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Service learning: Eighth graders reflect on what they have to give

Janet Kiplinger Ciccone
Mon, 2012-06-04 15:45

Eighth graders involved in a service learning project between two Columbus City Schools certainly expanded kindergartners' exposure to books. But they also gained insights about themselves.

The 24 Buckeye Middle School students shared their thoughts about mentoring Cedarwood Elementary School students in literary reflection journals. Their comments show that service learning had a dual effect. It helped the kindergarteners with reading, but it also engaged the eighth graders in making a difference in others' lives, revealing new capabilities.

Teacher Pam Reed, who took a graduate course in service learning with Valerie Kinloch, associate professor of teaching and learning, now infuses the creative teaching method into her language arts classes. One project linked the two classrooms.

Below is a selection of comments about choosing books and enjoying them with kindergarten buddies from Reed's students' journals.

My reflection is...

  • During this project, I was able to show how I am responsible.
  • I was able to use some of my strengths (things I'm good at) to help our group make a difference.
  • I enjoyed coming to school during this day.
  • I actually wanted to come to school today. It was better than I thought it was gonna be. It applies to me because I liked to do this for them. We had fun and we were very social and productive during this time.
  • During this project, I felt like we were working on something that was important and "real."
  • During this project, I was able to show how I care about others.

How does this reflection apply to me?

  • Well I really like it. I can't wait to go back. It is so cool to have somebody that you can help like reading.
  • I use all of my strengths like my voices and my fluency to show the kids how fun it is to read and I was kind.
  • I actually wanted to come to school today. It was better than I thought it was gonna be. It applies to me because I liked to do this for them. We had fun and we were very social and productive during this time.
  • This reflection applies to me because I want to help children think reading is fun.
  • I think that my child would be able to be a better reader because of me.
  • This reflection applies to me because [my kindergarten friend] Warren made me feel like a whole different person and made me feel like I wanted to just talk/sit with him all day.

What are three ways I contributed to solving the literacy problem?

  • I think my child will be a good reader because of me.
  • Made them like it. Helped them with a couple words. I read the books they wanted me to.
  • Reading to the kids every day. Help them be better readers. Have them pick their favorite book.
  • They could know/learn how fun reading really is.
  • I read to him. I made him my new friend.

One-word summary of my experience so far..

  • Excited
  • Thrilled
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