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Volunteer in Your Community

After students complete their volunteer project, hold a class discussion to recap what happened. Encourage students to share how they contributed during the day.

PROCESS:

  1. Display the site “Volunteer with the Smithsonian.”
  2. As you review the site, challenge students to identify at least 10 ways that people can volunteer at the Smithsonian. If necessary, provide examples such as answering questions on the telephone, gardening, organizing and preserving documents, and even showing people how to feed a tarantula! Point out to the class that while some of these opportunities are unique to the Smithsonian, most could be done just about anywhere.
  3. Discuss with students different ways they can volunteer in their own school or community. Then plan and hold a volunteer event for your class, grade or school. If possible, enlist the help of parents, older siblings and other community members.

ASSESSMENT:

After students complete their volunteer project, hold a class discussion to recap what happened. Encourage students to share how they contributed during the day.

CUSTOMIZE THE LESSON:

Grades 3-4:
Organize the event yourself. Require each student to participate. After the event, encourage students to make a list identifying each thing they did to help someone else that day. Post the lists as a reminder of students’ good deeds.

Grades 5-6:
Invite students to help you organize the event. Require each student to participate. After the event, encourage students to make a list identifying each thing they did to help someone else that day. Post the lists as a reminder of students’ good deeds.

Grades 7-8:
Once you have an overall project in mind, divide the class into small groups. Assign each group a specific part of the project. Supervise as groups plan the step-by-step process for completing their tasks. You may wish to work with other classes or expand this into an all-school project. After students complete the project, encourage them to write an evaluation outlining what they did, how it helped others and what volunteering in this way meant to them.

Grades 9-10:
Once you have an overall project in mind, encourage students to select a team of supervisors. Each supervisor will oversee a specific area of the project. All other students will work in small groups to complete specific tasks. Encourage teams to outline the step-by-step process for completing their tasks so the overall project flows as seamlessly as possible. You may wish to work with other classes or expand this into an all-school project. Encourage students to enlist the help of parents, siblings and other community members who want to help others in need. After students complete the project, encourage them to write an evaluation outlining what they did, how it helped others and what volunteering in this way meant to them.