In 5th grade Social Studies, we mostly learn about the history of what is the United States. I have brought a component to 5th Grade Social Studies that involves current needs in our community through Service Learning. The MN Social Studies Standard 126.96.36.199.2 states Identify a public problem in the school or community, analyze the issue from multiple perspectives, and create an action plan to address it. My favorite project is the one we do in October that benefits those adults and children living in shelters in Duluth called Socktober. You can see on Twitter, using #Socktober, that projects like ours happen all over the country. I have read about many other ways to do this Service Learning Project, but this is what we do.
At the end of September, the 5th graders have learned to make slide presentations and need practice. Groups of students work together to make a slide presentation that they will use to tell younger students about Socktober. They also make a poster that they give to the class to hang in or near their classroom as a reminder. We post coupons and deals on our school's Twitter feed and FaceBook Page. Once each week in October, the students go to the classroom where they presented and they collect new, packaged socks from the youngsters. They count the socks and tally on an all-school chart. At the end of the month we add up all the pairs of socks and donate the adult ones to a homeless shelter and the kid-sized ones to our local clothing depository for needy children. Last year we collected 1199 pairs of socks! The kids were wildly excited to meet this standard!
Here's a picture of our students and their 2014 sock collection.
We participate in some Service Learning Project each month of the school year. Our schedule of activities this year goes like this:
September: Build and stock a Little Free Library for our playground
November: Toys, Treats and Tour of Animal Allies Humane Society
December: Mitten Month
January: Blankets for Bethany Crisis Shelter children
February: Valentines for Mount Royal Pines Assisted Living
March: School-wide food drive
Day Month Neighborhood cleanup
May: Build corn hole and checkers playground games
It's always fun to share our time and talents with others! What a great learning experience! What kinds of Service Learning Projects do you do? I'm always looking for more ideas!