Framework for Compassionate Action

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People Making a Difference: Promoting Compassionate Action in Service Learning

NCSS Annual Conference,
2010

Dr. Paula DeHart and Dr. JoAnne Katzmarek, University of Wisconsin
-
Stevens Point


Framework for Developing Speaking, Listening and Writing Skills Th
rough Social Studies Concepts

Literature Choice and
Social Studies
Concepts/Topics

Speaking
Listening
Activity

Writing
Activity

How the Co
mbination Develops Empathy and Explores/Promotes Compassionate Action

The Librarian of Basra

Civic responsibility, wa
r,
oppression

Readers
Theatre

Writing scripts

Reader

s theatre and script writing both highlight the interactions between people; the focus on
dialogue/interactions can help students understand the feelings and emotions of people from a variety of cultures
.

Ruby Bridges

Civil Rights,
discrimination,
segregation and
desegregation

Role Playing

Poem for two
voices

Role
-
playing helps students become a part of historical events rather than viewing them from a distance. Poetry
writing can dramatically capture t
he emotion of an historical event. Poem for two voices is especially effective for
presenting multiple viewpoints.

Wilfrid Gordon
McDonald Partridge

Aging, Alzheimer’s,
relationships with elders

Grand
Conversation


Double entry
journal

Grand conversation
s encourage open
-
ended and focused discussion of the content, useful particularly when it is
expected that students will have a strong emotional reaction to the content. Double entry journal facilitates
interaction between the student and the text and pro
vide a place for students to share their feelings about what they
are reading

Listen to the Wind

Public service,
cooperation, Pakistani
culture, human rights

Sequencing

IAM poem

Sequencing and I AM poems are especially powerful when addressing biographica
l or autobiographical content.
The sequencing activity helps students view important events in the lives of the main character(s) in chronological
order, and the I AM poem helps them identify with the character and think about how the person may have felt

about the events in his/her life.

John Muir

Westward Expansion ,
influential person of WI ,
environmental
conservation

Oral
Summarizing

Letter Writing

Oral summarizing can help students review both the main literary components of the story and the centra
l
characters, location of events, sequence of events and underlying themes. Letter writing is most powerful when
students can actually write to the author, the characters involved or people who lived through the same events
(authentic). Authentic letter
writing invites students to share feelings associated with the story’s characters and
their conflicts.

Wangari’s Trees of
Peace

20th Century, Africa,
importance of education,
women’s rights,
environmental
conservation, green
activism, pacifism

Interviews

Problem

Solution Writing

Interviewing can help students understand the emotional/social/cultural impact of events on people’s lives.
In
problem/solution writing, students identify a problem and explain the solution. A variation of this pattern is the
que
stion and answer format in which the student (author) poses a question and then answers it.

When I grow up, I will
win the Nobel prize

Peace , civic action,
public service

Critical
Listening

Propaganda
Writing

Critical listening focuses the student’s att
ention on the author’s message to detect propaganda devices, persuasive
language, and emotional appeals. Propaganda writing then provides students with the opportunity to apply
propaganda devices in their own writing to persuade their reading audience.

T
wo Bobbies

Hurricane Katrina,
animal rescue,
handicaps, survival

KWL

Cause/Effect

Writing

A focused KWL discussion can help students
take an active role in talking about what they are learning. By
engaging students with questions
such as

“What
do
we know
?”



What
do
we want to
learn
?”

and “What
have
we
learned
?
”, teachers can direct student learning in a positive manner. In Cause/Effect writing students describe one
or more cause(s) and the resulting effect(s) using
:

why,


if…,then, as a result, therefor
e, and because phrases.


Framework for Developing Speaking, Listening and Writing Skills Through Social Studies Concepts

Literature Choice
and Social Studies
Concepts/Topics

Connecting Compassionate Action to Community Service

The Librarian of
Basra

Civi
c

-
The writing scripts and Reader's Theatre activities used after reading
The Librarian of Basra
can

lead students to doing a community service project where
they help gain support for a library or other

important historical building in a community. Stude
nts can use
The Librarian of Basra
to highlight how

important the library was to people in the community, even though people were preoccupied by trying

to survive through the war. If students wish to

gain
support for a library or o
ther historical building
in

their community, they could create a Reader's Theatre about the importance of the contents of the

library
and the people who use the resources. Students could perform the Reader's Theatre at a county

or city board meeting where people who make the decis
ions
on closing down a building like a library can

see how important the building and information in the building is to the community.

