
ECSL is making available a special opportunity. You are invited to share a 10 minute talk with 5 min Q/A in a roundtable type conversational format. We are providing a personal ECSL mentor to help facilitate review and teacher preparation for this collaborative workshop along with a simple template to utilize.
The purpose is to discuss the process, more importantly than the result. It will be an chance for you to examine various stages from where you might have felt stymied in your SL process, to taking positive outcomes to the next level.
This meeting will provide time for interaction, exchange of ideas/needs, connections and will genuinely aid faculty with the five stages of service learning, fostering student voice and choice and developing meaningful community benefits.
WE HOPE YOU WILL CONSIDER JOINING THE OTHER FACULTY (from K-12 schools, private & public) who have agreed to tell their service learning stories….Faculty who shared at last year’s ECSL expo felt they actually learned more from the experience than the observers….so take advantage of this unique opportunity to partner with an ECSL mentor and enhance your service learning (no matter whatever stage you are currently practicing).
PLEASE REPLY to ECSLabc@gmail.com as soon as possible IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO RECEIVE an ECSL mentor and the presentation template.
INCLUDE: YOUR NAME, CLASS LEVEL/SUBJECT TAUGHT, TOPIC PRESENTING. This “show and grow” will take place in the morning, although there are worthwhile activities and exchanges from 9-3pm. The topic you choose does not necessarily need to be environmentally based…. any Service Learning program in which your students are currently engaged has justice and curricular tie-ins. Lastly, feel free to bring some of your students along to present with you and experience the day.
.….We are looking forward to hearing back from you soon and hope you choose to be a part of this exciting day!