We Inspire Learning.
Minneapolis Public Schools
North High School – Photo by Minneapolis Community Education
Produced with support from:
MPS Teacher Guide to Service-Learning -1- 1/13/06
Minneapolis Public Schools
Teacher Guide to Service-Learning
Service-learning has powerful potential to engage students, and thereby to strengthen student participation
and academic achievement. This guide aims to help teachers and other staff to develop and sustain
effective service-learning programs.
Part I: The Fundamentals
A primer on service-learning based on two decades of research and experience.
A. Definition of Service-Learning 3
Learn to distinguish community service from true service-learning.
B. Ten Core Components of Service-Learning 5
Become familiar with the components needed for success.
C. Service-Learning Fits MPS Mission, Goals, and Principles 6
Identify ways that service-learning can reinforce district purpose and goals.
D. Service-Learning Takes Many Forms 7
Explore the wide range of programs on the service-learning continuum.
E. Benefits of Service-Learning 8
Choose the priority reasons to implement service-learning.
Access a brief summary of what service-learning can accomplish.
Part II: Getting Started
F. Steps to Integrate Service-Learning into Curriculum: Multiple Paths to Success 9
Choose the most promising strategy(ies) to implement service-learning.
G. Service-Learning Links to Academics & Standards 10
Find new ideas to help students meet Minnesota Standards through service-learning.
H. Assessing Learning through Service 11
Select a strategy and tools to assess students’ service efforts.
I. Reflecting on Service-Learning Experiences 13
Review a range of strategies and tools to tie service experiences back to class.
J. Minneapolis Public Schools Service-Learning Lesson Planning Form 17
Use this simple worksheet to help design a service-learning lesson.
MPS Service-Learning Resource List 18
Appendix A 20
- Desirable Youth Outcomes of Youth Development
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A. Definition of Service-Learning
Service-learning is a form of experiential education in which students apply
knowledge, critical thinking and good judgment to address genuine community needs.
- Minnesota Department of Education
Cleaning up the riverbank is SERVICE.
A Biology class studying examples of aquatic life under a
microscope is LEARNING.
Biology students studying how pollution impacts wildlife
and people, analyzing samples of aquatic life from
Minneapolis lakes and streams, presenting findings about
the samples to the watershed district and the public,
organizing a clean-up, and reflecting on the importance of
civic action is one example of SERVICE-LEARNING.1
Earth Day Clean-Up, Pratt School,
Photo by Minneapolis Community Education
The Face of Service-Learning in Minneapolis:
Jefferson Elementary School
As part of Diversity Month events, older students read about and studied how different cultures
resolve differences. Then they organized presentations on conflict resolution for the younger students
in the building. The older students also tutored and helped to organize celebrations of art and music.
North High School
As part of their study of civics and leadership, 9th Grade Social Studies classes studied local issues.
In addition to readings, speakers, and class discussion, each class organized a service-learning project.
One group prepared lunch for homeless guests of the Sabathani Food Kitchen. Another class
organized a toy drive for children at the Harriet Tubman Center, a shelter for abused women and
children. Students visited the shelter to gain a clearer understanding of the families it serves. Yet
another class organized a public discussion between a police officer, a gang task force leader, and a
former gang member.
Roosevelt High School
Health students researched nutrition and public health issues. Then they organized an engaging and
educational Health Fair for fellow students and the community.
Everybody can be great because everybody can serve.
- Martin Luther King Jr.
Acknowledgement for example to NYLC and Cairn & Associates.
MPS Teacher Guide to Service-Learning -3- 1/13/06
1993 National and Community Service Act
A method under which students or participants learn
and develop through active participation in thoughtfully
organized service that—
1) Is conducted in and meets the needs of a community and
is coordinated with an elementary school, secondary
school, institution of higher education, or community
service program, and with the community;
2) Helps foster civic responsibility;
3) Is integrated into and enhances the academic curriculum
of the students or the educational components of the
community service program in which the participants are
4) Includes structured time for the students and participants
to reflect on the service experience.
Seward Montessori first grader
works on hunger project.
Photo by Henry Althoen.
MPS Teacher Guide to Service-Learning -4- 1/13/06
B. Ten Core Components of Service-Learning2
1) Student Voice
Students are fully involved in identifying and planning—as well as in serving. They gain ownership and
internalize the learning process as they connect emotions to learning.
