Barbara Gurian

Grade Level: 
K, 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5
School: 
Curtis Fundamental Elementary
FL 34698
United States
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Why I want my students to be involved in volunteering and service, etc. 
My personal philosophy is that educators must devote time to helping students develop the love of giving to others through their time, talent, and treasure. Service-Learning projects are vital in helping students get deeply involved in "making the world a better place". As they brainstorm areas of need, students realize their power to change the world starts one person who is passionate and spreads to others. Service-Learning (or challenge-based learning) require the students to become actively involved in working collaboratively, cooperatively, and with passion from the start to end... keeping future expansion in mind. My partner, Gayle Denny Houser, and I are working with "Gifted" students with IQ's at 130 and higher. The impact of these bright students can be instrumental in changing our world and our job is to supply them with the knowledge, life skills, encouragement, and inspiration they need.... and then get out of the way because they always seem to take the learning far above what we can even imagine.
Tips for infusing philanthropy... 
Philanthropy and service-Learning projects involve the students in problem analysis as they debate areas of concern in the community. Since we work with students from Kindergarten to 5th grade, each grade level takes on various projects they help develop according to their passions. Each grade level develops a big Idea; driving question; investigates the need through research, surveys, and thorough investigation; and develops a project or multiple projects to make the world a better place. The expected outcome is that there will be at least five major service-learning projects developed by the students with the teachers facilitating the learning. As part of the plans, students will use technology and print resources to involve the entire school and the local community in the service learning project. Students will be expected to use critical thinking and problem solving, analyze possible projects they could undertake, research and collect data, and use their creativity and innovative thinking to develop high level academic learning opportunities focused on giving back to their school and/or community. The impact on students will have a positive social-emotional outcome by immersing students in hand-on, minds-on learning where they will feel the benefits and rewards of witnessing positive outcomes that make the world a better place.
I taught this LTG lesson 
Everyone Can Be a Philanthropist: Philanthropy Lesson (3rd) Unit: Mother Earth (Past & Present) http://www.learningtogive.org/units/earth-connections/mother-earth-past Let's Experiment! http://www.learningtogive.org/units/earth-connections/lets-experiment http://www.eco.org/ Literature Guides: http://www.learningtogive.org/teach/literature-guides Service-learning History & Celebration: http://www.learningtogive.org/resources/service-learning-celebration-concept Appeal for a Meal: http://www.learningtogive.org/units/give-it-back-snack/appeal-meal We also took the information from the outstanding lessons provided at Learning to Give and combined them with other challenge-based learning and service-learning materials and curriculum to meet the needs of our students and grade levels.
How I adapted the lesson for my learners 
Along with taking information from the outstanding lessons provided at Learning to Give, we adapted them with other challenge-based learning and service-learning materials and curriculum. Depending on the grade level, we either broke down the lessons in smaller bites or enriched the lessons to meet student needs. For instance, one of our 2nd grade students was just diagnosed with Juvenile Onset Diabetes. The plans for that group include bringing in community speakers to teach students about diabetes and the challenges each child/adult with diabetes faces. Students will then help to create teaching videos to help the rest of the student body understand their topic. Along with the public service announcement which will air on our school "CFN - Curtis Fundamental Network" in the morning, they will also develop ways to take their information to the community or to other schools.
Student Impact 
Service-Learning projects involve the students in problem analysis as they debate areas of concern in the community. The impact is contagious because their excitement spreads into their lives and grows from them. One of the parts I like best is when students get involved with "change" by visiting county, state, and national organizations to address areas of concern or issues they cherish. At the end of last year, all the grade levels combined to help a former student who was battling cancer. Students made and sold backpack bead strings and presented him with a check to help him buy organic food. They also got involved with teaching the entire school about nutrition and healthy eating. Since we were studying Rainforests, students wrote and performed plays, produced a program for the entire student body about protecting the Rainforest, and one grade level provided displays to educate the entire student body about environmental concerns. Our students said things like: "This was an awesome project because we helped others understand that we all make a difference." "I want to take this to the next level and take it to the community." "Could we schedule a meeting with the mayor or city leaders to discuss recycling?" We love seeing our students empowered and passionate about issues. We feel confident they WILL make a difference and make this world a better place for all of us.