We Serve – An Introduction to Service Learning

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  • Lesson Identification and TEKS Addressed

    Cluster : Human Services

    Course : Family and Community Services

  • TEKS Student Expectations

    • (1) The student explores careers in family services. The student is expected to:
      • (A) identify family services
      • (B) investigate career options available that focus on families
      • (C) research to find agencies, organizations, and churches offering family services in the student’s area
      • (D) analyze demographic and community needs
    • (5) The student applies rigorous academic standards in implementing community service activities. The student is expected to:
      • (A) use effective reading strategies to evaluate topics from professional publications in family and community services
  • Basic Direct Teach Lesson

    Instructional Objectives

    Students will:

    • identify a variety of community services (national, state, and local) and the population they serve
    • identify careers that focus on the needs of families
    • identify local groups that serve student’s community
    • collect and analyze data on demographic and community needs
    • research local agencies, organizations, and churches that offer services to the public
  • Rationale


    When you live in a community, it is important to invest in that community with both your time and resources. In every community, there are people who need help and assistance. Sometimes that comes in the form of a person in a service career and sometimes it comes from someone like you who belongs to a group or organization that identifies a need and works to solve it.

  • Duration of Lesson

    Four 45 minute class periods

  • Word Wall

    Agency: A business that meets a specific need

    Analyze: To look at the parts in relation to the whole

    Communicate: To send or receive information

    Counselor: Someone who listens to concerns and provides advice

    Data: Information gathered about a particular group or problem

    Demographics: Data related to the make-up of a specific area or community

    Document: To record information in an accurate manner

    Need: Something required for a person’s well-being

    Reflection: To look upon previous thoughts or actions

    Service Learning: Using classroom knowledge and skills to provide relevant service to meet an identified need

  • Materials/Specialized Equipment Needed


    • computer with projector for multimedia presentations and for student use
    • computer lab with Internet access (be sure to follow school district guidelines)
    • student cell phones (be sure to follow school district guidelines for cell phone use)
    • telephone (classroom)


    • cardstock
    • chart paper
    • magazines
    • markers
    • posters (1/2 sheet)
    • scissors
    • tape
    • telephone books (local)


    • bag or container with the following items – bag should have enough items so that each student in the class will be able to draw out one item:
      • bird feeder
      • blanket
      • canned goods
      • children’s book
      • cookbook
      • dominoes
      • empty plastic bottle
      • gauze bandages
      • light bulb
      • mini crock-pot
      • pencil
      • seed packet

    • copies of handouts (see All Lesson Attachments tab)

  • Anticipatory Set

    Before class begins:

    Locate magazine pictures that represent the following groups (one for each):

    • animals
    • elderly
    • environment
    • gardening
    • homeless
    • young children

    Tape the pictures high on a wall across the classroom.

    Gather bag or container of as many items as you have available listed in the Materials or Specialized Equipment Needed section. You will need one item per student.

    As class begins, have students draw an item out of the bag and direct him/her to stand under a picture that relates to the item. When everyone has an item and is situated by a picture, allow the students to tell what they believe to be the relationship. Note that some items can go under multiple pictures but they must choose one picture by which to stand.

    Lead students in discussion about why the item may match the picture.

    A student draws out a domino. They stand under the picture representing the elderly. The student might explain the reason he chose the elderly is because he knows his grandfather plays dominoes at the local senior center.

    Pose these questions during the activity:

    • Why did you choose this picture?
    • How do you think your item relates to your picture?
    • How might the item you drew somehow be a service to a particular group?
    • Could your item fit another group and why?

    Option – Give each group chart paper with one of the groups previously listed on it. Have them brainstorm a list of needs for each group.

  • Direct Instruction with Special Education Modifications/Accommodations

    Introduce lesson objectives, terms and definitions.

    Distribute the I Have – Who Has Activity (see All Lesson Attachments tab) cards to students to reinforce terms and definitions. See instructions on handout for details.

    Distribute graphic organizer We Serve – An Introduction to Service Learning Notes (see All Lesson Attachments tab) so that students may take notes during slide presentation.

    Introduce PowerPoint™ We Serve – An Introduction to Service Learning (see All Lesson Attachments tab).

    View video:

    • Bring Learning to Life
      This eight-minute video offers insights from teachers, principals, and students who have experienced the benefits of service-learning, and provides an introduction to service-learning as an effective strategy to improve academic achievement, increase student engagement, improve social behavior, build civic skills, and strengthen community partnerships.

    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

    Discuss the importance of effective communication skills when gathering information on the telephone for a service learning project.

    Pose the following questions:

    • What is the proper way to introduce yourself?
    • How do you clarify who you are and what you want?
    • How do you handle negative responses?
    • How do you politely close a conversation?

    Conduct a demonstration of a Mock Interview Practice (see All Lesson Attachments). After the interview practice, come back as a group and discuss what worked and what didn’t work. There are two parts to the interview process. Details are included in the handout.

    After students have practiced mock interviews in both roles, interviewer and interviewee, discuss any concerns that students are unsure how to handle in the process.

    Tell the students that for service to be relevant, it must meet an identified need. Ask students how we can learn about what each local group does to meet those needs. After the students have determined they must contact an organization to see what need it meets, lead a discussion about how to get the information.

    Have the students choose a local organization that serves the community and allow them to conduct a telephone interview. Record responses on Telephone Interview Record (see All Lesson Attachments tab). Students will report their findings in Lesson Closure.

    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

    Brainstorm names of organizations and agencies (local, state, and national) that work to meet the needs of others. Have students record on chart paper to be displayed in the room.


