Service Learning With a Smile: Human Services

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  • Lesson Identification and TEKS Addressed

    Cluster : Human Services

    Course : Principles of Human Services

  • TEKS Student Expectations

    Principles of Human Services

    • (1) The student demonstrates personal characteristics for success in high-skill, high wage, or high-demand careers. The student is expected to:
      • (J) practice leadership skills
      • (K) demonstrates effective communication skills
    • (5) The student demonstrates the skills necessary to enhance personal and career effectiveness in family and community services. The student is expected to:
      • (D) investigate community service opportunities

    Practicum in Human Services

    • (2) The student uses oral and written communication skills and solves problems using critical-thinking skills. The student is expected to:
      • (A) discuss human services research findings in everyday language keeping instruction at an appropriate level
      • (B) practice effective verbal, nonverbal, written, and electronic communication skills
    • (6) The student uses leadership and teamwork skills in collaborating with others. The student is expected to:
      • (A) use leadership and teamwork skills in collaborating with others to accomplish organizational goals and objectives
    • (9) The student documents technical knowledge and skills. The student is expected to:
      • (A) update a professional portfolio to include:
        • (iv) extended learning experiences such as community service and active participation in career and technical student organizations and professional organizations

    Interpersonal Studies

    • (1) The student evaluates factors related to personal development. The student is expected to:
      • (A) investigate factors that affect personal identity, personality, and self-esteem
      • (C) propose strategies that promote physical, emotional, intellectual, and social development
    • (4) The student analyzes the family’s role in relationship development. The student is expected to:
      • (A) examine the development of relationships
    • (5) The student analyzes relationship development outside the family. The student is expected to:
      • (B) assess the influence of peers on the individual
      • (C) determine appropriate responses to authority figures
    • (7) The student determines methods that promote an effective family unit. The student is expected to:
      • (G) determine the impact of effective family functioning on community and society
    • (12) The student exhibits employability skills. The student is expected to:
      • (A) practice effective verbal, nonverbal, written, and electronic communication skills
      • (C) practice positive interpersonal skills, including conflict resolution, negotiation, teamwork, and leadership
      • (E) use leadership and team member skills in problem-solving situations
  • Basic Direct Teach Lesson

    Instructional Objectives

    Upon completion of these activities, the students will:

    • demonstrate effective verbal, nonverbal, written and electronic communication skills
    • 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

    Teacher Note:
    Once service learning projects are selected, guide students to incorporate activities that correlate with additional course TEKS.

  • Rationale

    In this lesson you will discover how you can combine and apply the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) you are learning in the classroom and your personal skills to make a real difference in the community and the world.

  • Duration of Lesson

    This initial service learning introductory lesson will take approximately three 45 minute class periods

    Duration of actual service learning project will vary based on the project selected.

  • Word Wall

    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 PowerPoint™ presentation
    • Internet access for research and YouTube™ video


    • paper/card stock to print quotes
    • board/flip chart and markers
    • magazines, newspapers, other research materials
    • large sheets of paper
    • camera
    • materials will vary by what project your class decides to participate in
    • 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:

    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, hand them each an index card and ask them to write down their definition of “service learning.” Collect all cards, read and discuss their answers.

    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. Option: How People Communicate with Each Other (see All Lesson Attachments tab).

  • Direct Instruction with Special Education Modifications/Accommodations

    Before class begins:

    Familiarize yourself will all aspects of this lesson. You may choose to select a different service learning model or process 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 Service Learning Note taking (see All Lesson Attachments tab). Instruct students to take notes during upcoming slide presentation.

    Introduce slide presentation Service Learning with a Smile (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. Refer to Service With a Smile Presentation Notes (see All Lesson Attachments tab) for additional information.

    Distribute venn diagram Compare and Contrast the Neighborhood Community and School Community (see All Lesson Attachments tab). Students may complete the task with a partner or individually. As a class, discuss the results.

    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 in 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

    Note to Teacher: provides numerous service learning lesson plans for projects that have been done throughout the United States.

    Distribute Read about Leaders handout (see All Lesson Attachments tab), Allow students to browse through the website and select one service learning project to complete the activity. Allow students to share their findings with the class.

    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.

    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 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 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 3 ideas selected. After a discussion, the class will vote on the service learning project they will complete.

    Once a project is selected, distribute Service Learning KWL Chart (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.

    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.

    For the purpose of this lesson:

    Students have decided to conduct a school wide canned food drive. Collected cans will be donated to the local food bank. In addition, students want to spend one day volunteering at the food bank facility.

    Distribute handout Service Leaders In Action (see All Lesson Attachments tab).

    Students will practice their communication and 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 respond orally instead of in writing
    • working with a partner or a team

  • Lesson Closure

    Use the free Random Name Generator:
    After you add class lists of names, it will randomly choose names of students to answer review questions. There is also a small group generator that works with the same class lists.

    Review lesson objectives, terms and definitions.
    Ask the first review question. The student who answers it will create and ask the next review question. Repeat.

