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ERIC Number: EJ1002589
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 5
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1056-0300
How Service-Learning Can Ignite Thinking
Serriere, Stephanie; McGarry, Lori; Fuentes, David; Mitra, Dana
Social Studies and the Young Learner, v24 n4 p6-10 Mar-Apr 2012
At its best, service learning involves students making meaningful connections to their own community and feeling empowered by the experience. Unfortunately, in the elementary years, student service-learning is often a one-shot effort in which adults make decisions for children, preventing them from truly having a hand in the project's direction and purpose. Knowing this, the authors wondered, what kind of thinking would be promoted by a sustained (lasting more than a few hours) and co-constructed (by adults and children) service-learning project? For one year, three educators from The Pennsylvania State University observed one teacher's combined first and second grade classroom, focusing especially on her efforts to plan and carry out service learning projects with the children (and not imposed upon them). From this research, the authors offer six explanatory themes that illuminate how service-learning can promote various modes of thinking: thinking globally, thinking locally, thinking historically, thinking across curriculums, thinking empathetically, and thinking reflexively. The classroom teacher, Lori McGarry is the second author of this article. Lori's work with her students at Dewey Elementary School provides an example of how children can be asked to think about human needs, assess their own abilities, and then make connections with a local homeless population, making a difference for individuals who happen to be homeless. (Contains 10 notes.)
National Council for the Social Studies. 8555 Sixteenth Street #500, Silver Spring, MD 20910. Tel: 800-683-0812; Tel: 301-588-1800: Fax: 301-588-2049; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Grade 1; Grade 2; Primary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Pennsylvania