Students in Grade 6 are expected to complete and document 5 hours of service learning. Your school may ask students in other grades to also complete service learning projects. If you are completing a service learning project outside of school, use the service learning rubric and reflection to help you evaluate your project. Here are some ways elementary school students in Fairfax County are helping their community.
On October 17, Fox Mill Elementary students, teachers, and families participated in the eighth annual Walk for the Homeless. The event, organized by the Fox Mill PTA with support from Fannie Mae, benefits Cornerstones, a Reston non-profit organization that helps people in need of food, shelter, childcare, and other services. In addition to raising funds to help the homeless, this annual event raises awareness of homeless people who live in the community. Throughout the week, students learned about homelessness on the morning announcements and from age-appropriate books that PTA volunteers read aloud. Student council officers also visited the Embry Rucker Community Shelter and shared what they learned with their classmates. For example, students learned that the majority of the homeless in their community are families with working adults. Says one student, Michelle, “I think that the Walk for the Homeless is an awesome program and now every Christmas I go to the Homeless shelter and do Christmas caroling with my Dad and friend. The Walk for the Homeless really changed my thinking about people who are homeless.” Pictured below are Fox Mill’s principal, Mie Devers, leading the warm up before the walk, and fourth grade student Kaylyn Siegfried, who designed the winning artwork for Fannie Mae’s 2013 Walk for the Homeless T-shirt, which will be used across the country.
On Veterans Day, Fairfax Villa ES invited veterans to a patriotic-themed assembly. Students in Fairfax Villa’s SuperKids Club escorted the veterans to a seat of honor and gave them the lapel pins and thank you cards they had made. Students in grades 4-6 performed patriotic songs for the guests. As part of the observance of Veterans Day, Fairfax Villa students also wrote thank you notes and created artwork to send to members of the military serving overseas and those recuperating at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
On Saturday, October 5, Chesterbrook ES participated in the McLean Run with the Warriors 5K, an annual event to benefit Chesterbrook’s neighbor, the Wounded Warrior Transitional Housing at Vinson Hall Retirement Community. Chesterbrook faculty members ran as a team, as did members of the school’s Girls on the Run group. Chester the Chipmunk, the school mascot, ran for the third straight year. Fifth and sixth grade students staffed the water stop and the school chorus performed for the crowd. It’s a great example of a school community partnership!
The Green Team at Marshall Road ES is working to make the school a greener place by initiating several new projects for the 2013-14 school year. Students are performing daily waste audits to monitor the amount of trash and recycled items coming from classrooms. The group is also spearheading a food sharing program, enabling team members to collect unopened food items from the cafeteria that will be donated to a local food bank. Team members are encouraging students to compost items from the cafeteria and are collecting juice pouches for the TerraCycling program. PTA members are supporting the Green Team’s efforts to work in the school garden. If you’d like to get involved with Marshall Road’s Green Team, contact Mackenzie Kraus at firstname.lastname@example.org. Do you want to start a similar program at your school? More than 60 FCPS schools have become Eco-Schools. Visit the Eco-Schools website to find out more or contact the FCPS Environmental Stewardship Resource Teacher, Elaine Tholen, at email@example.com.
The mission of CHALK4PEACE is to bring communities together to advocate for peace, so it was a fitting activity in honor of the International Day of Peace on September 21. On September 20, each grade at Groveton ES was responsible for filling a section of the school’s sidewalk with peaceful art. The students’ artwork correlated to the artistic theme for their grade level; for example, sixth graders focusing on identity were asked to draw what peace means to them, while second graders focusing on community were asked to draw how they create peace in their community. CHALK4PEACE has been a tradition at Groveton since 2008, so today’s sixth graders have been participating since they were first graders. One sixth grader, Evelyn, drew a bowl of alphabet soup with the letters “Chalk 4 Peace” inside. She chose this design because, she says, her teacher asked them to “find things around the house every day to be peaceful,” and Evelyn feels that “when we’re cooking we’re all participating in something that’s quiet and peaceful.” From the many scenes of peaceful collaboration, it was clear that Groveton students had learned the day’s lesson.
Several other FCPS schools also participate in CHALK4PEACE. Eagle View ES has a long tradition of participating in CHALK4PEACE, and for the last three years, they have held the event on a Saturday, so that families can participate. Students prepare by learning about the event around the world, discussing peaceful works of art, and sketching their ideas, and then bring their families to create artwork together. This year the event was held on September 21, and over 300 people participated! Maybe your school could be the next site to promote peace through art. Check out the links or contact Groveton ES’s art teacher, Marielle Mariano, or Eagle View’s art teachers, Jessica Chin and Erin Haab, to find out more.
Service Learning Resource Teacher
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November 26, 2013