by Kate Thomsen
Service learning–making community service part of the school’s educational program–can be used at all grade levels; however, some high schools require that students earn a certain number of credits in service learning in order to graduate. One type of service learning program is curriculum related and tied directly to what the students are learning in school. For example, students may work on a beach cleanup during an oceanography unit. In another type of program, students are required to serve the community for a set number of hours, for example working at a homeless shelter, retirement community, hospital, or animal shelter. In this case, the students may reflect on their experiences through a journal or paper, but the program is not connected to a class or specific curriculum.