Dr. Mary R. Moeller

Course Description:

This special topics course is designed to meet the needs of two groups of educators.  For practicing teachers and future administrators taking earning graduate credit, this course is an opportunity to learn about the mechanics of service-learning as a pedagogy in the P-12 classroom and to work together with pre-service teacher candidates in a mentoring relationship to develop and implement service-learning projects in the teacher’s school.


For undergraduate pre-service teachers, this course provides information on service-learning as a pedagogy/philosophy and an opportunity to work under the tutelage of practicing teachers to develop and implement service-learning projects. All participants are expected to work in groups to design, implement, and assess a service-learning project involving P-12 students during the semester.

Instructional Methods:

The course brings together theory and practice in a pragmatic, application-based design. Content will be taught through these methods: guest speakers, readings, seminars, discussion and cooperative learning group projects.


Textbook: Kaye, C. B. (2009). The Complete Guide to Service Learning. Minneapolis: Free Spirit.

Required text includes many examples to be used for future projects.

Readings: Selections from writings by Furco, Boyer, Clayton

Clayton, P. H. (2009). Generating, Deepening, and Documenting Learning: Reflection Beyond the Basics. Midwest Consortium.

Gelmon, S., Holland, B., Driscoll, A., Spring, A., & Kerrigan, S. (2001). Assessing Service-Learning and Civic Engagement. Boston: Campus Compact.


Course Goals:

  1. Students will gain the requisite knowledge and skills needed to effectively plan,  implement and assess a service-learning project in the P-12 classroom.
  2. Students will work together effectively in a cooperative group environment.
  3. Graduate students will identify and practice mentoring skills in a small group setting.
  4. Students will develop an assessment tool for use in evaluating an effective mentoring relationship and in evaluating service-learning projects; they will utilize those tools in assessing their group projects.
  5. Students will use the results of their assessments to evaluate the success of their service-learning projects.

Assignments and Evaluation Weighting

  • Weekly Reflection Logs – due two days after each weekly class session      20%
  • Weekly class participation & oral reflections/discussion                        15%
  • 20-hours participation (outside class) with P-12 students/staff in developing and implementing service-learning projects within classroom settings            15%
  • Development of various project tools                                     20%

Rubrics for assessing projects

Promotional materials

Cooperative group work rubric

Community impact assessment

  • Cooperative group peer evaluations                                10%
  • Final paper evaluating project                                           20%

Assessment of Student Learning/Course Requirements

Weekly assignment guidelines, reflection prompts and deadlines will be provided and explained in class.   Your class attendance is a critical component in your ability to thoroughly understand the assessment process and material; some assignments will be graded on small group participation only. Service-learning project assessments and tools for evaluating the process will be developed during the course as part of small group activities.

Reflection Strategy

This class will use the “DEAL” (Ash, Clayton, & Moses, 2005) reflection strategy as a guide for the weekly reflection logs. Briefly, this model requires students to “d”escribe their service experience for the week, to “e”xamine those experience in light of course learning objectives, and to “a”rticulate that “l”earning to define future action.

Tentative Course Schedule:

January 13 (5-8 P.M.) Introduction & course overview

  • Welcome from Camelot Intermediate Principal and Camelot Guidance Counselor speaking on Camelot School philosophy & expectations

(This model school has embraced service as a guiding principle for its students.)

  • Reflection as a tool for learning & assessing:
    • From Kaye & Hatcher; Begin your reflections journal by answering the following questions:
    • What draws you to service-learning?  What is your history with volunteering or community service?  What are your earliest memories of serving others?  How did you react to those experiences?  (Include both positive & negative reactions as appropriate.)
    • What did you learn from these experiences about your community? About others?  About yourself?
    • Getting to know each other; sharing past service experiences
    • Review syllabus & course expectations
    • Defining service-learning:
      • The model – Furco’s continuum in Hayes text
      • Brookings High School personal experiences with service-learning; connecting English content standards on technical writing with community service projects; assessment points within this example.

January 20 (5-7 P.M.) Key components of service-learning; Student needs; Working collaboratively

  • Identifying the key components of service-learning.  What is the process?  Pages 1-3, 6 & 7 in Kaye text. Selections from Gelmon.
    • Consider the possibilities for documenting the project.  What would be the benefits of taking pictures? How does project assessment work?
    • How could we celebrate efforts, showcase the project?  Why is that step important?
    • Reflecting to capture your observations of students; speculating on needs
      • What are student needs from your perspective? Consider dispositions and/or attitudes, character education, civic responsibility; create a list.
      • What content-specific needs can you identify? Create another list.

Local middle school counselor on “What the SEARCH results (national study) identify in the Brookings School District”

  • Assets
  • Deficits
  • Community and school responses
  • Whole group discussion: Needs of P-12 students
  • Small group creation with teachers and pre-service teachers self-selecting based on interests; cooperative group formation activities including writing up individual responsibility contracts within groups

January 27 (5-7 P.M.)            Identifying community needs – Agency Perspectives; Promoting Projects

  • United Retirement Center, Administrator speaking on intergenerational needs
  • Local pastor speaking on Impact Lives Project, March 27; Promoting projects
  • Design Fundamentals: Kaye Text, chapter 3 – Blueprint for projects; writing learning and service goals

Small group time: sharing reflections and giving feedback; setting specific learning goals and service goals for projects; establishing time lines for projects; group formation processing


February 3 (5-7 P.M.) Community nutritional needs as example project; Assessing & promoting projects

  • Brookings Backpack Project presentation on poverty, nutritional needs
  • Hayes text, chapters 4-14; expert group jigsaw content; examples of projects that match academic content standards with community service
  • Introduction to project promotion: what might this look like?

What avenues work best for communicating with students, parents, community?

  • Small group work: sharing reflections and giving feedback; updates, challenges, problem-solving
  • Whole class: examples of rubrics used to assess service-learning projects and their impact on community (examples from Gelmon)
  • Small group work: create rubrics specific for your group’s project
  • Small groups progress report to whole class; whole group gives feedback on rubrics created

March 17 (5-7 P.M.) Developing and sustaining momentum through success stories; Showcase planning

  • Literature as a tool in service-learning
    • What inspirational stories, movies, videos have you seen?
    • How could story be used to motivate students? To help students understand needs & opportunities?
    • Celebrating the end of the project: why is this important? What is appropriate?
    • Small group work: sharing reflections, updates, challenges, problem-solving
    • Small group work: create plan to celebrate and showcase your project
    • Small groups progress report to whole class; whole group provides feedback through suggestions and questions.


April 7            (5-7 P.M.)  Assessing course, service experience and small group work

  • Individual opportunity to assess understanding of service-learning as a pedagogy; peer evaluations completed.
  • Small group work: sharing reflections; assessing project’s impact on community; assessing the service-learning project process; promotion and planning to involve P-12 students, their parents, community in showcase
  • Small groups share their assessments with whole class; whole group provides feedback.
  • Whole class planning for showcase

April 28 (5-7 P.M.) Service-learning showcase at Camelot Intermediate School with parents, students, staff and community invited. Distribution of assessment surveys.

Final Reflection: The final paper is due May 5. In a 4-5 page reflective essay, summarize the results and analysis of the assessments of P-12 student learning, the community impact surveys, and your personal learning. Refer to the assessment rubrics created by your small group for guidance.