Project Collaboration

K, 1, 2

Learners come to a consensus about which issue to address. Students play a cooperative game that illustrates the concept of a partnership. Students identify the community organizations available in their neighborhood. With teacher help, learners make a plan for a service-learning project and carry out the plan.

PrintOne 45-Minute Class Period, Plus time to carry out a service-learning project

The learner will:

  • come to a consensus about a service project.
  • select an organization that can support the project.
  • carry out a service-learning project.
  • work with a community organization, using the cooperative skills learned.
  • reflect on the project.

one hula hoop

Teacher Preparation 

Assign a volunteer the task of photographing the event and the classroom activities.

  • partnership(n): a relationship involving close cooperation between parties, having shared rights and responsibilities
  • community organization: a structure through which individuals cooperate



Bennett, William J. Children’s Book of Heroes. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1997. ISBN: 684834456
Biographies of world famous heroes, like Mother Teresa, to everyday heroes, like moms and dads. Filled with stories of people that children can look up to and emulate.

Brisson, Pat. Wanda's Roses. Honesdale: Boyds Mills Press, 2000. ISBN: 1-56397-925-X
A girl with simple faith, enthusiastic Wanda is convinced that she can grow roses from an old thornbush. When it doesn't flourish, the neighbors all pitch in and donate, filling the lot with beautiful rosebushes. Philanthropy themes: community supporting each other, self-interest sparks giving, kindness, common good.

Cooney, Barbara. Miss Rumphius. New York: Viking Penguin, 1985. ISBN: 140505393
A young woman vows to make the world a more beautiful place before she grows old and dies. She follows through with her vow by scattering Lupine seeds everywhere she goes. She passes on her idea to her niece by telling her, “You must do something to make the world more beautiful.” ~ American Book Award Winner

DiSalvo-Ryan, DyAnne. City Green. HarperCollins, 1994. ISBN: 068812786X
Marcy and Miss Rosa start a campaign to clean up an empty lot and turn it into a community garden.

Stewart, Sarah, and David Small. The Gardener. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1997. ISBN: 031236749X


  1. Anticipatory Set

    Read aloud a book or story about someone improving his or her neighborhood or community. See Bibliographical References. Discuss the main character's motivation. Ask the children if they feel the same way and what they might do to make their community better.

  2. Tell the students that a community project works better if they cooperate with one or more community partners. They have already learned about community helpers who might partner with them. Tell them they are going to play a coorperative game to teach them some skills they will need as they work with their community partners.

    1. Have students stand in a big circle. Slip a hula hoop onto one child's arm. Have them all join hands.
    2. The object of the game is to move the hula hoop all the way around the circle without letting go of each others' hands.
    3. Tell the students they will be timed as they work silently, and they must not let go of hands. Give no more information or suggestions at this time.
    4. After the students get the hula hoop around the circle the first time, have students sit down. Tell them their time. Discuss how it went and how they could improve their time. (You will find students in need of communicating with each other, helping each other, and observing how others handle the situation.) Discuss how these skills are vital in working together to improve the areas of their neighborhood.
    5. Begin the activity again and allow students to communicate with each other, provide suggestions, and assist one another without letting go of hands. Time the students and compare to their first time. Discuss how the time is different and why that is.
  3. Relate this activity to working with a community organization for their community service project. (They need to communicate, provide suggestions, assist, and observe how others handle the situation.)

  4. At this point have learners come to a consensus and decide the issue they want to work on, the organization they want to partner with, and start planning the service-learning project to beautify or improve the neighborhood/community.

  5. Follow the stages of the service-learning process:

    • Investigate the issue: Although this has been the focus of the past three lessons, continue the investigation by finding specific needs and resources from the community organization.
    • Plan: working with students, teacher, and community partner, outline the steps of the service project.
    • Action: carry out the plan.
    • Reflect: stop frequently and assess how things are going and what else the team can do to keep things running smoothly. Afterward, discuss personal feelings and impact, as well as next steps.
    • Demonstration: prepare a presentation, writing, or event to share with others the details of the project. (What did you do and what was the impact?)

Students define a community organization that meets the needs identified in their survey. Students demonstrate understanding of a partnership. Students develop a workable action plan as they define their service-learning project.

Cross Curriculum 

The following areas may be addressed by the students after the survey: Trash clean up, crime and safety, planting flowers/trees, traffic concerns, public art, vandalism, school yard and/or maintenance concerns

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 04. Operational Characteristics of Nonprofit Organizations
      1. Benchmark E.1 Describe how citizens organize in response to a need.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 04. Philanthropy and Geography
      1. Benchmark E.1 Name examples of civil society organizations in the community.
      2. Benchmark E.2 Identify and describe how civil society organizations help the community.
  3. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.1 Describe one reason why a person might give or volunteer.
  4. Strand PHIL.IV Volunteering and Service
    1. Standard VS 01. Needs Assessment
      1. Benchmark E.1 Identify a need in the school, local community, state, nation, or world.
      2. Benchmark E.2 Research the need in the school, neighborhood, local community, state, nation, or world.
    2. Standard VS 03. Providing Service
      1. Benchmark E.2 Describe the goals of the project and their impact.
      2. Benchmark E.3 Describe the task and the student role.