Why I want my students to be involved in volunteering and service, etc.
Middle school students yearn to connect to something bigger than themselves. Giving them opportunities to serve organizations outside of their home and school helps students see the positive impact they can have.
Tips for infusing philanthropy...
Students who are encouraged to choose an organization or cause that appeals to them are the most committed to following through. I differentiate for my students, allowing them to choose an organization and service project that interests small groups. The "Search Lessons" feature on the LTG website has helped me efficiently find appropriate, interesting lessons. The service-learning strategy gives depth to our activities. Combining instruction and reflection with the service gives students a greater understanding of their impact.
I taught this LTG lesson
Working Together Works: Philanthropy Lesson (8th)
How I adapted the lesson for my learners
I created a spreadsheet of local non-profit organizations in our community and included a need or campaign the organization had. In pairs the students chose one and wrote and recorded their public service announcement specifically for that need. After we shared them all with the class, the students voted on one they wanted to support as a class. Some students also supported their own choice, but everyone also participated in the need we chose as a group.
Students loomed hats for newborn babies with heart defects for the "Little Hats, Big Hearts" campaign within the American Heart Association. A small group of students in each class chose this as the subject of their public service announcement, and then each class individually voted on this as the topic of their volunteer work. Some students loomed larger hats for toddlers and older children with cancer. This project made the students feel good because they were doing something that supported children and their families, while learning the new skill of looming. Many of them reported that making the hat was hard at first and they didn't think they would be able to do it, so they felt an extra swell of pride at accomplishing the task. The activity brought different students up as leaders and teachers. I noticed students interacting with others they don't normally hang around--they were giving and accepting help in new ways. The students felt a great sense of pride, because they knew they made a difference.