Serving Senior Citizens

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  • Lesson Identification and TEKS Addressed

    Cluster : Human Services

    Course : Family and Community Services

  • TEKS Student Expectations

    • (3) The student develops and implements community service activities. The student is expected to:
      • (A) identify service projects applicable to a community
      • (B) integrate student interest, abilities, and skills with appropriate community service projects
      • (C) plan, develop, and implement volunteer activities that will benefit individuals, families, or the community
      • (D) generate ideas and gather information relevant to a family and community services project keeping careful records of outside sources
      • (E) demonstrate proficient use of volunteer skills
      • (F) demonstrate safety practices related to community service or volunteer activities
      • (G) demonstrate increasing ability to perform higher-order thinking skills through organizing and performing community service
      • (H) practice techniques to insure completion of a community service project
      • (I) cite evidence of personal development through performing community service activities
      • (J) evaluate the effectiveness of implemented activities
    • (4) The student alayzes factors influencing employability skills. The student is expected to:
      • (C) demonstrate effective verbal, nonverbal, and written communication skills
      • (D) demonstrate postive human relations skills
      • (E) demonstrate appropriate grooming, appearance, and etiquette for volunteer activities
      • (F) exhibit ethical practices as defined for designated volunteer activities
    • (5) The student applies rigorous academic standards in implementing community service activities. The student is expected to:
      • (B) listen actively and effectively in all communication situations
  • Basic Direct Teach Lesson

    Instructional Objectives

    Students will:

    • identify needs of local senior citizens
    • apply knowlege and skills to conduct a service-learning project for local senior citizens
    • document service
    • employ safety practices while serving and volunteering
    • reflect on service and cite how the service has affected them as a student
    • evaluate the effectiveness of the service-learning project
    • use effective communication skills to conduct a service-learning project
    • will relate positively to senior citizens
    • will conduct themselves in an appropriate and ethical manner when serving senior citizens
  • Rationale

    Have you ever thought about aging? Does it scare you? Does it scare you to spend time with people who are older such as senior citizens? Providing meaningful service to senior citizens is a way to connect with the past while making life a little better for someone like your grandmother or grandfather.

    In this unit we will be working with senior citizens. I think you will be surprised at how much you will learn from the “older kids”! By working with the senior citizens, you will have the chance to learn about the world from their perspective and how choices they have made have affected their lives.

  • Duration of Lesson

    Five 45 minute class periods

    Service Learning Project may be spaced out to one day per week of joint collaboration ahead of scheduled event.

  • Word Wall

    Confidentiality: Keeping information of others private

    Effective: Producing desired results

    Elderly: A man or woman past middle age

    Empathy: Putting yourself in the place of another to understand their thoughts and feelings

    Mobility: Ability to physically move about an area

    Organize: To put items in a system that makes them easy to retrieve

    Plan: The process for completing a project

    Reflection: To look back upon an activity to measure its effectiveness

    Senior citizen: A person of relatively advanced age, especially a person at or over the age of retirement

  • Materials/Specialized Equipment Needed


    • camera or cell phone (be sure to follow school district guidelines for cell phone use)
    • computer with projector for multimedia presentations
    • computers with Internet (be sure to follow school district guidelines)
    • light projector (Elmo)


    • cardstock
    • chart paper
    • markers
    • paper
    • Sticky notes®
    • tape


    For Building Empathy activities:

    • cane or walker
    • earmuffs
    • eyeglasses
    • gloves
    • marbles
    • needle
    • petroleum jelly
    • purse
    • sack of groceries
    • shirt that buttons up the front
    • thread
    • umbrella


    Access to:


    • copies of handouts (see All Lesson Attachments tab)

  • Anticipatory Set

    Before class begins:

    Note to Teacher:
    Many of the handouts included in this lesson are part of A Week of Service Learning,
    a Joint Project of Service Learning Texas, Texas FCCLA, and The Curriculum Center for Family and Consumer Sciences.

    Review handout Sample Senior Citizens Project Option (see All Lesson Attachments tab) to determine if your class is more suited for a service learning project or a community service project. This can be used as a model throughout the lesson.

    As students enter the classroom, play the YouTube™ video:

    Have students participate in the Building Empathy activities (Elderly section)

    After the activity, ask the following questions:

    • How did you feel?
    • What challenges do you see that the elderly face every day?
    • How can we help the elderly with some of their challenges?
    • Why would an elderly person feel frustrated?
    • Were you frustrated and how did you deal with it?

