Kim Gresham

Grade Level: 
Castle North Middle School
United States
Why I want my students to be involved in volunteering and service, etc. 
Family volunteering has always been a part of my life. When I first learned about service-learning, it seemed a natural blend of two of my passions – teaching and serving. I’ve found that students put in more effort creating projects when they are contributing something “into the real world.” They know service-learning projects are worth more than a grade, and their teacher isn't the only one to see their work. When they know members of the community will see and respond to their project, they care more about the quality of their work.
Tips for infusing philanthropy... 
Students selected their own groups and their own books to read based on their reading level and areas of interest. Students are always told what they are going to read. When I told them they could select their own book, they went wild. Pair that with the fact that we would be using technology to create digital book talks (like a movie preview for their book) and they were hooked. The groups had three weeks to read and discuss their books , submitting weekly reports with discussion questions, important quotes, and connections for that week’s reading. Writing higher level questions was a challenge and learning experience for the students. I had to provide guidance to make sure their questions provoked meaningful dialogue. In the 4th week they produced a digital book talk with suggested technology for public presentation. They presented to the class and then we shared them with our school library and the local library. View their book talks:
I taught this LTG lesson 
Through the Learning to Give lesson, "Blogging about Books," our class discussed the issue of literacy and ways to promote reading. The students recognize that reading books with characters experiencing similar issues is a great way to help students get through their own difficult times. They learn they are not alone, and it can give students a way to identify solutions for whatever issue they are struggling with. Focus: Motivate non-readers across the school with discussions about books with high-interest topics about issues they encounter: (cyber)bullying, sexual assault, abuse, eating disorders, and others.
Student Impact 
We have yet to see the effect this project has on the literacy of the community, but I can tell you that after the presentations, the books were flying off of my shelf. I’ve had a book shelf in my room all year, but only a handful of students checked books out from me. After this project, I had a hard time keeping them on the shelf. Next year, we’ll do this project 1st semester so the students will be checking books out like that all year.