Ms. Kaminski and Ms. Geiss are instructional coaches at Morris Grade School in Illinois who believe “Students need a constant reminder on being kind and giving back to others. By teaching students service and giving, hopefully it will help make the world a better place.” 

A total of 500 Pre-K through 8th grade students participated in the service-learning project Morris Community Sensory Path. The lesson Bee a Part of Our Community helped students understand how they can provide service and support in their community. Additionally, it served as a transition into a sensory path video. The lesson allowed students the opportunity to brainstorm and create how they would design a sensory path for the community.  

Before the service project, the students participated in a yarn ball activity which involved sharing positive messages with others in their classroom and outside of school. This helped students understand the importance of community and how what they say, and do, can have a positive impact on others. 

In the summer of 2019, students and teachers plan to paint a community sensory path to greatly impact the community and the students in our school who have sensory needs. Students showed choice and leadership by being a part of the planning and designing of the sensory path. The students discussed, brainstormed, and designed their own paths on paper for grades 6-8th to help paint. The Learning to Give mini-grant will help provide outside paint and supplies, such as brushes and trays.  

The students displayed compassion and empathy when designing and thinking about who the sensory path will impact. “Students were very involved and are excited to do more for the community,” said the coaches.  

Some of the students said, “I love this and so will the kids!" and, "I wish I had this when I was little." 

The coaches stated that “Students have already been brainstorming other ways they can help in the community.” One of the student suggestions is to create a sensory path inside the school for students when the weather makes it difficult for the outdoor path to be used.  

Although a large group was involved in this service project, students were able to work together to plan, paint, create, and to make a lasting impact on their community.