Friday, June 22, 2012

Summer Bridge Students Experience Service-Learning

In addition to instruction in Math and Literacy, CPS Summer Bridge students will experience service-learning this summer. Following a pilot run last summer with a subset of students, the Service-Learning Initiative was asked to develop service-learning curriculum that would engage students in real-world projects to benefit students and their communities. 

In partnership with Mikva Challenge, Peace Jam, Constitutional Rights Foundation Chicago, and the Coalition to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children (CLOCC), the Service-Learning Initiative developed resources to engage 15,000 students in hands-on classroom activities and projects.  This summer, third grade students will explore peace-making with a particular focus on Nobel Peace Prize Laureates (several of whom visited Chicago in April), in order to create peace-making strategies in their classrooms and schools and identify peace-makers in their neighborhoods for community peace prizes.  These peace-makers will be honored at the conclusion of Summer Bridge during a ceremony. 

6th grade students will investigate the many aspects of food including the food web, nutrition and health, equity of distribution, over-exuberant marketing, costs and budgeting, and choices related to food.  The unit's essential question, why do people eat what they eat? encourages students to examine the economics, culture, traditions, distribution, and geography of food choices. Working together, 6th graders will create a cookbook of healthy food choices that includes familial cultural stories of food.  Mayor Rahm Emmanuel and his wife Amy Rule have agreed to submit their own favorite recipe and story to the project.

8th graders will begin their service-learning work by examining the issues that matter to themselves and their own communities.  From this starting point students will make connections to political candidates for office in the 2012 general election then create a voter education guide that lets voters understand where the candidates stand on issues important to the community.  

Students in 10 schools on the south side will have the unique opportunity, utilizing the Action Based Community curriculum of Constitutional Rights Foundation Chicago, to identify a local issue then develop a plan of action to address that problem and present their action plan to professionals at a federal court house venue. 

Summer service-learning opportunities for students tie in neatly with Literacy curriculum which focuses on the civil rights era in the United States.  The Literacy curriculum serves as an ideal set-up for student action.

It is an exciting proposition for CPS to engage students who have been asked to attend summer school to gain promotion to the next grade in projects that have real-life implications.  Students will be gaining real-life 21st century skills as they work together to solve some of society's most pressing problems. 

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