2) Integrated Curriculum
Service meets learner outcomes and objectives from the academic disciplines. Students understand why
they are learning as well as what. Students learn through experience and application rather than by rote.
Service-learning enhances existing goals and programs of the school.
3) Academically and Developmentally Appropriate Service
Service-learning project tasks stretch students cognitively and socially.
4) Genuine Community Needs/Assets
Projects have clear goals and address genuine community needs. Students have opportunities to
experience community assets and varied perspectives. Students can see that everyone gains from service.
Partnerships feature solid communication. Community partners have adequate capacity to work with
students on jointly determined needs, and to involve students in various levels of leadership.
6) Program Evaluation
Programs evaluate impacts on students and community. Evaluation measures accomplishments and
progress toward goals—and investigates ways to improve program quality.
7) Student Assessment
Assessment strategies enhance student learning as they evaluate and document how well students have
met content and skills standards.
8) Community Inclusion (Diversity)
Identification and definition of projects involves the community, and is respectful of cultural and ethnic
mores. Service-learning programs value diversity through participants, practice, and outcomes.
In preparation for service, students gain understanding of their roles and a sensitivity to the people with
whom they will be serving, as well as all necessary skills, information, and safety precautions.
Critical thinking helps students internalize learning from all parts of the service experience. Thus
reflection activities occur before, during and after service. Reflection includes celebration and
acknowledgment of student achievement.
Adapted 2004 from “Essential Elements of Effective Service-Learning Practice,” 1998, National Youth
Leadership Council, St. Paul, Minnesota. The 38-page “Elements” features a detailed rubric of
benchmarks to guide practice. For ordering information see www.nylc.org or call (800) 366-6952.
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C. Service-Learning Fits MPS
Mission, Goals, and Principles
The Minneapolis Public Schools mission is to ensure that all students learn. We support
their growth into knowledgeable, skilled and confident citizens capable of succeeding in their
work, personal and family lives into the 21st Century.
The District Improvement Agenda includes four main goals:
1. Enrich and Accelerate Academic Achievement for All Students.
2. Welcome and Engage Students, Families and Community in Education.
3. Implement Accountability Systems for Providing, Assessing and Supporting Quality Instruction.
4. Ensure Effective and Integrated Management of the Business Enterprise.
- Adopted by the Minneapolis Board of Education 6/25/02
Goals of the Educational Program
Adopted by the Minneapolis Board of Education, 4/25/67.
Students of the Minneapolis Public Schools, upon graduation, will possess the knowledge, skills and
behaviors necessary to succeed in their adult lives. To see that this is accomplished, the Minneapolis
Public Schools accepts responsibility for assuring that each graduate demonstrates the qualities of a:
Each student will demonstrate characteristics of a creative, flexible, and complex thinker by
identifying and using resources for problem-solving, decision-making, and critical thinking.
Each student will communicate effectively with words, numbers, visuals, sounds and symbols, using
technology to enhance personal and interpersonal skills.
Each student will demonstrate the knowledge and skills to participate collaboratively as a citizen in a
diverse, interdependent, and evolving society (one that is in the process of becoming multicultural,
gender-fair, disability aware).
Each student will exhibit the skills, attitudes, and behaviors needed for life-long planning in the areas
of personal, career, and leisure time development, and will assume responsibility for physical,
intellectual, and emotional well-being.
Each student will contribute to the economic, social, and environmental wellbeing of local and global
The Minneapolis Public Schools will take the initiative to develop collaboratives with other groups and
agencies to assure that students meet these outcomes.
MPS Middle School Platform includes:
Belief Statement #8: Communities and schools are partners in educating young adolescents.
Therefore we will
- Embed service-learning into the curriculum....
