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Teachers Network Leadership Institute:
Wyoming Teacher Policy Institute
Cornelia Dereemer, Johnson Jr. High, Cheyenne, WY 

MEETING MULTI-GRADE LEVEL STANDARDS THROUGH SERVICE LEARNING

Problem   With this project, I wanted to change the learning environment in which my students were traditionally taught. My goal was to make my students’ classroom study more relevant and to connect their studies to real life situations. This service learning project was chosen to empower students by developing their sense of caring and meeting the needs of others.
Research Question Could multi-grade level standards be met through a service learning project in health education?  Specifically, 9th graders must meet communication standards in personal, family and community health.  While meeting this standard, this action research project was designed to meet elementary health standards as well.
Methods  Survey of all 5th grade teachers in Laramie County School District #1 about their knowledge and experience of teaching health standards. A pre-test designed by the 9th grades for participating 5th graders to determine whether or not the 5th graders had any health knowledge related to their standards
  • Observations of students at work.
  • Photographs.
  • Reaction papers from 9th grade students.
Findings 
  • There is a need for improving the delivery of health knowledge to elementary students (a district requirement).
  • Elementary teachers have neither the time, materials nor training to teach health. The majority of elementary teachers would prefer to have someone else teach health to their students.
  • Service learning in health was an excellent way to meet the needs and meet standards in elementary health education.
  • Service learning in health was an excellent way to meet the needs and meet standards in elementary health education.
  • 9th graders demonstrated the ability to advocate health knowledge, skills and practice to their younger peers. 
  • 9th graders were affected in many positive ways, i.e. they developed their critical thinking, self-confidence, self-esteem, knowledge, and experience outside the classroom.
  • When used as a teaching tool, service learning reaches children who don’t/can’t/won’t learn in the traditional classroom setting.
Policy Recommendations
  1. Service learning is an effective method for meeting education standards. Classroom study is more relevant as students apply their skills beyond the confines of classroom walls. Service learning helps students learn and develop a sense of social responsibility. Based on this service learning project I recommend that all students in Laramie County:§ Be given the opportunity to engage in a school-based service learning experience.§ All students must have access to and gain skills in computer technology.§ More classroom space is required to accommodate the wide range of learning materials a teacher needs to help students be successful in a standards-based environment.
  2. Learning styles vary immensely among students. Teachers need to accommodate these learning styles to help students be successful.

 

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