    Distribute handout Working with Senior Citizens Assessment (see All Lesson Attachments tab). Allow students to answer honestly.
    This will give you an idea of how your students relate to senior citizens.

    After the assessment, ask the following questions:

    • Are you comfortable working with the elderly?
    • What scares you about working with the elderly?
    • Do you have grandparents or great grandparents that you spend time with?
    • What type of activities do your grandparents enjoy?

    To better understand the difference between a service learning project and community service, play the Which Is It? Game

    Print the activity on cardstock, cut and separate the cards and mix. Project the game board on the light projector. Ask a student to draw a card, read it to the class, and decide where the card should be placed on the game board. Use the key for reference.

  • Direct Instruction with Special Education Modifications/Accommodations

    If students are thinking of committing to a service learning project related to senior citizens, recommend they read Working with Senior Citizens and Veterans through Service-Learning provided by Youth Service America
    See Reading Strategies component of this lesson.

    The following lesson is a sample of how a teacher would assist in carrying out a service learning project with students that focuses on senior citizens. For true service learning to occur, students will need to share their thoughts and ideas and plan accordingly instead of just doing something the teacher has instructed them to do.

    Students should drive the lesson and their student voice should be reflected throughout the project. Remember, this is a sample that you can use to help guide your students through a project for the elderly.

    Introduce lesson objectives, terms and definitions.

    Distribute graphic organizer Serving Senior Citizens Notes (see All Lesson Attachments tab) so that students may take notes during the slide presentation.

    Introduce PowerPoint™ Serving Senior Citizens (see All Lesson Attachments tab).

    Allow time for questions, demonstrations and class discussion.

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

    • encourage classroom participation
    • extra time for oral response
    • frequent feedback

  • Guided Practice with Special Education Modifications/Accommodations

    Divide the class into subgroups of five. Distribute graphic organizer Serving Senior Citizens Project Ideas (see All Lesson Attachments tab).

    Allow each group to brainstorm six needs of seniors in the community. Assign a scribe for each group to list all responses on chart paper.

    An alternative may be to have the students do a face-to-face survey or a phone survey with someone they know who works with senior citizens.

    After the needs are listed, have the students put a check by three or four needs that they feel they could realistically meet. Have students form a plan to meet those needs.

    The following scenario is an example of a project idea students may use:

    • The students have determined that residents at the local senior center want to learn how to use email. The center has ten computers that have internet access. The manager of the center has requested assistance with this need.

    • Students have decided that:
      • they need to create a hand-held reference card for the residents as well as a poster to help the residents
      • they will enlist faculty members to be email pals with the elderly

    Students, as a group, can fill in the L (Look and Listen), E (Examine Issues), A (Agree to take action), and D (Develop a Plan) sections of the LEADERS model.

    Students may organize their project using the Stick Up Organization (see All Lesson Attachments tab).
    You may have input to add to the students list of tasks to make sure they are on the right track.

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

    • participating in a small group/classroom
    • frequent feedback
    • extended time

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

    Divide the class into subgroups of four or five to complete different tasks.

    Groups are now ready to complete section E (Execute the Plan) of the LEADERS model Planning Guide for Service Learning

    Review tasks for each group. Refer to handout Sample Senior Citizens Project Option (see All Lesson Attachments tab) for lesson ideas.

    Reference cards and posters can be made for:

    • email
    • Internet
    • Microsoft Word™
    • Microsoft PowerPoint™
    • search engines

    Distribute Rubric for Service Learning Project – Senior Citizens (see All Lesson Attachments tab) and review so that students may understand what is expected.
    This rubric is for a group project. Other rubrics may be used to assess assignment.

    Students visit the center once a week to work with the senior citizens to make sure the computer skills are mastered.

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

    • encourage classroom participation
    • paired working arrangement
    • extended time

  • Lesson Closure

    Review terms, definitions, and objectives.

    After the project is over, committees can fill in the sections R (Review Outcomes) and S (Showcase Results) of the Planning Guide for Service Learning.

    Students can make certificates of completion for mastering computer skills.

    Students can travel to the senior center and hold a presentation ceremony for those who participated. If acceptable, take pictures of the participants with the students (be sure to follow Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) guidelines for your school).

