Youth Service Day Projects

The final lesson in the Three R's unit is a culminating project for the Youth Service Day open mic that occurs once a year on or near Earth Day.  These projects are student-driven, and may be completed as a whole class, small groups, pairs, or individually.  Students will select a project to tell others about the importance of the Three R's and preserving the planet.  At Youth Service Day, students will present their projects to the whole school.

This year, Youth Service Day occurred during the middle of the unit.  While I was unable to allow time for students to create projects to present, all of the students sang a song from the book, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. We selected keywords from the song, one for every student.  Each child was responsible for finding an item in the classroom that pertained to their word.  For example, one student selected a lunch box for the word Reduce, promoting the re-use of a lunch box instead of paper bags.

The activity, unexpectedly, was a great mid-unit assessment of students' learning.  Some students were able to select an object that fit with their word, while others needed more assistance.

The featured lesson is a two-day workshop on final projects, with one-on-one conferences, and a final presentation at Youth Service Day.

* A video of this presentation is also available via my UW Madison E-Portfolio.

Time Needed: Two, 40 minute sessions                       

Essential Questions:

-        What can we do to tell others about the importance of the three R's and preserving our world?


I.     Affective

·      SWBAT comfortably participate throughout the entirety of the lesson.

·      SWBAT work independently, or cooperatively during preparation.

·      SWBAT present their work at Youth Service Day.

II.   Cognitive

·      SWBAT select an appropriate assessment of their learning, based on their learning style.

·      SWBAT convey their learning through a project of their choice.

·      SWBAT demonstrate the importance of the Three R's and preserving our Earth in a culminating final project. 

Materials Needed:

  • Reduce, Reuse, Recycle song
  • How To book supplies
  • Poster board and markers
  • Craft materials
  • Chart paper
Lesson Context:

Once a year, students participated in Youth Service Day, which occurs around Earth Day.  During the day, students plant trees, clean up local neighborhoods, and plant in the school garden.  At the end of the day, the whole school gathers in the school garden for a series of performances from each classroom.  This year, students will be selecting how they'd like to present at Youth Service Day.

Lesson Opening:

I'll begin with a reminder that Youth Service Day will be occurring the following week, and that students need to select how they'd like to tell the school about what we've been learning.  Students will have the following options (although not limited to):

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle (to the tune of 'The More We Get Together'):
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Recycle, Recycle
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
It's easy to do!
'Cause your world, is my world.
And my world is your world.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
It's easy to do!
  • Write a How To book about the Three R's
  • Create a poster/draw a picture in connection to: Common Ground, The Great Kapok, BP Oil Spill, The Three R's
  • Write your own song or poem about anything we've learned
  • Create a dance about anything we've learned
  • In a small group, create a skit about preserving the Earth
  • Any other ideas you have!

1)    As a class, we'll briefly review all of the work we've done related to the Three R's, including our list of items on the Venn diagram, Common Ground, The Great Kapok Tree, our oil spill poems, and recycled art animals.

2)    Students will have time to discuss with peers, freely, about what they're thinking of doing for the final project.  I will facilitate this discussion, if needed.

3)    I'll compile a list, on chart paper, of the projects that are of interest, and which students will be partaking.

4)    Next, I'll introduce to students the materials that are available to them, and allow a free work period.  Resource teachers will be available to aid students in the development and construction of their project.  I will conduct one-on-one conferences with students, and circulate the room, observing students' work progress.


This workshop, two-day lesson, is a final summative assessment on students' learning.  I'm interested in students' ability to convey their learning in a representation that fits their learning style.

Over the course of these two preparation days, I'll have conferences with each student.  During these conferences, I'll be asking students to describe to me what they're planning on presenting on Youth Service Day and how it connects to what we've learned.

Special Considerations:

Selecting possible projects for the students will primarily develop throughout the unit.  It's possible that students will work together as a whole class, or several small groups, or on individual projects.  The given options are those I feel are developmentally appropriate for students, and could be successfully created over a two-day work period.

This last lesson and assessment is student-driven, meaning that I will need to act more as a facilitator than an instructor.  I'll be observing students in their work, helping them to improve their projects throughout the two days.

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