-
Tutor / read to young children

Ruby Bridges


-
To encourage community service and community awareness in my classroom, I

would read the

book ti
tl
ed
The story of Ruby Bridges
by Robert Coles. This
book emphasizes equality and following your

dreams in order to create freedom and equality. To have this ideal go beyond the walls of my

classroom, I
would contact the city and see

if there was a place where my class could paint a mural

about being a warm and welcoming community. It could possibly be
called, "Putting the UNITY in

community."

If the city does not allow this to take place, I would have students create posters or a

sch
ool mural (either
directly on the wall or on rolls of paper) for the students to see.

-
Address needs of people new to the community who might be forgotten or discriminated against like immigrant groups, people li
ving in poverty,
housebound or homeless indi
viduals

Wilfrid Gordon
McDonald
Partridge


I believe that allowing a student to walk in another persons shoes allows them the opportunity to open their

eyes to others needs in the community and not
just that of their own. Here a student has the possibilit
y to lead their thinking away from

the "me" frame of mind and towards the "we" by incorporating
what they have just

learned into an actual task and in turn extending their learning through doing.

Partnerships with senior/assisted living fa
cilities, oral hi
story projects with seniors/grandparents, contribute to Alzheimer’s Foundation/activities



Listen to the Wind


-
I really enjoyed Listen to the Wind by Greg Mortenson that was a true story about Dr. Greg who

went into the village of Korphe and helped to b
uild a
school for the children. After reading the

book the students would participate in a sequencing activity to reinforce the events in the book

and an "I am" poem
to allow the students to become a character and empathize with them. As a

class we could p
articipate in a "Habitats for Humanity" project, a Rake
-
a
-
thon,
food drive or toy

collection project to help many people in the community in any way that we can like Dr. Greg

did for the people of Korphe.

-
Other ideas included:
Clean up the school

grounds
and the area around it,
Create a poster or news article to persuade people to supp
ort a community service
project,
Write a persuasive letter to grocery stores to get them to help with a f
ood pantry drive,
Promote the “Fill a backpack fill a need” program

John Muir


-
Using the book
John Muir,
as part of

your curriculum, and having students

write letters in r
esponse to the reading would be
motivating for students to
become

involved in their community. This book and letter writing activity may lead students t
o

develop a student or community organization that focuses on
making their school area

and community more environmentally friendly. Students would be able to participate in

trash pick
-
Up
s, planting trees,
recycling
program
s
, educating the public,

creating
a clean
-
sweep day for members in the community and others.

-
Other ideas included:
Create posters to persuade the community

to donate to school food drive,
write a persuasive letter to a local government
representative abou
t a current environmental issue,
B
uild a community flower garden
.

Wangari’s Trees of
Peace


-
I think reading the book "Wangari's Trees of Peace" by Jeanette Winter is a great

way to start a community service project. I think by having students
interview people on

what they use trees for w
ould be a great way for students to understand how important

trees are. They could interview many different
people on this question and get a variety

of reasons trees are needed. They can then come up with a solution to solve this

problem, which would be p
lanting
more trees. This would then lead them into actually

solving the problem by planting real trees in their community.

Could be linked to

Earth Day activities.

Wh
en I Grow Up, I
Will W
in the Nobel
Peace P
rize

-
We decided to utilize persuasive writing
to create flyers
(also considered a band wagon

technique) to gather local support for a collection for the local food
pantry. We chose to have the students at our school plan and run a hands
-
on fundraising and food raising event as well as request donation
s from local
businesses. Not only would the students plan and collect the food for the local food pantry, they

would also deliver the donations to the pantry and stock the
shelves.

Two Bobbies


-
Community service might include projects for people affected

by natural disasters like hurricanes, tornados, floods, and earthquakes

-
Volunteer at the Humane Society, fundraise for the American Red Cross