Can You Lend a Helping Hand?

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  • Lesson Identification and TEKS Addressed

    Cluster : Career Development

    Course : Career Portals: Middle School

  • TEKS Student Expectations

    • (4) The student explores the professional skills needed for college and career success. The student is expected to:
      • (G) recognize the value of community service and volunteerism
  • Basic Direct Teach Lesson

    Instructional Objectives

    Students will:

    • recognize the value of service learning
    • develop skills to identify, plan and implement service-learning activities with other students and community partners to address local and global issues
    • use technology to research service learning projects and models
    • implement the plans, document, assess, and reflect on a service learning experience
  • Rationale


    This lesson will focus on service learning and volunteering.
    Does anyone currently volunteer? What do you do? How does it help others? If you’ve never been involved in service learning or volunteered your time for a worthy cause, would you consider it? Have you ever benefited because someone was willing to volunteer? Maybe at a school carnival, a festival in your community? Why should we volunteer?

  • Duration of Lesson

    Three 45 minute class periods plus additional class time to carry out service learning projects

  • Word Wall

    Citizenship: The state of being vested with the rights, privileges, and duties of a citizen

    Civic Duty: The responsibilities of a citizen

    Community Service: Voluntary work, intended to be for the common good, usually done as part of an organized scheme

    Communication: The imparting or interchange of thoughts, opinions, or information by speech, writing, or signs

    Community: A social group of any size whose members reside in a specific locality, share government, and often have a common cultural and historical heritage

    Interpersonal Communication: Includes message sending and message reception between two or more individuals. This can include all aspects of communication such as listening, persuading, asserting, nonverbal communication, and more

    Neighborhood Community: A district or locality, often with reference to its character or inhabitants that perceive itself as a district within itself

    School Community: A social group sharing an education community and perceived or perceiving itself as distinct in some respect from the larger society within which it exists

    Service: The act of a helpful activity

    Evaluate: To determine the significance, worth, or condition of usually by careful appraisal and study

    Reflect: Think carefully about what has been or could be done and about the consequences and implications of actions

    Service Learning: A method of teaching and learning: changes lives by engaging students; provides relevant hands-on service for schools and communities; gives students the opportunity to gain and apply valuable knowledge and skills related to classroom studies

    Volunteer: Person who performs a service willingly and without pay

  • Materials/Specialized Equipment Needed


    • computer with projector for multimedia presentation
    • a Smart Board or Dry Erase board to complete graphic organizer
    • computer and Internet access for each student


    • camera
    • board/flip chart and markers
    • large sheets of paper
    • magazines, newspapers, other research materials
    • materials will vary by what project your class decides to participate in
    • paper/card stock to print quotes
    • posters from different agencies to be displayed throughout the room:
      • American Red Cross/American Cancer Society
      • homeless shelter
      • local food banks
      • recycling center
      • senior citizen centers
      • local hospice providers
      • other local organization

    • copies of handouts (see All Lesson Attachments tab)
  • Anticipatory Set

    Before class begins:

    • The day before this lesson, select a student and ask them to “accidentally” drop all of their books and classroom supplies onto the floor as they walk into the classroom. Instruct the student to come into the class immediately before the tardy bell rings so that all of your class will be present to observe.

    In addition:

    • Locate a Youtube video such as Service Learning Project Ideas
      and have it running as students walk into the classroom.
    • Gather or make visuals. Create a gallery of service learning opportunities by posting names or posters from different agencies throughout the classroom. Local newspapers also provide information about problems or issues in the community.


    • American Cancer Society
    • American Red Cross
    • local food bank
    • local homeless shelters
    • recycling center
    • senior citizen centers
    • local hospice providers
    • other local organization
    • your school (image)


    As students enter the classroom, allow them to examine the service learning materials that you have placed in the classroom. Wait for the previously selected student to “make their grand entrance.”

    As the selected student drops their supplies, immediately make your way to the student and assist with picking up items and helping student get re-situated. Other students may have also stopped what they were doing to assist the student.

    Ask the following questions:

    • How do you think ___________ felt when he/she dropped his/her supplies?
      • Possible responses may include: upset, helpless, embarrassed, humiliated, stressed, sad
    • How do you think __________ felt when I came to help?
      • Possible responses: relieved, thankful, supported, less embarrassed or stressed.
    • Did I (the teacher) have to help? Did ____________have to help?
    • Why do you think I helped ____________?

    I made the decision to help, in essence, I “VOLUNTEERED” to help ______.
    _______ needed help, I noticed his/her need and offered my assistance because it was the right thing to do.

