Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.
~ Aristotle ~
Chicago Public Schools recognizes service learning as a powerful teaching and learning methodology. When tied to classroom curriculum, service learning can deliver important academic, civic and social/emotional outcomes. In order for students to experience the full power and impact of service learning, however, it is important that they are well prepared for the service experience. Preparation enables students to connect academics to authentic experiences. It also enables them to formulate and explore important questions pertaining to the service project. Establishing service and learning goals at the outset of the project along with good guiding questions can enable students to have a richer experience.
The service learning Initiative of Chicago Public Schools has six curricular resources now available for teachers:
- Introductory Lesson
- Project Preparation Resource Guides
- Project Exemplars
- Post Service Inquiry Guides
- District Initiatives
- Exemplary Projects
For teachers who are interested in facilitating independent projects in the classroom, this introductory lesson is a good way to introduce your students to service learning.
Project Preparation Resource Guides
The service learning Initiative has developed Project Preparation Resource Kits in seven issue areas: Aging, Global Warming, Hunger and Poverty, Housing and Homelessness, Elections, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Cesar Chavez. Each curriculum guide is designed as a resource for teachers to prepare students for a service project. Each guide includes activities designed to examine the important social issues, links to Standards and content areas, background information and data, project ideas, and contacts to resource organizations. We expect that teachers will take what is useful and employ it in the classroom. The intent of the curriculum is to encourage inquiry- and project-based teaching strategies as a means for students to acquire the knowledge that will make the service experience more meaningful.
The service learning Initiative has also developed 38 Project Exemplars in the following content areas. Each 2-page exemplar walks teachers through the process of connecting classroom content to service.
Post Service Inquiry
The service experience can and should begin to raise broader questions for students about critical social issues. Upon returning from the service project experience, teachers are invited to facilitate post service extended learning by utilizing curricular resources in the following areas:
Environment and Sustainable Communities
These resources enable students to extend their learning by exploring broader issues, policies, and legislation directly connected to the service experience. Each resource can help the classroom align classroom learning to the Common Core Standards.