MPS High School Platform commits MPS to:
• Increase opportunities for learning outside of school walls and school schedules. (Principle 1)
• Connect learning to real-life applications of knowledge and skills to help students link their education
to the future and to community expectations and standards. (Principle 4)
• Engage students in active and hands-on learning experiences through a wide variety of instructional
strategies. (Principle 5)
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D. Service-Learning Takes Many Forms
Co-curricular >>> Greater Curricular Integration
Student Volunteer Community Community School-wide Integrated
Organizations Clearing- Service/ Service Theme into Courses
house Leadership Course
Student Organizations: and meet in a reflective seminar one or
Honors Society, vocational education and two days. Some courses are offered as a
many other groups regularly do two hour block or next to a study hall or
community service projects. Some form lunch.
around substance abuse prevention
(SADD) or other issues. Most do group School-wide Project Theme:
projects. Every April during National Youth
Service Day schools throughout MPS
Volunteer Clearinghouse: mobilize- for service-learning projects.
A coordinator helps recruit individual Schools may integrate service-learning
students for service placements in into a number of courses around a theme
agencies. Modeled after community- such as health care or citizenship (as in a
based volunteer centers. small learning community).
Several high school Small Learning
Independent Community Communities in Minneapolis feature
Service/Leadership Credit: service-learning.
With prior approval, MPS students may
receive up to two elective, ungraded Integrated into Courses:
credits (60 hours per credit) during high Service-learning can create a real-world
school. Documentation of service may laboratory for any course by including
include a journal, a report, notes from service appropriate to the course of study,
meetings, a copy of a presentation, or for example: health - serve in a hospital,
other agreed-upon materials. English - publish a community history or
Student council or other school or newspaper, or biology - monitor and clean
community committee participation also up a stream. Does not require major
qualifies for this credit. schedule changes or school restructuring,
but teachers must incorporate service-
Community Service Course: learning activities while meeting standards
Some school districts offer elective and other requirements. (See examples on
courses where students serve in the page 3 above.)
community three or four days per week
Projects or Placements
Individuals or groups research, plan and organize Individuals or small groups fill an agency’s
their own service initiative with agencies or existing volunteer slots for a set number hours
independently. Students can explore their ideas each week. Students in placements often develop
and gain practical organizational and problem- close relationships and experience one site in
solving experience. Projects allow students to depth. Older students work better in individual
sample a variety of service experiences. placements.
In both projects and placements students apply classroom learning. Conversely, students use
experiences from the field to challenge thinking and deepen classroom study.
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E. Benefits of Service-Learning
If a program follows principles of good practice for service-learning (such as those in section “B” above)
participants can expect some of the following benefits.
• Apply academic and social skills and knowledge in real-world settings
• Gain relevant and exciting new skills, information and experiences hands-on
• Explore careers and gain work-related skills
• Develop close relationships with peers and adults
• Become active citizens who exercise leadership
• Make a difference – and improve self-worth based on real accomplishment
• Students become motivated and active learners
• Build positive relationships with the community
• Improve public image of schools and of youth
• Teachers work as colleagues with peers and community leaders
• Students provide needed service
• Students become active stakeholders in the community, now and in the future
• Schools become resources to the whole community
Minneapolis Public Schools has a simple student pre-post-test for significant service-learning
experiences. (See appendices.)
• Service-learning helps students acquire a broad range of academic skills and knowledge. Students
who participate in service learning are more engaged in their studies and more motivated to learn.
Service learning is associated with increased student attendance.
• Service-learning helps to develop students’ sense of civic and social responsibility and their
citizenship skills. Service learning provides opportunities for students to become active, positive
contributors to society.
• Service-learning has a positive effect on the personal development of youth. Students who participate
in service-learning are less likely to engage in risky behaviors. Service-learning has a positive effect
on students’ interpersonal development and the ability to relate to culturally diverse groups. Service-
learning helps students become more knowledgeable and realistic about careers. Service-results in
greater mutual respect between teachers and students.
Billig, Shelley H. “The Impacts of Service-Learning on Youth, Schools and Communities: Research on
K-12 School-Based Service-Learning, 1990–1999.” Denver, Colorado: 2000
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F. Steps to Integrate Service-Learning into
Curriculum: Multiple Paths to Success3
Modify Existing Program or Activity to Make it Service-Learning
• Identify an existing service project or community-based activity.
• Develop learning opportunities that connect with existing curriculum.
Example: Canned Food Drive
Study nutrition. Contact receiving agency to find out what food is needed. Visit a food bank or
welfare agency. Students plan drive. Educate community about hunger.
Extend Existing Curriculum to Make it Service-Learning
• Identify the standard or specific content and skill areas to be addressed.
• Select a service-learning project that will apply, extend, or reinforce classroom lessons.