    • local homeless shelter
    • food pantries run by a church or local community
    • Veterans of Foreign Wars
    • Women, Infants, and Children – WIC

    Lead a discussion as to where students can find information if you had a need. Remind students that sometimes people have access to a computer to find information and sometimes they may use a telephone book to find the names and numbers of people who can assist them.

    Distribute telephone books or tablets with Internet access. Distribute Where Do You Look handout (see All Lesson Attachments tab). Allow students to use telephone books or an Internet telephone book to answer questions. Using a telephone book may be new for some students so assist as needed without giving them the answer.

    Revisit lists of agencies and organizations. Using the Internet and/or the telephone books, have students make a list of local organizations that serve families. The list should be long enough so that there is at least one organization per student. Lead a discussion about local organizations and that not all organizations meet all needs.

    For example, a local food pantry would meet the need for food for some people but the local veterans organization would meet the needs of troops who are deployed.

    Divide the class into subgroups of two. Students will research information from local agencies, organizations and churches that provide services to people.
    The information gathered will be displayed on a poster board (1/2) sheet to be viewed by the community at a school function or displayed in a counselor’s office or school library.

    Include the following:

    • name
    • address
    • phone number
    • operating hours
    • services provided
    • image (from Internet or cell phone)

    Distribute Rubric for Services from a Local Agency, Organization or Church Poster (see All Lesson Attachments tab) so that students may understand what is expected.

    Option – Students can also make a Quadarama to showcase information from agencies, organizations, and churches.

    For instructions on how to make a Quadarama:

    These may be displayed in the front office or school library.

    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.

    Students will report the information learned from the Telephone Interview Record in the Guided Practice section.

    They will be able to gather the current needs of the agency or organization and, as a class, decide how best to help them.

    Encourage students to keep track of their hours in the Service Learning Log (see All Lesson Attachments tab). They can keep this log in their portfolio.

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

    Students will present the information from the agency, organization, or church that provide services to the class.

    Posters or Quadaramas will be displayed in a prominent place during a school function with the community.

    Students will be assessed with the appropriate rubric.

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

    • praise participation
    • assist with presentation

  • References/Resources


    • Bring Learning to Life
      This eight-minute video offers insights from teachers, principals, and students who have experienced the benefits of service-learning, and provides an introduction to service-learning as an effective strategy to improve academic achievement, increase student engagement, improve social behavior, build civic skills, and strengthen community partnerships.


  • Additional Required Components

    English Language Proficiency Standards (ELPS) Strategies

    • Make sure students understand the vocabulary (word wall) as you move forward with this lesson. They are to play the I Have – Who Has Activity (see All Lesson Attachments) multiple times until they have a firm foundation of word meaning. The use of a personal dictionary would be helpful.
    • Additional time for preparing and practicing interview questions and responses
    • Word wall
    • Journal entries
  • College and Career Readiness Connection

    AchieveTexas Career Cluster Crosswalks

    The Career Cluster Crosswalks housed on the AchieveTexas website http://www.achievetexas.org/index.html 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

    Allow students to read success stories from the Service Learning website so they can grasp a better idea of what service learning is. There are several to choose from.

    Reading strategy:
    Have students form their own questions about the text prior to reading or have them write down any questions that come to mind as they are reading.

  • Quotes

    I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.
    -Helen Keller

    How wonderful it is that no one need wait a single moment before starting to change the world.
    -Anne Frank

    Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on earth.
    -Muhammad Ali

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

  • Multimedia/Visual Strategies


    • We Serve – An Introduction to Service Learning
    • Presentation Notes – We Serve – An Introduction to Service Learning


    Files for downloading:

  • Graphic Organizers/Handout

    Graphic Organizers:

    • I Have – Who Has Activity
    • Mock Interview Practice
    • Mock Interview Practice (Key)
    • We Serve – An Introduction to Service Learning Notes


    • Rubric for a Local Agency, Organization or Church Poster
    • Telephone Interview Record
    • Where Do You Look?

    Files for downloading:

  • Writing Strategies

    Journal Entries:

    • It is important to serve in your community because…..
    • Clarifying information given to you by another is essential because……….
    • To succeed in a service career you must be able…………….
    • If I could help with one thing in my community, I would….

    Writing Strategies:

    • Raft Writing Strategy
      • Role: Student
      • Audience: Local VFW Commander
      • Format: Letter
      • Topic: Veteran’s Day Program invitation
  • Communication 90 Second Speech Topics

    One local organization that assists local families is____________. It is essential to the families it serves because……….

    One community need that we have in __________ is___________. We can address that need by……..

  • Other Essential Lesson Components

    Enrichment activity

    Have students create a survey on SurveyMonkey®.com asking for input about community needs. Allow them to send it via email to friends and family members and analyze data as responses are received.


    Infographics are graphic visual representations of information, data or knowledge intended to present complex information quickly and clearly.

    The infographic below is related to this lesson. Allow students to view the image on a projector and lead a discussion concerning the information provided.

  • Family/Community Connection

    Contact a member of your local food pantry to speak to your students about the statistics and information related to the food pantry and who it serves.

  • 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 lesson. For additional information on service learning, see http://www.nylc.org/

    Students can use the data they gather and analyze to determine a relevant need in their own community. Using student voice, students will apply classroom knowledge and skills to meet that need.


    • There is a need for a child-friendly waiting area at the local hospital. Students apply their classroom knowledge and skills to renovate an unused room at the hospital into a child-friendly waiting room. Students will apply skills related to finances, budgeting, developmentally appropriate toys, and art.

  • All Attachments