    Is anyone in this room familiar with the term “SERVICE LEARNING?” Write the words on the board.

    It involves volunteering our time, effort and skills, but it also addresses what we are learning in our classroom.

    Allow students to brainstorm and identify several school or community needs. Create a list based on their ideas and post in a visible location of the classroom. This list will be re-visited during Independent Practice.

    Guiding questions may include:

    • What needs do you see in our school?
    • What needs do you see in our community?
    • What is ..(name of an organization)…..?
    • What services do they provide for our community?

    Have class members share a service learning project they have participated in. Discuss the correlation between effective communication skills and a successful service learning project.

    Distribute KWL Chart – Service Learning (see All Lesson Attachments tab) and instruct students to complete the K and W columns. The L column will be completed once the service learning project has ended.

    Note: An additional KWL Chart, entitled KWL Chart Service Learning Project (see All Lesson Attachments tab) has been included to be used with each SPECIFIC Service Learning Project selected.

    Optional Activities:

    • Distribute How People Communicate with Each Other (see All Lesson Attachments tab) handout to be completed with a partner. Discuss findings.
    • Distribute The Perfect Service Learner (see All Lesson Attachments tab) and allow students to write in terms that describe the qualities of a perfect service learner. The silhouettes may be cut out and displayed on the classroom walls or hallway, if allowed.

  • Direct Instruction with Special Education Modifications/Accommodations

    Before class begins:

    Familiarize yourself with all aspects of this lesson. You may choose to select a different service learning model or process other than the one included in the slide presentation.

    Regardless of the wording, make sure the plan contains the following:

    • Investigation: Allows students to examine what they already know and what they will need to learn in order to meet the community needs.
    • Preparation/Planning: Identify specific learning goals and what students will need to study to reach them.
    • Action: How will students apply the new knowledge and skills?
    • Reflection: Reflection is important because it allows students to tie the service with learning. It allows them to respond to: “How I changed because of what I learned….”
    • Demonstration/Celebration: Allows students to show and share what they learned.


    Introduce lesson objectives, terms and definitions.

    Distribute handout Note taking – Can You Lend a Helping Hand? (see All Lesson Attachments tab). Instruct students to take notes during upcoming slide presentation.

    Introduce slide presentation Can You Lend a Helping Hand? (see All Lesson Attachments tab). Allow time for questions, and class discussion throughout the presentation. Focus on the needs of each group noted in the slide presentation.

    Throughout this lesson many opportunities are provided for the students to observe, discuss and respond. Student leadership and youth voice are critical components of service learning.

    Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for all special education students must be followed. Examples of accommodations may include, but are not limited to:

    • providing students with copies of slide show presentation notes
    • placing students in groups with peer tutors who will include all group members in discussions and other group activities
  • Guided Practice with Special Education Modifications/Accommodations

    Before class begins:

    Print and cut out 30 Service Learning Quotes (see All Lesson Attachments tab).


    Distribute a service learning quote to each student as they enter the classroom. Instruct students to individually read their quote and then find a partner. Each partner will take turns reading their quote and share personal thoughts about their quote. Students will then exchange quotes and select a new partner. Have students continue changing partners, reading, sharing and trading quotes. Allow activity to last for 5 minutes. Teacher will call time at one minute intervals.
    Use a timer or to assist with keeping time.

    When the five minutes are up, instruct students to read and think about the quote that remained in their possession. Encourage several students to share their thoughts with the class.

    Ask students for words or descriptions that came to mind when they were reading the quotes and participating in the previous activity. List the words on the board or a flip chart. Ask students to think about themes or patterns in the words on the list.

    Collect quotes for future use.

    Note: Some of the previous activities were developed by international service-learning consultant and author, Cathryn Berger Kaye and have been incorporated with her permission. More information can be located at

    Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for all special education students must be followed. Examples of accommodations may include, but are not limited to:

    • allowing students to work with a partner or team
    • providing a paper copy of one of the projects
    • reading and summarizing the information into three main points
    • allow students to work with a peer tutor as a reading partner and answer the questions orally

  • Independent Practice/Laboratory Experience with Special Education Modifications/Accommodations

    Teacher Notes:

    Your role in service learning is that of facilitator. Assist by recommending resources, but force (strongly encourage) them to collaborate and make decisions. By doing so, you will empower your students with these vital 21st Century Skills. It is important for students to express their youth voice and lead the project themselves.

    Actual service learning projects may take longer than five days. Students can continue to work on the projects on a flexible time schedule. This can be done as a class or with smaller groups of students.