    Allow students to complete the third section of KWL Chart Service Learning Project and discuss.

    Provide time for students to discuss what they gained from the experience and their contributions both in learning and in service.

    Ask guiding questions such as:

    • How did your communication skills aide the group in assisting and serving at a community project?
    • Do you feel our project had a positive impact? Why or why not?
    • What positive impact did this project have on this class? On you?
    • Did the project achieve its purpose?
    • What would you do differently?

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

    Distribute Service Leaders Assessment (see All Lesson Attachments tab).

    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.

    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
  • References/Resources


    • Kaye, C. B. (2010). The complete guide to service learning. Free Spirit Publishing.


    • National Service Learning Clearinghouse
      A web page with lesson plans, success stories, and information about other resources for service learning.
    • Service Learning Texas
      A website with information on service-learning in Texas and information on the LEADERS model of service learning.
      Inactive site as of 2012.
    • Youth Service America
      Provides resources and funding for service learning. Students can register their projects.
  • Additional Required Components

    English Language Proficiency Standards (ELPS) Strategies

    Qualities and Characteristics of a Service Learner

    Organize students in small groups and distribute a large sheet of paper or provide individual copies of The Perfect Service-learner (see All Lesson Attachments tab) cutout for this activity. Assign students to list and discuss the qualities and characteristics of a service learner.

    After the discussion, instruct students to draw a picture of the “The Perfect Service-learner*. Provide access to traditional and/or electronic dictionaries (internet or personal phones) to look up word and definitions and label each term/skill included. Labels can be written in English, Spanish and other languages.

    Display images and allow groups/individuals to discuss the qualities illustrated.

    Modified activity from Strategies for Success with Literacy: A Learning Curriculum that Serves by Cathryn Berger Kaye, ABCD Books, 2009. Used with permission.

  • 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

    Current Events:
    Assign students to read about exploring service learning in Human Services. Information can be found in newspaper articles, magazines, journals, and online print.

    Have students select an article or lesson about service-learning from a website such as:

    Once articles have been selected, guide the class as they use the pre-reading skill of prediction: reading the title and subtitles and predicting the content of the article.

    Once the articles have been read, distribute Compare and Contrast (see All Lesson Attachments tab). Allow students to work with a partner and compare and contrast the two articles/projects. Allow students to share their findings with the class.

  • Quotes

    30 Service Learning Quotes (see All Lesson Attachments tab)

  • Multimedia/Visual Strategies


    • Service Learning with a Smile PowerPoint™
    • Presentation Notes Service Learning with a Smile


    The Customer Revolution in Customer Service: David Bequette at TEDxYerevan
    David Bequette is the Chief Financial Officer of FruitsMax, a dietary supplement company based in California with exports from Armenia. Bequette is also the co-founder and managing partner of DAVAN Group, an eco-friendly café and industries firm. Up until taking over the hands-on management of his ventures, he served as the Chief Executive Officer of Figaro Management Group in Yerevan, Armenia.


    • Presidential Highlight: Service Learning
      Service Learning is an active teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with student learning.
    • Get Your Good On
      Students can create a safe place to upload videos and pictures about their projects. They can also communicate with other students about resources and strategies.

    Files for downloading:

  • Graphic Organizers/Handout

    Graphic Organizers:

    • Compare and Contrast Neighborhood vs. Community Needs
    • Service Learning Leaders in Action


    • 30 Service Learning Quotes
    • Compare and Contrast
    • Guided Practice/Reading Analysis Activity “Read About Service Learning”
    • Service with a Smile Note taking

    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

    • The most challenging part of service learning is….
    • I want to participate in service learning projects because…..
    • I think service learning can…..
  • Other Essential Lesson Components

    Enrichment activity

    • Encourage students to identify a need, develop a plan and obtain funds for the activity by researching various funding agencies and writing a grant application.
    • Students can implement their plan as an ongoing, individual project.
    • Allow students to analyze cultural and historical influences that contribute to an identified issue or concern.

    TED Talks:

    TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks videos and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. These local, self-organized events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organized TED event.

    The video below is related to this lesson. Allow students to view the video, and lead a discussion concerning the TED Talk.

    The Customer Revolution in Customer Service: David Bequette at TEDxYerevan
    David Bequette is the Chief Financial Officer of FruitsMax, a dietary supplement company based in California with exports from Armenia. Bequette is also the co-founder and managing partner of DAVAN Group, an eco-friendly café and industries firm. Up until taking over the hands-on management of his ventures, he served as the Chief Executive Officer of Figaro Management Group in Yerevan, Armenia.

  • 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)

    • STAR Events:
      Chapter Service Project (Display and Manual) A team event – recognizes chapters that develop and implement an in-depth service project that makes a worthwhile contribution to families, schools, and communities. Students must use Family and Consumer Sciences content and skills to address and take action on a community need.
  • Service Learning Projects

    See content of this lesson

  • All Attachments