What is Service-Learning?

Service-learning is an instructional strategy that connects academics to community service activities. During service-learning, students research community needs and then plan and implement projects that make a difference. Senator John Glenn defines service-learning as academics in action.

How do I get started?

There are several ways to connect academics to hands-on service:

  • Start with your TEKS and find the natural extension into service

    • Example: 7th grade science students learning about Organisms and Environments, invited Bat Conservation International to talk to their class about bats in Round Rock. The students then invited parents and the media to a "Bat Night" where the students educated the community.
  • Start with a current service project and look for curricular connections

    • Example: Every year our elementary school hosts a canned food drive. This year, all teachers worked together to connect their curricular areas to the issue of hunger in the community. Students wound up getting more involved and excited about the food drive and we were more successful than ever!
  • Start with a broad unit of study and then connect it to service

    • Example: Third grade social studies has a unit on "Good Citizenship in Communities." We knew we wanted to do more than just study good citizenship, we wanted to put it into action. Our students invited a representative from Red Cross to visit our class and talk about the organization and then we sponsored a fundraiser.
  • Start with a need identified by the community

    • Example: After learning about the terrible drought this summer, we wanted to make people aware of the importance of conserving water. Our 2nd graders connected their learning about the water cycle to an awareness campaign for our entire school.
  • Start with a need identified by the students

    • Example: Students were concerned about bullying on campus, so they created an educational video and showed it to the whole school. They developed language arts and technology skills, and they had to work collaboratively.