The following fictional stories are examples of what service learning might look like in practice.
An elementary school begins the year by having each grade identify a service they will do all year to make the school more welcoming, caring, respectful and safe for all students. For example, during one school year, each grade made the following commitments:
Kindergarten students chose to look after the school’s lost and found box, including hanging found mittens on a clothesline, so students could easily find them
Grade 1 students combined their service with learning about the calendar. They charted the birthdays of all students in the school and made daily visits to other classrooms to sing “Happy Birthday” and deliver a birthday pencil
Grade 2 students offered to open the heavy school doors for others at recess and lunch and offering friendly greetings to students entering the school
Grade 3 students decided to partner with the local seniors' centre, where they co-created a history book highlighting the students' technology skills and the seniors' wisdom and experience
Grade 4 students adopted the library area and took turns re-shelving books, making displays and joining the Grade 1 class for shared reading time
Grade 5/6 students organized a playground leader group that taught younger children new cooperative games, looked after the bins of play equipment at recess and served as positive role models
Each year, a rural middle school completes three school-wide service learning projects. A planning committee of student representatives and teacher advisors create ideas and begin the initial planning, involving as many students as possible.
They begin with a school-based project in the fall, a local community project for the winter and an international focus at the end of the year that raises awareness and funds for students in developing countries. Reflections and celebrations for all three service learning projects were included in the school yearbook and are highlighted at school-wide assemblies throughout the year and in the community newspaper.
A large urban high school has partnerships with local community groups, including a seniors facility located across the street, the elementary school three blocks away and the local Newcomer Centre. Each year, the school does at least 10 service learning projects with their partners, often building on work from the previous year. Several of the projects are organized as extra-curricular activities and at least three are an extension of specific Career and Technologies Studies (CTS) courses.