Once upon a time in my school we had what were called “Activity Periods” that altered the normal school schedule for one day a week, allowing students to join clubs that met during that period. Another teacher and I ran what we called “The Give Back Club” which was basically a club where we did community service projects that “gave back” to the community. Those activity periods gave way to more class time due to state testing long ago, but I still like to involve my students in community service projects throughout the year, depending on the topics, lessons and units we are covering. Below are a variety of easy, inexpensive projects that students can create to help give back to their communities. If you have any other suggestions, please let me know in the comment section below.
As a child I loved doing arts and crafts and still do today! As a parent I loved doing them with my own children! Crafts have hidden benefits that many don’t realize, not only in creating them, but also in teaching others how to create them. This lesson helps students break down their ideas into easy to understand steps using Snapguide technology to help them convey directions and visuals to create a flower!
During my unit titled “Off to College”, we talk about a variety of topics related to college living and dorm life. One of these topics includes the “Freshmen 15”. Students always wonder if it’s true and if so, how does it happen. Since students were curious, I decided to let them figure out the answers by having them research the topic and create a game board that incorporated all of the information they learned in a fun, creative and competitive way. Students took turns playing each others games, providing feedback and learning something about the “Freshman 15”!
Many young people today think they are just going to go out there and have their “dream” apartment (like they see on TV), complete with top of the line furnishings, etc. Realistically, most will find they will be grateful for any free or hand-me-down furnishings (although they don’t realize that now). I wanted students to create a “dream” living room where money was no object. Their furnishings were based on their personal style, using the web-based technology Polyvore Home and they had to keep a list of expenses. Then, they had to replicate the room on a reduced budget as closely as possible using online department stores, again keeping track of their expenses. Not only did this project end up being an eye-opener for them in terms of cost, but they learned they could have a similar look, spending much less money. Oh, and did I mention, they also had a lot of fun “decorating and shopping” for a period or two!
I have a confession to make…I am fascinated with silly monsters! They are just too stinkin’ cute! So when I wanted my students make no-sew bean bags in my Child Development class for activities to do with toddlers to help develop their large motor skills and balance, I couldn’t resist using silly monsters as my theme. Students not only enjoyed making the bean bags and applying their creativity, but also had fun participating in the activities they created to go with them!
After studying various cuisines from around the world students use technology to create their very own restaurant. Students decide on the type of cuisine they want to serve, the style of restaurant, the location, menu items, menu style & layout, and create a commercial. This is a project based unit incorporating 21st century skills!
In adult life there are many practical questions that require problem solving skills and a little math. This lesson has students figure out the benefits and costs to joining a shopping club like Sam’s Club. Guide your students through a real life case study that requires lots of critical thinking, a little math and the chance to use Excel!