Real-life learning excites students and enhances community connection. In part one of a three-article series, we take a look at building Community Learning into your instruction plan, brick by brick.
If your learner numbers need a boost – or if you want to jazz up student enthusiasm – consider creating “whiz/pop, how cool is that?!” Community Learning mini-courses.
Light the Spark
Fire up community awareness in your learners by spotlighting local needs. Even very young children can positively impact others’ lives! As you craft experiences for students, contemplate these guidelines to help children see, feel and sense what it truly means to contribute in a caring community.
For example, delve into a lesson on the Veterans’ Day tradition of “America’s White Table” by reading this fabulous book.
Next, assist students in acquiring supplies to set their own tables in your microschool environment or their own homes. Assign learners to write or call a veteran in their families or communities to thank them for their military service. Finally, plan a small group volunteer visit to a local veterans’ center.
With Pre-K through 5th grade learners, tip the scales heavily in favor of real-life adventures. When in doubt for any age group, err on the “hands-on” side of the equation.
Think of geographically close opportunities with short drive times, so that students and parents can participate quickly and easily.
Is your local community strongly interested in specific missions? For example, families in rural areas may appreciate a community farming mini-course for their learners. If a retirement home is close by, elderly outreach might be well-received.
Awesome Community Learning Ideas
Need intriguing Community Learning ideas to knock the socks off your students? Put your creative teacher twist on any of the following.
Visit retirement villages, nursing homes or veterans’ homes. Read stories, play simple games, listen to music and sing with the residents.
Look in Your Own Backyard
Reach out to neighbors by delivering meals and volunteering to perform simple chores. Brainstorm random acts of kindness with learners.
Ask the local library about volunteer opportunities. If book donations are welcome, students can sort through their own books and pack up ones to give away.
Serve meals in a homeless shelter or pack shoeboxes of toiletries for refuge centers.
Start a new family hobby – volunteer together at an animal rescue center.
Eat what you grow! Discover where food really comes from and how to grow/harvest it…while simultaneously forging friendships with neighbors.
Community Learning mini-courses can be as planned or as casual as you’d like. Make the lessons and experiences work for your schedule and your students. Immerse learners in community service beginning at a very young age and pique their interest in lifelong contribution!
After all…we’re in this world together.
Have you incorporated real-life experiences in your learning journey? Share your adventures and thoughts…we’d love to hear about them!
Keep an eye on your email! Our next article on Community Learning features an inspirational story to energize you.