Example: Water Quality Monitoring
Students learn about healthy ecosystems, how to use biological keys, and how to structure a field
study. They collect and analyze samples from lakes and streams. They report data to Hennepin
County and watershed district, and educate the public on ways to protect lakes and streams.
Develop Unit — Possibly Interdisciplinary — with Theme Related to Service
• Choose a theme based on interest of staff, students, and community.
• Brainstorm curriculum connections.
• Develop service-learning projects in response to theme and to community need.
Example: Keeping Ourselves Healthy
Identify theme. Teacher(s) and students brainstorm curriculum connections to theme: Survey and
analyze nutrition data. Read health information. Write pamphlets. Design posters or video.
Create recipes. Make healthy snacks. Present skits on good nutrition. Organize a health fair.
Develop Service-Learning Response to a Need Identified by Students
• Students assess and catalogue their skills and interests.
• Students research community issues, needs and resources.
• Students develop service project in response.
• Teacher links project to classroom activities.
Example: School Safety
Students decide to make school safer and more comfortable. They research data and talk to
school and community leaders about existing efforts. Students decide to address illegal drugs.
Teacher incorporates classroom content on health/statistics/writing/etc. Students develop peer
education campaign and work with school counselors to create peer support groups for addicts.
Develop a Service-Learning Response to a Need Identified by Community
• Community asks for assistance.
• Teacher and community partners (and students) sit down to plan lessons.
Community Education and Rec Center asks teacher for help with after-school programs. Teacher
and community center staff train students. Students sign up as tutors and classroom aides.
Students create books and other tutoring aids.
Adapted from “Establishing Curriculum Connections: Points of Departure” from Service-Learning in
Action, by Cathryn Berger Kaye (2000) www.abcdbooks.org.
MPS Teacher Guide to Service-Learning -9- 1/13/06
G. Service-Learning Links to Academics & Standards
Service-learning can make academic content relevant to student interests. It offers students opportunities
to learn and/or apply content and skills from standards in real-world settings. The chart below offers
project ideas for students in each age group to show achievement of Minnesota Graduation Standards.
Grades K-3 Grades 4-8 Grades 9-12
Language Make books for pre-school Help make signs interpreting Conduct a survey
Arts children natural or historic sites Write letters for senior citizens
Read to preschool children Produce a public service Write a community history
Write and present skits on announcement Write a guide to the
fire safety or recycling Tutor primary school students community for newcomers
Read and record articles for Write articles for an
the blind organization’s newsletters
Social Perform historical skits Map community resources Analyze air photos for wildfire
Studies Participate in public Create a newspaper explaining vulnerability (Firewise)
celebrations of national a world event Write and work for passage of
holidays Research and write about a laws or ordinances
Send letters and artwork to local historical event Write grant proposals
soldiers Research and recommend Organize a public issues forum
Collect money for solutions to community on current events
community groups problems Write letters to the editor
Mathematics Collect items for a food, Calculate materials and space Analyze an organization’s
clothing, or toy drive; needed for garden or park survey or other data
chart & publicize results Organize a fundraiser and keep Write a guide on community
Put up the class calendar track of results demographics or resources
Make counting books for Calculate conservation savings Write an article explaining the
pre-school children Tutor primary school students math behind a public issue
Science Plant native trees, grasses, or Investigate environmental Investigate environmental
flowers issues; promote solutions issue, implement solution
Clean up a city park Explain the science of a public Monitor water and air quality;
Build a trash tree to educate health issue report to agency
public about waste Research, plan, and restore Conduct energy audits
Decorate grocery bags with habitat on public land Teach science to young
waste reduction messages Stencil storm drains children or to the public
Arts Perform for community Create skits or visual artwork Produce a multi-generational
groups on respect and public safety theater or choral
Make crafts with senior Perform for a cultural festival performance
citizens Produce photo essays about a Teach classes through
Create artwork to decorate a community issue and put Community Education
public space them on the web Perform for community groups
Career and Make posters introducing Build specialized disability- Use GPS to map community
Technical local business and adaptive equipment resources
community leaders Repair bicycles Teach computer use
Education Put on a puppet show about Paint or repair houses Develop web sites for
different types of jobs Produce promotional video community groups
Health and Make posters on healthy Hold a health fair Hold a blood drive
Physical nutrition Organize a health campaign on Educate peers about AIDS and
Demonstrate fun ways to healthy diets STDs
Education exercise Promote a community-based Coach younger students
Cook healthy treats athletic teams Organize a walk-a-thon
World Post words in other Teach language lessons to Translate materials
Languages languages for common primary school children Develop curriculum
objects around school Organize welcome for new Make books for children in a
Perform at a cultural fair immigrants foreign language
MPS Teacher Guide to Service-Learning - 10 - 1/13/06
H. Assessing Learning through Service4
National Study Group on Service-Learning and Assessment (NSLAN)
