Friday, December 14, 2012

First Project is Underway!

With only six days left until winter break, we are excited to announce that we are going to do a week long "change drive."  Each student has taken part in creating signs to post around school explaining what their service topic is and why we are asking for spare change.  My morning class is looking forward to purchasing cancer awareness bracelets for us to wear and sell at school.  And the afternoon class is going to adopt an animal (a Tiger - which we voted on in class) with World Wildlife Fund.  Students have placed buckets around the school for students, parents and teachers to drop their money in to and they are also going to spread the word throughout their neighborhoods.  Our goal per class is $50 - wish us luck!

My prayers and thoughts go out to all the families in Newtown, CT during this time of sadness. 

Cancer PSA

There are no words to describe how much this video means to me.  With this being my first time teaching a service-learning class, I was blown away by the heart-felt responses the fourth graders gave.  I can tell that the students have already learned from this experience which shows me that it is going to be a fabulous year of service and learning!

My thoughts and prayers are with the community of Newtown, Connecticut in this time of sadness.  

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The learning has begun...

Words cannot describe how incredibly proud I am of my students. They have opened their minds to the idea that they are able to help regardless of how severe and serious the topic may be.

My morning class watched two inspiring videos provided by LiveStrong ( that discussed the importance of helping cancer patients as well as cancer survivors.  We discussed what cancer was and how people are effected by the disease. The class spoke about why they were helping and how they wanted to help in the area of cancer. 

My afternoon class had a little bit more opportunity to discuss and they were able to explore the Humane Society website ( where they learned about abusive animal situations, puppy mills and homeless pets. Each student reflected in their notebook on the four questions below:

1. What is your class project?
2. How are YOU going to help?
3. Why is service-learning important?
4. Why are you choosing to help?

As a class we compiled our ideas onto a chart and will use all these ideas to make an informational video about our service project.  Can't wait to share! 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Research Has Started

Students have been hard at work researching and gathering information about their service topics.  It has been some what of a struggle to find time in class, however the students are excited to get their projects started.  The amount of new knowledge they are gaining is incredible. We started a Service-Learning Spiral where they will keep track of their research, project ideas and other notes from class.  With just a couple of hours on the iPad looking at the websites, the students are talking to other students and teachers about their findings.  Hopefully we will be able to get something started before we head to holiday break! 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Helpful Websites

When the students return from holiday break, I plan on splitting them into groups to look at our service projects in three different areas: Local, Country and World.  My hope is that they will explore different research tools and start to develop relationships with organizations around the world. 

Websites to Guide with Cancer Research:
American Cancer Society:


St. Jude:


Websites to Guide with Animal Research:
Austin Pet's Alive:

Austin Zoo:

Marine Mammal Center:

World Wildlife Fund:


Thursday, November 15, 2012

Animal Project Names

After much debate and discussion about our class animal project name, I believe my afternoon class has come up with a decision.  They found it difficult because there were so many creative names that had already been taken by other communities and organizations.  However, my students handled it very well; they were very patient and wanted to come up with something original.  We used many different techniques in class to take the votes. We started off compiling ideas with post-it notes, added them to a class chart, and then voted through Socrative iPad app (

Our animal project service-learning group will be called:
Schumann Species Savers

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Cancer Project Names

My morning class came together today to find a name for our project this year.  We will be working on many different mini-projects throughout the year on the subject of cancer. In order to bring us together as a group, we thought it would be best to come up with a catchy group name. 

Each student came up with an idea and wrote it on a post-it note.  We then came together to compile the ideas onto a class chart.  We had a great discussion about some of the names and how each student came up with them (they always amaze me how creative they can be in such a short amount of time). 

I am excited to announce that our cancer project name is: 
Cancer Isn't the Answer 

Wall of Inspiration

Students opened their eyes today to a new way of thinking.  Class and small group discussions guided students to pick whether they were more like Gandhi, Mandela, Mr. Rogers or Aristotle.  After reading each quote and discussing the meaning behind it, the students broke into small groups to discuss their own beliefs.  Each student wrote their inspiration and belief on a strip of paper and added it to our Wall of Inspiration.  My hope is that we will continue to add to this wall throughout the year.

4th Grade TEKS:
(29)  Listening and Speaking/Teamwork. Students work productively with others in teams. Students continue to apply earlier standards with greater complexity. Students are expected to participate in teacher- and student-led discussions by posing and answering questions with appropriate detail and by providing suggestions that build upon the ideas of others.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Finding Inspiration in Others

Tomorrow we are using quotes to inspire and spark conversation about service.  During these conversations we will brainstorm creative project names. 

You must be the change you wish to see in the world. 
      -Mahatma Gandhi

We live in a world in which we need to share responsibility.  It’s easy to say “It’s not my child, not my community, not my world, not my problem.”  Then there are those who see the need and respond.  I consider those people my heroes. 
      -Mr. Rogers 

Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world. 

- Nelson Mandela

Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all. 

-- Aristotle

A decision has been made...

After much discussion, my two classes have decided on a topic for their project!  We compiled our ideas through Socrative and then voted on the final decision using Edmodo.  It was great to see the children encouraging each other to pick the topic that was most meaningful to them.  I also noticed a majority of the students changing their ideas and thought process throughout the activity. 

Morning Class:

The excitement is definitely in the air and we are ready to help out in anyway we can for individuals, families and organizations associated with cancer.

Afternoon Class:

There was a clear winner in my afternoon class! It is obvious that they are all extremely dedicated and passionate about helping animals this year!

Socrative Ideas from Everyone in Class
Narrowed down the choices to do a final class vote!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Introduction to Service

Today both classes started conversations on how our lives and experiences can help other people.  We explored on the iPads where the students got to discover new things about themselves through on-line quizzes.  Some found that they were "Animal Lovers," others "Kind and Caring." After reviewing and discovering different types of service projects, one class compiled their ideas to a class chart and the other entered their ideas onto the Socrative iPad app. 

Student Project Ideas included:
*Education in other countries

*Animal Abuse
*Elderly Care
*Animal Care

Class Chart (LA1)


We vote on our class project tomorrow!

Getting Started

The opportunity to work in Eanes ISD has been incredible, and now I am being funded through EEF to be enrolled in Texas State Master's program through PTEP. I'm studying Special Education with an emphasis on Learning Disabilities.  In this program, we are asked to take part in a research based project of our interest.  After much thought, research and reading, I have decided to focus my studies on Service-Learning.

I will be working with my fourth grades students to create two seperate service-learning projects this year.  I am allowing the students to come up with a topic they are interested and passionate about. I will be integrating our every day lessons into the project, which will allow for your students to gain knowledge through service projects. I can't wait to see what these fourth grades will create!

Miss Schumann 
Barton Creek Elementary