8th Graders Explore Passions Through Service Learning Projects

The 8th grade class spent January through end of the school year taking some ambitious service learning projects from inception to completion. The projects varied widely from student to student but each had several consistent elements -- a service component, journaling, public presentation to class and families, and a main lesson book including research, biographies, reflections on the process, photographs, poems and more. Each project taught the students some lessons no text book ever could -- including how to work independently, how to budget time over a long-term project, writing proposals and letters, concept design and planning, flexibility and how to adapt to changing plans and circumstances. In the end, the students reflected that they were most excited about the personal choice and initiative they were able to exercise and the ongoing learning they experienced from beginning to end. Projects included:

Quinn -- "Building Bridges," bog bridge-building on trails at the Forest Kindergarten.

Leama -- “Fashion Takes Flight,” a charity fashion show benefiting WSSS and Micael Escuela, a Waldorf school in Puerto Rico hit hard by hurricane Maria.

Raven -- “Therapy Dog,” training a dog to become a therapy dog and giving a presentation and demonstration for grades 1 through 4.

Isabella -- “Lena’s Walk of Love,” a charity walk for the Dandy Walker Alliance.

Robin -- “Building Raised Beds,” building four garden beds for the Forest Kindergarten.

Harry -- “Wildlife Work,” creating four small habitats and one large habitat for Adirondack Wildlife Refuge.

Nirendae -- “Middle Minded,” writing and directing a skit about racism and leading a discussion with the high school students during forum.

Balasai -- “Gazebos Revisited,” creating a bench/sitting area that will live by the pond at the high school.

Aiden -- “Fire Fighting,” volunteering at the Maple Ave. firehouse weekly for five months and creating a fire safety guide and coloring book for children.

Eli -- “I’m Fixin’ a Hole,” shadowing Mr. Litts and learning how to fix and maintain our buildings, including recabling windows, restoring the May Pole, painting the pole barn, and other various odd jobs.

Nicholas -- “Good Food for a Good Cause,” learning how to cook a different dish each month and preparing snack for three days for children in Franklin Community Center’s Project Lift.

Matty -- “Piano Man,” learning to play the piano and performing for residents at the Wesley Community Center.

Sophia -- “S.A.F.E. Safety Awareness For Everyone,” developing and learning a series of self-defense techniques and presenting them to a small group at MYGYM fitness center in Ballston Spa.

#experientiallearning #middleschool #8thgrade #servicelearning

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