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.
Questioning Techniques to Drive Service Learning
“The humble question is an indispensable tool: the spade that helps us dig for truth, or the flashlight that illuminates surrounding darkness. Questioning helps us learn, explore the unknown, and adapt to change. That makes it a most precious “app” today, in a world where everything is changing and so much is unknown.”
Warren Berger, Author of A More Beautiful Question
Have you thought about how the role of questions will advance your service learning process this year? Students engaged in service learning are challenged to find and address authentic needs facing their community. To do this they must inquire about what is happening in the world around them. As the process of service learning gets underway in your classroom, it is important to help build a culture of inquiry that celebrates students’ questions as much as their answers. Use this guide to help you make questioning a vibrant part of your service learning culture this year.
1. Asking Questions About Ourselves
Knowing who’s in the room will be an essential resource for your service learning endeavors. What interests do your students have? This might give insight into the societal issues that will engage them or that they will find relevant to their lives. What skills and talents does each student bring to the table that will be of value as they design and implement their service plans? Service learning consultant and author, Cathryn Berger Kaye, developed the Personal Inventory process as a resource for student-centered service learning from the beginning of the experience. This activity can help you with an important motto for creating student voice and choice: To thine own students be true. Continue reading →
Fall 2014 Meeting In Review
“I’ve been an administrator, an educator, and a student, but none of those roles has defined me. At heart, I am a learner. I continue to reflect on where to lead, whom to follow, how to teach, and what to learn.” –Holly Chesser, Education Blogger
At ECSL’s fall workshop participants entered as administrators, educators, parents, or community partners. Yet together we were all learners. ECSL representatives shared ways to reframe our service learning practices. We thought about the echoes of students’ service experiences. How do they impact ourselves, our school, our community and our world? We reviewed The Five Stages of Service Learning Standards and Benchmarks. We framed the standards as a series of actions alive in our classrooms. What do the five stages look like? We shared ideas at round table discussions addressing our challenges and goals as service learning practitioners. We found someone new in this network of colleagues to support our endeavors. We learned.
As a virtual learner, you can revisit the fall meeting content through the videos and resources posted on ECSL’s website. Continue your learning at our winter workshop where we will gather with community organizations to grow reciprocal relationships that benefit both educators and organizations; that lead to meaningful and impactful service. Thank you for being a part of the ECSL learning community!
ECSL Winter Workshop
Monday, Feb 9th, 2015
New Roads School
3131 Olympic Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90404
*Organization workshop (special in-service for community organizations) begins at 10:15am. Joint educator-organization workshop continues from 11:30am – 1:45pm.
A Recipe for Service Learning Success
Every chef loves stumbling upon a great recipe- one that boasts carefully thought out steps and wholesome ingredients. Like a good chef, the service learning educator plans, prepares and serves healthy curriculum that provides rich, meaningful experiences to nourish their students’ engagement, social-emotional growth, and 21st century skills (to name a few). If you’re looking for a recipe for service learning success, you can find one in Cathryn Berger Kaye‘s A Baker’s Dozen: Guideposts to a Meaningful Service Learning Program. This article has all of the essential ingredients for establishing a vibrant and well-rounded culture of service learning within classrooms and schools. We’re honored to share these guideposts at our fall workshop and feature it here on our blog. Sink your teeth in and enjoy!
2014 Los Angeles Poetic Convergence
Service Learning educators know words can ignite change, especially when it is the voice of engaged youth. Get Lit aims to enrich Los Angeles’ literary and cultural landscape through the voice of teen poets and performing arts education. Join and be inspired by L.A.’s first poetic convergence on September 13th, 2014! http://www.getlit.org/
Do Students Experience Service “Summer Slide” ?
It’s summer. Now, learning is in the hands of parents and the summer experiences our students delve into. In the last few months of school, there’s often a discussion between educators and parents surrounding the “summer slide” – the notion that students’ academic skills may slip during the summer months. Teachers may even provide resources to help students keep their skills fresh to help prevent this so-called phenomenon.
Is it possible that students can experience a service “summer slide” as well? Are students exposed to service opportunities when the quality service learning they engage in during the school year is absent? Consider being an advocate for service during the summer months. If you are able to contact outgoing or incoming families while school is out, you can suggest some resources for summer service like this article from Philanthroparent.com on integrating service with family summer pastimes.
Such resources and experiences may help your future students gain powerful prior knowledge for a social issue that will be addressed this coming school year. Perhaps they will hone some academic, listening, speaking, or critical thinking skills while they engage in service, helping to prevent the “summer slide” that is talked about as each academic year comes to a close. Maybe one of your students will discover how their interests and talents can be meaningfully shared with others. Show families that summer service serves a purpose!
What are your trusted resources for summer service opportunities? Share what your students are doing to prevent the service summer slide! ECSLabc@gmail.com or leave a comment below.