1. What do you want your students to know and be able to do?
2. What are the students’ questions, concerns, and issues?
3. What are the community’s questions, concerns, and issues?
4. How will you meet 1, 2, and 3? What instructional strategy will you use?
5. Learning Activity (Must involve significant content; engage the students; promote active
6. What products or performances will result from the learning activity? Which one(s) will be
used as evidence of achieving 1, 2 and 3?
7. How will you rate or score the products or performances? What scoring guides will you use?
8. What tools will you use to measure the community impact as a result of the learning activity?
9. Teacher: Reflect on the process. How did this work? How will you use the results? What
unanticipated outcomes resulted? How will this activity be linked to school/district
assessment systems? What would you do differently next time?
(NSLAN was a project of the Vermont Department of Education funded by the Corporation for National Service.)
Evidence of Learning These include:
• Products of service (e.g. photos, videos,
Service-learning projects can generate a wealth papers, journals, reports, artwork, etc.)
of products that demonstrate student learning. In • Performances (such as presentations by
the words of Kirk Schneidawind of St. Peter, students on their projects)
“You can’t assess everything.” An important • Direct observation (by teachers, site
choice about any service-learning project is to supervisors, clients, or peers)
determine what is important to assess. • Interviews (of individual students or groups
Another important decision is to select the best • Peer assessment
methods for documenting evidence of learning. • Traditional assignments (such as research
Material in this section comes from Assessing Learning through Service (1999) published by the
Minnesota Department of Education (MDE). A videotape of teachers demonstrating these methods is
also available from MDE. The study guide includes examples of assessment tools.
MPS Teacher Guide to Service-Learning - 11 - 1/13/06
Assessing Learning through Service continued. Portfolios, a third popular tool of performance-
based assessment, help students gain awareness
of how they are learning. Most commonly
Rating Performance known as tools to document growth over the
students’ entire school career, portfolios can also
Two powerful tools to communicate and to rate
help students see what they have learned through
the quality of service-learning performance are:
a specific service project.
• Checklists - A list of criteria which
• Portfolio - A purposeful, integrated
describe a quality performance or product.
collection of student work that documents
progress over time or degree of proficiency.
• Rubrics - Criteria for scoring or rating
students’ performance. Typically, rubrics
consist of a fixed measurement scale, often
arranged on a grid, (e.g. a four point
rubric), and a description of the
qualities of the products or performances
being measured for each score point.
Relationship Between Tools of Performance-Based Assessment
Document Communicate Standards
Growth Document Growth • Checklists -
Throughout Over Course Criteria for quality Formative
School • Rubrics -
• Portfolios - Assessment
Years Growth over project Levels of quality
• Portfolios - e.g. photograph
- Transcripts progress of work
- Lifework • Ongoing Feedback
Rate Performance Fairly • Products of Service -
e.g. photos, videos, papers,
• Checklists - journals, reports, artwork, etc.
Criteria for quality • Performances -
• Rubrics - • Observation -
Summative Levels of quality • Interviews -
Assessment Individuals or groups
MPS Teacher Guide to Service-Learning - 12 - 1/13/06
I. Reflecting on Service-Learning Experiences
Structured reflection is essential to effective service-learning. Every teacher already employs reflection
methods. Yet service-learning is unique because of complex and often powerful interaction with the
wider community, high student responsibility, and a “learning-by-doing” methodology. This section aims
to expand the range of reflection tools during all points of service lessons.
Books or quotations can raise important
questions and stimulate deep thinking and Journals help students explore the inner self.
exploration. Service-learning can make reading Directed writing assignments hone critical
more relevant. analysis. Directed writing may reinforce
academic content. Directed writings may be
graded for writing technique, as well as
reasoning and presentation of evidence.
