Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Service Learning Immersion Day!

Today was Service Learning Immersion Day at my school. We have two of these days every year. There are no classes, we just do service projects all day. In the Lower School each grade is assigned a service area; 4th grade has children in need as our topic.

For our first immersion day, last fall, we went to Share Your Soles, a not for profit that collects gently used and new shoes, cleans them, and ships them all over the world to distribute to people, including children, who need them. We had a show drive before we went and took about 150 pairs of shoes with us to donate. At the Share Your Soles warehouse we all - adults and kids - helped to sort the shoes into categories. We also had an opportunity to learn about he organization and why shoes are so important. I had never thought about before we started going there, but wearing shoes not only prevents injuries, but also diseases. In some places, children cannot attend school if they don't have shoes. Black school shoes are a special category at Share Your Soles.

For our spring immersion day, though, we stayed at school and worked on two projects. We made 19 fleece blankets for Project Linus and cut out hundreds of construction paper shapes for Mother's Day projects for the Clearbrook Center, an organization that serves children and adults with developmental disabilities. It was a busy day - our floor was covered with bits of fleece and construction paper scraps. Our students worked quite cooperatively and the relaxed atmosphere gave them time to talk in ways they usually don't. I'm thinking of one group, busy cutting the fringe on a blanket, listening to one boy saying he was going to see his father, who he hadn't seen in 9 months, in the next few days. The other children in the group responded so sympathetically to him, while expressing that they could not imagine not seeing their fathers for such a long time. Maybe the act of actively helping others who we do not know extends to empathy for those we see every day.

We ended our day with writing some reflections and then taking a group photo with all the blankets and construction paper pieces that we made today. No classes, but so much learning!
In the midst of making blankets for Project Linus


  1. This is amazing! What a wonderful experience for your students. I think it's so important to teach young people to give to others. These are truly life's big lessons that they will hopefully carry with them all their lives. I want to share this with my colleagues - I know it's something we would love to do. Thank you for the inspiration!

  2. What an incredible idea. Life's important lessons with your community of learners. I suspect many would say we do not have time; yet, for life long learning lessons, there is always time!