Thursday, November 5, 2015

Top 3 Service ideas for Middle Schoolers

I live by the phrase "To whom much is given, much is expected."
I like to ask my middle schoolers what they think about this phrase too.  What does it mean?  Do they think it's true?  Why do they think that?  What is expected? 

Generally they come up with the idea of "paying it forward" but they're not really sure how.  So I always have some ready to go ideas that I will share with you today.


Have you ever heard of Operation Christmas Child?  It's an organization that collects shoeboxes full of gifts to give to children in all parts of the world.  For the children who receive these gifts, this is the one and only gift they'll receive for Christmas or for any other reason.  When you tell your middle schoolers that the children won't be getting video games or iPhone or movies or any of the high priced things they hope to receive, they'll be thunderstruck.  They won't believe it's true.  So you might want to show them a video like the one below of children in the poorest countries screaming with glee as they receive their shoebox.

  And then you might just find some students who would like to help you make a class box.  I make one for each class period.  If a student says they can't donate anything to the box, I have them write a letter to the recipient.  This way everyone contributes.



Another great way to be of service is to form relationships with your local seniors at an assisted living facility.

What began as a Christmas Caroling and Craft event quickly turned into a relationship between my 6th graders and our "Grandfriends".  On our way home after that cool, December day, one student said "When can we go back?" and when everyone else wanted to know the same thing, I knew what we had to do.

    We played BINGO with them, invited them to judge speech contests, had picnic lunches with them and then had the idea to host a 100th birthday party for one our best friends.

It was the most rewarding experience ever as the students thought about someone else and planned events to make these people feel like royalty.  In turn, they taught my students the value of a life well spent with stories of work ethic and good, clean fun without technology.

You may never know the impact such a relationship can have on all involved, but you will see growth in your students that you may never have thought possible.



One more way to be of service is to spread awareness.  This sounds "cheesy" to students sometimes until you introduce them to the PSA - Public Service Announcement.  I like to show old ones that make important points, but could maybe use a more modern flair to get people's attention.  

Then I challenge students to  create one for something they feel strongly about.  We use things like and iMovie just to name a couple.  Then I get them played on our morning TV announcements.  

Be ready!  Sometimes these PSAs turn into various drives at school and you'll find yourself collecting cans of dog food for the local shelter.  It's all worth it of course, as long as the students are the ones really doing the work.  :)

What do you do at your school to promote service learning?  Join in the conversation by commenting below!

Thanks for stopping by!

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