Cathy Berger Kaye led the ECSL Winter 2018 meeting, where she unpacked the issue of poverty and how teachers can use the related UN Sustainable Goal to help address the issue locally with students. Take a look inside the meeting to learn how!
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.