Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. committed his life to service and to promoting peace, equality and justice for everyone. In 1994, Congress designated the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday as a national day of service to honor his legacy through volunteerism. Service learning is a teaching method that combines instruction with meaningful community service. It helps to empower students, strengthen communities and create solutions to social problems. This Monday, January 20, celebrate MLK Day by engaging students with service projects in the local community.
10 Service Project Ideas for Students:
- Put on gloves and visit the neighborhood park to pick up litter.
- Gather your favorite classic board games and organize a board game night at your local nursing home.
- Volunteer at the local animal shelter to feed, bathe and pet the animals.
- Conduct a coat drive at your school or afterschool center and donate items to local charity organizations.
- Collect gently used toys, video games and board games, and donate them to patients at a Children’s Hospital.
- Locate a Special Olympics event in your area and volunteer to help or cheer on the athletes.
- Collect aluminum cans from friends, family and neighbors, and donate the money to a local environmental charity.
- Visit a local food bank and volunteer to pack and hand out food.
- Run in a marathon to raise money for a cause.
- Create anti-bullying posters to hang around the school and local community.
For more service project ideas, check out these resources:
366 Community Service Ideas
Global Youth Service Day
Columbus Day is Monday, October 14! Christopher Columbus and his discovery of America are monumental in our country’s history. If you plan to honor the holiday, here are five ways to celebrate Columbus Day in your class or extended learning program. Go beyond the familiar line, “In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue,” and teach students about Christopher Columbus’ journey to the New World in fun, exciting and yummy ways!
- Watch the Columbus Day movie on BrainPOP Jr. to introduce students to Christopher Columbus and to tell the story of his voyage to the New World.
- Have story time! My First Biography: Christoper Columbus helps younger students understand the story of Columbus and offers a positive message of perseverance. Also, check out Follow the Dream: The Story of Christopher Columbus which contains engaging, artful pictures and true-to-history text that tells the story of Columbus’ journey.
- Make these veggie boats from the Oh Happy Day blog to represent the Nina, the Pinta and the Santa Maria. Gather a variety of vegetables, spreads and toothpicks to assemble the boats and make tasty snacks!
- Get students’ creative juices flowing with the Columbus Day Writing Craftivity from Teachers Pay Teachers. This free download will turn students into explorers as they write about what would have happened if they discovered America.
- Telescopes are great tools for exploration! Make the telescopes from recycled household items like cardboard tubes and paper cups.
Find more ways to celebrate Columbus Day on our Pinterest page!
How are you celebrating Columbus Day in your classroom or extended learning program?
National Hispanic Heritage Month is a month-long celebration that begins September 15 and ends October 15. It’s a great time to educate students on Hispanic and Latin American heritage, and to celebrate their contributions to the American culture! From their cultural music to the conquest of Mexico, there are endless activities for students to explore Hispanic and Latin American culture.
Here are 5 ways to kick start the celebration:
- Play A Different Drum to learn about the percussion instruments that Spanish-speaking immigrants of the Caribbean brought to the United States. Listen to the sound of each instrument and then match each instrument with the correct label. It’s also a great vocabulary lesson!
- Take it a step further and make your own maracas! Gather empty toilet paper rolls, uncooked rice, masking tape, crayons and stickers. Cover one end of the toilet paper roll with masking tape. Then, pour the uncooked rice into the toilet paper roll and tape the other end. Finally, decorate the maracas with crayons and stickers. Listen to the Spanish Greeting Song and “shake-shake-shake” your maracas!
- Discover the Conquest of Mexico with paintings from the seventeenth century! The eight paintings illustrate the battles between the Spanish and the Aztecs and other historical moments of the 1521 Spanish conquest of the native Aztec people. The beautiful artistry provides insight on the events leading up to the Conquest of Tenochtitlán (modern-day Mexico City). Challenge students to recreate their favorite paintings!
- Discover Repujado and make Mexican cuff bracelets! Repujado is the Mexican Metal Tooling Art technique which uses a rounded tool on the back side of soft metal to create a beautiful piece of raised art.
- Columbus Day, or the Día de la Raza, is on October 12, so celebrate by exploring Christopher Columbus’ voyage from Spain to America! Students can draw a map of Columbus’ voyage and create replicas of his three ships: the Niña, the Pinta and the Santa Maria. Click here to see how it’s done!
How are you celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month?
Image sources: Library of Congress, Google image search