Directed writing assignments might include:
Journals • Respond to a book, speaker, movie, work of
art, or activity.
There are many types of journals, each set up by • Research a topic related to service. (e.g.
the teacher’s instructions. Some record detailed Explore health insurance costs in relation to
observations in a disciplined way. Some help a health-related project).
students become aware of their own growth. • Apply concepts studied in class to situations
Most instill self-awareness. encountered during service. (e.g. A civics
class could ask students to explain how
Teachers typically read and acknowledge structures of local government affect those
insightful journal entries, but do not evaluate the program is supposed to help.)
writing technique. Open-ended directed
questions provoke further thought. (e.g. Expert Papers
“Describe your first reactions to the service
site.”) Grades may depend on regular and A student writes an essay explaining in depth
complete writing. Instructors date their some area of expertise developed through his or
comments. Students must give permission for her service. (e.g. "Why Some Americans Live
entries to be copied or read to class. in the Streets," "Aging Gracefully: Options for
Retired Citizens in Our Community," or
Journals often fit one of three types: "Getting Around Town in a Wheelchair." Other
Reactions, including feelings; reporting facts, options include videos, photo essays, skits, or
personal concerns, or issues; team-building games.
Elaboration on an idea; expounding on an
incident; comparisons or generalizations;
Contemplations about oneself, one’s roles, or
social or ethical issues
(adapted from Surbeck, 1991).
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Discussion or Dialogue
Discussion is closed. Participants in discussions Dialogue is open. Participants in dialogue
present and defend opinions and beliefs. Each exchange ideas. The goal is to hear and try to
person seeks to convince the others to accept their understand differing points of view. Dialogue
view. Discussion clarifies positions and can aid fosters exploration of ideas. Dialogue best
analysis. facilitates reflection.
Verbal Reflection examine ideas in depth as the group gains
experience with group reflection techniques.
Cognitive reflection works best with twelve to
Dialogue can deepen understanding. Explore fifteen students. Split a class using a
new ideas. Evaluate effectiveness. Address "fishbowl”: half the students speak while sitting
challenges. Plan. A team can talk through in a circle in the middle of the room. The others
frustrations, personal issues and service site observe from outside the circle.
problems. It can move beyond credit or blame
to work on functioning better as individuals and Have two session leaders, a facilitator and a
as a team. Identify and understand feelings in a commentator. One is primarily listening. The
cultural and personal context. other is more directive. (Kennedy, 1991)
Student as Expert A facilitator keeps dialogue open and relevant,
keeping things moving and making sure
Students each take a piece of the picture to everyone stays involved. Open-ended questions
research in depth and share. Students in and follow-up questions encourage deeper
placements become expert in the issues related thought, and move from personal feelings to
to their site. Students in projects become expert general insights. With some coaching, students
in a particular area. (e.g. For a health fair, sub- can take turns as facilitator.
groups might focus on speakers, promotion, site
arrangements, media relations or evaluation.) In A commentator listens carefully and stops
class, student experts share information, solicit discussion when opportunities arise to move
ideas, get input on plans and coordinate with from affective to cognitive learning. The
other student experts. commentator uses "guideposts" or reflective
tools to focus attention on a specific cognitive
Reflection facilitates consensus building and skill (see box next page). He/she helps students
teaches democratic action. Students learn to to internalize ideas into a mental framework, to
respect and trust others as they practice both examine ideas more deeply, and to sort through
leading and following. and choose possible solutions.
Cognitive Reflection For an example of cognitive reflection see how a
group chooses a service project::
Regular cognitive reflection sessions help
students understand and practice critical thinking 1) Students begin by listing project ideas they
and problem-solving skills: categorizing, have identified through needs assessment
generalizing, analyzing and synthesizing. activities.
In initial sessions students share what has
happened in service settings. Later sessions
MPS Teacher Guide to Service-Learning - 14 - 1/13/06
2) Students then categorize projects using 4) Students make inferences about the projects
groupings such as issue or time commitment based on their analysis. What would happen
and community need. if our group did this project or that one?
3) Students analyze the lists and make sense of Which will be most interesting? Which will
them. What is the relationship between have the greatest impact on the community?
project ideas and the issues they address?