    For YOUR convenience, three reference documents for three clusters have been included:
    Sample Service Learning Projects – Education and Training (see All Lesson Attachments tab)
    Sample Service Learning Projects – Hospitality and Tourism (see All Lesson Attachments tab)
    Sample Service Learning Projects – Human Services (see All Lesson Attachments tab)

    The website also provides numerous service learning lesson plans for projects that have been done throughout the United States.

    Inform students that in this segment of the lesson, THEY will plan and implement a service-learning activity.

    Activity for Selecting a Service Learning Project:

    Use the Think, Pair, Share strategy to assist class in determining their service learning project. As a class, have students revisit the list of school and community needs they created during Guided Practice.

    After discussing different options on the list, allow students three minutes to individually write down as many community service learning ideas as they can. Have students rank the top five ideas on their list 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, with number one being their top choice.

    Have students pair up with a partner and each share their top five (5) service learning ideas. After the pairs have shared their ideas, have them select the best three ideas between the two of them. Allow a three (3) minute discussion for this activity. Call time.

    Have students pair with a different partner for three additional minutes to share the remaining ideas. Call time and have students return to their assigned seats.

    Appoint a recorder. Have team members take turns volunteering their service learning ideas. Recorder will write out all ideas on the board or a sheet of butcher paper.

    Do a Think-Pair-Share with pros and cons of the three (3) ideas selected. After a discussion, the class will vote on the service learning project they will complete.

    Once a project is selected, distribute KWL Chart – Service Learning Project ___________________ (see All Lessons Attachment tab) and instruct students to complete the K and W columns. The L column will be completed once the service learning project has ended.

    Teacher Script:

    By participating in the actual service learning project that this class has decided on, we are going to be taking learning outside of the classroom. You will each experience the act of serving out in the real world.

    Example: Students select to:

    • assist the homeless in their community by sponsoring a food drive at school
    • donating the collected goods to the local food bank
    • physically helping out at the local food bank.

    Once a project has been selected, distribute Service Learning Rubric (see All Lesson Attachments tab) so that students will understand how the project will be assessed. The rubric should be modified to meet your students needs.

    Students will practice their communication and develop their service learning skills by:

    • designating, assigning and accepting roles and responsibilities for the project
    • developing a list of needed materials and other resources
    • conducting research on the services provided by the local food bank
    • identifying whether their project idea will meet the needs of the community
    • contacting the general manager of the local food bank to discuss service learning project and opportunity to assist at the food bank facility
    • requesting campus and parental permission and making necessary arrangements with school officials regarding off campus service learning project
    • requesting approval from district officials to participate in project
    • determining a timeline for project
    • identifying costs involved
    • determine and organize
    • determine and implement marketing strategies (create posters, announcements, flyers)
    • developing a plan for collecting, storing and delivering of canned foods
    • research location/distance between food bank and school
    • transportation needs
    • schedule the delivery trip
    • deliver all the canned foods collected

    One student should be assigned to take pictures throughout the course of the activity.

    Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for all special education students must be followed. Examples of accommodations may include, but are not limited to:

    • providing students with a community need or concern
    • allowing students to complete a reduced number of planning steps
    • allowing students to respond orally instead of in writing
    • working with a partner or a team

  • Lesson Closure

    Review lesson objectives, terms and definitions.

    Complete the final column of the KWL Chart – Service Learning.

    After an actual service project:

    What was the identified need?
    What did we do to fill that need?
    Make a list on the board of all of the pros and cons of the selected service learning project.
    How could we improve our project, our performance?


    In order to determine the response to and quality of the overall project,, solicit feedback in the form of a survey from the individuals/organization that was/were served. As a class, create a list of questions that could be included in this survey, asking what could have been done to make this project/event even better for the future. Once survey has been completed, proofed and edited, send out to participants in a mail our email.

  • Summative/End of Lesson Assessment with Special Education Modifications/Accommodations

    Actual Service Project will be assessed with appropriate rubric.

    Have students write a personal reflection on what they learned about or from the service learning experience and how this knowledge will help them in the future. They may refer back to questions and answers from discussion during lesson closure.

    When applicable, discuss the replies from the surveys that were returned by the individuals/organization that was served.