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

    Students will be assessed with appropriate rubric.

    Students can reflect on their experience by completing You’ve Got Mail Reflection (See All Lesson Attachments tab).

    Students should complete the Service Learning/Volunteer Log Sheet (see All Lesson Attachment tab) to keep track of their time and add to their portfolio.

    Other reflections options can be found in Guiding Students Through the Reflection Process

  • References/Resources


    • Microsoft Office Clip Art: Used with permission from Microsoft.


    • National Youth Leadership Council
      Information for students and educators on service-learning practices
    • The Curriculum Center for Family and Consumer Sciences
      A Week of Service Learning
      A Joint Project of Service Learning Texas, Texas FCCLA, and
      The Curriculum Center for Family and Consumer Sciences


  • Additional Required Components

    English Language Proficiency Standards (ELPS) Strategies

    • make sure students understand the vocabulary (word wall) as you move forward with this lesson. The use of a personal dictionary would be helpful.
    • additional time for preparing hand – held email reference cards
    • word wall
    • journal entries
  • 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

    Encourage students to “visualize” as they read. Many students are visual learners and will benefit from making sketches or diagrams on paper as they read. Providing students with graphic organizers to help them organize their thoughts is also helpful.

    • Gather children’s books about senior citizens from an elementary or public library. Have students read the children’s books to gain different perspectives on aging.
  • Quotes

    With age comes wisdom.
    -American proverb

    The aged in council, the young in action.
    -Danish proverb

    Our society automatically scraps people just like old automobiles. It’s the Detroit syndrome, but the latest models are not always the best.
    -Margaret Kuhn

    To know how to grow old is the master work of wisdom, and one of the most difficult chapters in the great art of living.
    -Henri Frederic Amiel

  • Multimedia/Visual Strategies


    • Serving Senior Citizens
    • Presentation Notes – Serving Senior Citizens


    Files for downloading:

  • Graphic Organizers/Handout

    Graphic Organizer:

    • Serving Senior Citizens Notes
    • Serving Senior Citizens Project Ideas


    • Rubric for Service Learning Project – Senior Citizens
    • Sample Senior Citizens Project Option
    • Service Learning Log
    • Stick Up Organization
    • Working With Senior Citizens Assessment
    • You’ve Got Mail Reflection

    Files for downloading:

  • Writing Strategies

    Journal Entries:

    • My fear in working with the elderly is……
    • Knowing how to email is important because…..
    • I think elderly people are……..
    • My grandparents are so wise because…….
    • I can learn from a senior citizen because……
    • When my grandparents were young….
    • If I were an elderly person I would want….
    • When I see an elderly person struggling with mobility…..
    • When I am old, I will tell my grandchildren about……
    • It makes me smile when I see a senior citizen…..

    Writing Strategies:

    • Students will write a thank you note to the senior center. It should include a greeting, a body with at least three sentences, a closing, and a signature.
  • Communication 90 Second Speech Topics

    The most valuable advice I have received from a senior citizen is……
    Working with senior citizens, I have learned……

  • Other Essential Lesson Components

    Enrichment activity

    Students create a digital greeting card of the certificate presentation and email to each participant at the senior center. The greeting card will include words of congratulations for completion.

    Develop a T-Chart citing similarities and differences between teenagers and senior citizens.

  • Family/Community Connection

    Invite a couple who are over the age of 70 to speak to the class about their youth and what has made their relationship an enduring one.

    Plan and execute a “Senior Prom” at a local senior center.

  • CTSO connection

    Family, Career, Community Leaders of America (FCCLA)

    STAR Event:

    • Chapter Service Project Manual – An individual or team event that recognizes chapters that develop and implement an in-depth service project that makes a worthwhile contribution to families, schools, communities and/or family and consumer sciences. Students must use Family and Consumer Sciences content and skills to address and take action on a community need. Participants must prepare a manual and an oral presentation.
  • Service Learning Projects

    Successful service learning project ideas originate from student concerns and needs. Allow students to brainstorm about service projects pertaining to the elderly.

    Ideas for other service learning projects can be found on the online CD A Week of Service-Learning


    • Plan and execute a “Senior Prom” at a local senior center.

    REMEMBER- TRUE service learning projects are student driven.

  • All Attachments