Market Research
  1. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 02. Service and Learning
      1. Benchmark MS.1 Select a service project based on interests, abilities and research.
      2. Benchmark MS.2 Identify specific learning objectives from the academic core curriculum that are being applied in the service-learning project.
    2. Standard VS 03. Providing Service
      1. Benchmark MS.2 Describe the goals of the project and their impact.

Students bring together their investigations of different preschool and early childhood centers and share their research on literacy and faith development and come to a consensus on the plan for their devotional project. They examine sample devotionals and brainstorm their topics and theme ideas. Students complete pre-writing activities and collaboration before starting their first drafts.

PrintThree 45-Minute Sessions, plus homework time for writing the first draft

The learner will:

  • collaborate with other learners to come to a consensus on the devotional project plan.
  • examine writing samples to determine appropriate features for their audience and final project.
  • brainstorm topics and verses for the devotional.
  • use pre-writing activities to plan each student's devotion.
  • select a service project based on interests, abilities and research.
  • identify specific learning objectives from the academic core curriculum that are being applied in the service-learning project.
  • describe the goals of the project and their impact.
  • writers notebook (blank journals)
  • teacher copy of Handout One: Devotion Pre-Writing Chart (may also give copies to students)
  • student copies of Handout Two: Pre-Writing Template
  • student copies of Devotional Rubric
  • collected research for discussion on consensus
  • access to the Internet (jcplayzone.com)
  • sample devotionals
  • Bibles
  • chart paper and markers
Home Connection: 

Students write their first drafts at home. Encourage the students to gain feedback from their families on the content and age-appropriateness of the draft.


JC Play Zone www.jcplayzone.com website with faith-based activities for young children

  1. Session One:

    Anticipatory Set:

    Show the students the website jcplayzone.com and share one fun activity to spark their interest. Click on "Daily Devotions." Read a devotional written by a young person for the website.

  2. Have the students share their research and investigations about places to serve and content to create to meet their needs. Discuss the options and help the students come to consensus on which organization they will work with. The students should make a plan for confirming with that partner organization (and, if necessary, letting the other organizations know they will not be working with them).

  3. Set out a variety of devotionals that you or the students brought to school to share. Allow time to explore the samples and the examples on www.jcplayzone.com.

  4. Students independently write an entry in their writers notebooks about the traits they like in the devotionals. The entry may include an analysis of a favorite devotional: title of the devotional, a description of its content, description of the format, organization of the entry (verse, practical example, prayer), positive and negative traits of the devotional. Note: Display the format ideas generated in Lesson One in the group brainstorming.

  5. Talk about what makes a good devotional book. Encourage the students to share and discuss the key elements of good, age-appropriate devotionals. Determine the key traits they want their finished product to contain. Keep in mind the ages and needs of the group they have decided to work with. Talk about how writing and sharing this devotional is an act of service; discuss the impact their service will have.

  6. Determine the overall theme of the devotional (such as Advent or stories of Jesus' life).

  7. Session Two:

  8. Lead the students in a prewriting activity to determine the content for the devotional. Demonstrate the process using Handout One: Devotion Pre-Writing Chart. This will help the class decide the topics each student will write about and what verses and characters to use related to the theme they selected. You may copy the chart handout for each student, or they may create the chart in their writers notebooks.

  9. Discuss the academic middle school curriculum standards this writing activity addresses.

  10. Students complete the chart and prepare to discuss their ideas in the next session. They may need Bibles and access to the Internet for story ideas.

  11. Session Three:

  12. Put several pieces of chart paper around the room. Tell the students to each write their favorite idea (message and verse) from the previous session's pre-writing activity on a chart. Several students can write on each chart. Tell them to write big enough so they can read the charts from their seats when you hang them up around the room. In this way, you get lots of ideas up quickly for all to see.

  13. Ask the students to skim over all the ideas, reading to give feedback about the content.

  14. Students may make suggestions for appropriate Bible verses, tweaks to the message, and examples. Some students may have other ideas on their pre-writing sheets to share with students whose ideas don't fit the devotional theme or don't seem age-appropriate. This is a time for the students to collaborate and help each other get a good start on their writing.

  15. Mini-lesson: Demonstrate how to use the Pre-Writing Template (Handout Two) to help them plan their draft. Show students an example of a teacher-written devotion. Point out the features and age-appropriate elements. Give each student a copy of Handout Two so they can plan their devotion.

  16. Give the students a copy of Handout Three: Devotional Rubric and discuss the expectations for the final product. Review the goals and the impact of the project on themselves and the children they serve.

  17. Allow time for students to begin writing/typing their rough draft of their devotion (may be completed as homework). Students save their drafts.


Students write in their writers notebooks about the impact their project may have on the social, literacy and faith development of the children they work with. Encourage them to write about their personal goals related to this service-learning project.