    Individualized Education Plan (IEP) for all special education students must be followed. Examples of accommodations may include, but are not limited to:

    • allowing students to work with a partner
    • providing student with a list of guiding questions to chose from
    • allowing student to complete a limited number of questions
    • allowing students to reflect orally
    • grading according to work done
    • providing praise and encouragement
  • References/Resources


    • Kaye, C. B. (2010). The complete guide to service learning. Free Spirit Publishing.
    • Silverstein, Shel The Giving Tree
    • Mortenson, Greg and Roth, Susan L. Listen to the Wind: The Story of Dr. Greg and Three Cups of Tea
    • Mortenson, Gred and Relin, David Oliver Three Cups of Tea: The Young Adult Version


    • National Service Learning Clearinghouse
      A web page with lesson plans, success stories, and information about other resources for service learning.
    • Service Learning
      A website with information on service-learning and information on the LEADERS model of service learning.
    • The Corporation for National and Community Service is a federal agency that engages more than five million Americans in service through Senior Corps, AmeriCorps, and Learn and Serve America, and leads President Obama’s national call to service initiative, United We Serve.
    • Youth Service America
      Provides resources and funding for service learning. Students can register their projects.

    YouTube™ Videos:

  • Additional Required Components

    English Language Proficiency Standards (ELPS) Strategies

  • College and Career Readiness Connection

    AchieveTexas Career Cluster Crosswalks

    The Career Cluster Crosswalks housed on the AchieveTexas website provide Texas teachers with a direct connection between their CTE course TEKS and the College and Career Readiness Standards (CCRS). Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies, and Cross-Disciplinary integration are the focus of the CCRS. These college and career readiness standards are essential in the planning and delivery of CTE lessons. The extent to which the integration occurs is determined by the methods and strategies utilized by each teacher.

    Career Cluster Crosswalks for Education and Training, Hospitality and Tourism, and Human Services Career Clusters can be found at:

  • Recommended Strategies

    Reading Strategies

    • Incorporate current events- Students can explore articles about the benefits of volunteering and community service in newspapers, magazines, or the Internet.
    • Encourage students to connect reading to their life experiences or prior knowledge.
    • Word Attack Stategies. Prior to reading, allow students to skim the passage or text, circling words that are unfamiliar to them. Once these words are decoded (glossary, dictionary,, classroom discussion) the student will have a better understanding of the pronunciation and meaning of the unfamiliar word(s) facilitating comprehension.
  • Quotes

    Teacher Note: You can show the YouTube video, “Why Volunteer?” that integrates many quotes.

    We are prone to judge success by the index of our salaries or the size of our automobiles, rather than by the quality of our service relationship to humanity.
    -Martin Luther King, Jr.

    You make a living by what you get. You make a life by what you give.
    - Winston Churchill

    The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.
    - Ghandi

  • Multimedia/Visual Strategies


    • Can You Lend a Helping Hand?


    Files for downloading:

  • Graphic Organizers/Handout

    Graphic Organizers:

    • How People Communicate with Each Other
    • KWL Chart – Service Learning
    • KWL Chart – Service Learning Project (specific)
    • Note taking – Can You Lend a Helping Hand
    • The Perfect Service Learner


    • 30 Service Learning Quotes
    • 90 Second Speech Planner
    • Sample Service Learning Projects – Education and Training
    • Sample Service Learning Projects – Hospitality and Tourism
    • Sample Service Learning Projects – Human Services
    • Service Learning Log
    • Service Learning Rubric
    • Word Cloud – Service Learning

    Files for downloading:

  • Writing Strategies

    Journal Entries:

    • If I could solve one problem in the world, it would be…
    • Describe an experience when you helped someone.
    • Describe an experience when someone helped you.
    • The difference between service-learning and community service is…
    • I can make a difference because…
  • Communication 90 Second Speech Topics

    Serving my community is important because….
    I will continue to serve because….

  • Other Essential Lesson Components

    Enrichment activity

    • In order to determine the response to and quality of the overall project, solicit feedback in the form of a survey from the individuals/organization that was/were served. As a class, create a list of questions that could be included in this survey, asking what could have been done to make this project/event even better for the future. Once survey has been completed, proofed and edited, mail or email to participants.
  • Family/Community Connection

    Create a video documenting your service learning project. Take pictures/video that demonstrate each step of the process. Use the video to teach parents, teachers and other students about service learning.

    Post the video to the school website,, and/or Facebook.

  • CTSO connection

    Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA)

    The FCCLA Community Service program guides students to develop, plan, carry out, and evaluate projects that improve the quality of life in their communities. Community Service helps young people build skills for family, career, and community roles; provides youth-centered learning experiences related to Family and Consumer Sciences education; and encourages young people to develop the positive character traits of trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and citizenship.

  • Service Learning Projects

    Successful service learning project ideas originate from student concerns or needs. Allow students to brainstorm about service projects pertaining to the lesson. For additional information on sevice learning visit:

  • All Attachments