Which are most important? 5) Students synthesize the discussion so far.
What are our choices? Which is best?
Tools for Cognitive Reflection
• Explain to students the difference between discussion and dialogue.
• Explain the difference between analytical and relational modes of thinking. In service-learning,
students begin with direct experience rather than with a set of abstract facts. Students must learn to
explore relationships between ideas and information gained through experience, and to use their
newfound knowledge in practical problem-solving.
• Build a structure for memory. Show students methods and techniques for remembering important
ideas and information: associate and order information with rhymes, numbers, places or mnemonics;
visioning ideas and information, especially when acquired in service settings. Students must be able
to remember where they got information or ideas and be able to recall them as needed in reflection
sessions, presentations, writing assignments, etc.
• Categorize. Organizing observations, ideas and thoughts requires individuals and groups to
examine and understand them. Categorization should be a constant.
• Move from experience to the abstract. Facilitators and commentators both should seek constantly
to move students from specific, isolated instances to abstract, generalizable issues.
• Stretch and strengthen self-esteem and self-efficacy. Throughout reflection sessions, validate the
importance of student experiences and ideas. As students engage in meaningful, productive
discussion, their ideas take on importance.
• Remind students of the difference between reflection and impulse. Students must get beyond
saying and doing the first thing that comes into their heads. Help them stop, reflect, relate and talk
• Celebrate the sounds of literary thought. At relevant points, read and talk about short quotations or
passages from literature. Have students memorize important pieces.
• Recognize independent thought which diverges from the group. When one student takes an
antithetical position in a reflection session, defuse group hostility while keeping the individual in the
group. Remind students that in reflective dialogue, the point is to understand, not necessarily to be
(adapted from Silcox, p. 67 and 83-84)
MPS Teacher Guide to Service-Learning - 15 - 1/13/06
Object Reflection Words to Prompt Reflection:
Artwork or distinctive objects from a service site • Say more about that. Explain.
help students use sight and touch to draw out • Why do you think that happens?
ideas and extend understanding. • How do you know? Give your evidence.
• What is the connection between what you
Pass around the object. Ask students to examine said and ?
and silently try to identify it and its use. Then • What other explanation is there?
ask students to share their ideas, including • Who disagrees? Why do you disagree?
wrong guesses. With each idea, share some of • What would you like to see happen?
the story of the object, where it came from, what • What would you need to do to make
it is made of, what it is, how it is used, its happen?
history and its value to different people. (e.g. A
bed pan could stimulate discussion about
medical technology and skills, and feelings, such Words to Affirm Participation:
as a loss of independence.)
• Take your time. Say more when you are
Group Activities/Games • I like the way you said that. I like it when
the group talks this way.
Directed Activities • That's a good question. We only learn
when we ask questions.
Activities nurture physical and verbal • Your comments are important.
participation in reflection and can stimulate
dialogue. Always debrief every activity. (adapted from Silcox, p. 66)
Examples include role playing, audience
participation theater, initiative games Reflection Resources
(sometimes called challenge games), and topical
or issue-related games. • Kennedy, Mary. (1991.) "An Agenda for
Research on Teacher Learning," a special
Creative Activity report from the National Center for Research
on Teacher Training, Michigan State
Working together to create an interpretive work
of art requires students to reflect deeply about • RMC Research Corporation. (2004).
their experiences in order to express thoughts Connecting Thinking and Action: Ideas for
and feelings. To edit a video for example, Service-Learning Reflection. Denver, CO.
students must understand what was important On-line free at www.servicelearning.org.
about the experience, and how they will
communicate it through music, script and • Silcox, Harry C. (1993.) A How to Guide to
images. Reflection: Adding Cognitive Learning to
Community Service Programs. Brighton Press
Inc., for Pennsylvania Institute for
Paintings, drawings, poems, songs or sculptures Environmental and Community Service
may involve individuals or groups. Students Learning. Brighton Press Inc., 64 Lempa Rd.,
must discuss how, what and why they are Holland, PA 18966.
communicating through their art. A thoughtful,
persistent line of questioning can help students • Surbeck, Elaine, Eunhye Park Han and Joan E.
to reflect deeply and to focus their work. Moyer. (March, 1991) "Assessing Reflective
Responses in Journals," Educational
Leadership, 48, 6: 25-27.
MPS Teacher Guide to Service-Learning - 16 - 1/13/06
Minneapolis Public Schools
Service-Learning Lesson Planning Form
Name School Year ______ Grade _____
School Subject ___________ # Students _____
# Adult Volunteers _____
a. Need Addressed f. Curriculum Matches i. Products & Assessments
b. Service Provided
c. Population Served
d. Site/Community g. Standards & Objectives j. Evaluation - Measures of
e. Student Leadership Roles h. Instructional Strategies k. Reflection Activities
MPS Teacher Guide to Service-Learning - 17 - 1/13/06
MPS Service-Learning Resource List
MPS Community Service/Leadership Elective Credits and Student Government
Pam Olson, Student Activities, Room 100, MPS, 807 NE Broadway, Minneapolis, MN 55413
(612) 668-0157 Pam.Olson@mpls.k12.mn.us
National Service-Learning Clearinghouse. Funded by the Corporation for National and Community
Service, the clearinghouse offers a vast and useful repository of on-line resources on a wide range of
practical topics from assessment tools and curriculum to inter-generational programs and tutoring
instruction for students. www.servicelearning.org You may also call toll free (866) 245-7378.
National Youth Leadership Council. Holds annual National Service-Learning Conference.
Center for Democracy and Citizenship, Hubert H. Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, University of
Minnesota, 301 19th Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55455. (612) 625-0142.
www.publicachievement.org Public Achievement is a youth civic engagement initiative organized out of
the Center for Democracy and Citizenship. The Public Achievement web site includes many resources
useful to teachers and others for civic engagement projects.
EcoEducation, Suite 375, 210 East 10th Street, St. Paul, MN 55101. (651) 222-7691.
www.ecoeducation.org. Provides support, structure, and curriculum for teachers implementing urban
Minnesota Department of Children, Families & Learning. http://education.state.mn.us >> Education
Programs >> Adult and Career Education and Service-Learning Michelle Kamenov (651) 582-8434.
Funds Learn and Serve grant program at school district level. Holds bi-annual state conference.
Organizes a network of Peer Consultants for Service-Learning. One Peer Consultant, Michael
VanKeulen, is a high school teacher/director in Minneapolis. (612) 375-0700.
Volunteer Resource Center www.volunteertwincities.org Features an “Especially for Youth” page with
information including service opportunities and national service days.
Achieve!Minneapolis Foundation for the Minneapolis Public Schools. www.achieveminneapolis.org
Cairn & Associates, Rich and Susan Cairn. 3715 45th Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN 55406. (612) 722-
5806. firstname.lastname@example.org National experts in service-learning who are aiding MPS to strengthen its
MPS Teacher Guide to Service-Learning - 18 - 1/13/06
Rich Cairn, Cairn & Associates, Author
• Elaine Eschenbacher, Center for Democracy and Citizenship
• Christopher Feider, Eco Education
• Carole Klopp, National Youth Leadership Council
• Laura Matanah, Teacher, Ramsey Fine Arts
• Pam Olson, Student Activities, Minneapolis Public Schools
• Mike Van Keulen, High School Director, Volunteers of America Minnesota
Minneapolis Learn and Serve Advisory Committee
• Al Ickler, Community Education Manager, Minneapolis Community Education
• Hedy Walls, Minneapolis Public Schools, Safe and Drug-Free Schools
• Rich Cairn, Cairn & Associates (Contract Service-Learning Specialist)
• Brenda Eccleston, Minneapolis Community Education
• Elaine Eschenbacher, Center for Democracy and Citizenship
• Christopher Feider, Eco Education
• Bernard Gill, National Youth Leadership Council
• Amanda Hane, VISTA, Minneapolis Public Schools
• Carole Klopp, National Youth Leadership Council
• Beth Lasley, Community School Coordinator, North High School
• Jennifer Lick, Minneapolis Foundation
• Leon Oman, Minneapolis Community Education
• Jack Tamble, Director, Minneapolis Community Education
• Mike Van Keulen, High School Director, Volunteers of America Minnesota
Produced with support from:
MPS Teacher Guide to Service-Learning - 19 - 1/13/06
MPS Teacher Guide to Service-Learning - 20 - 1/13/06