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Daily News Lessons (show all)

Community service: Teaching kindness for kindness' sake

January 8, 2018

Note: As the holiday season draws to a close, ask students to reflect on the meaning of empathy and kindness. In this daily news story, Extra looks at the impact and meaning of community service and why the winter break may be a more challenging time for students than many people may realize. We recommend reading the article first and then watching the video.
  1. Read the Teachers’s Lounge piece, ‘Opinion: Don’t assume that every student had a fun or warm holiday break’ out loud as a class or individually. Be sure to read the bold-headed section on ways to reach out to others over the holidays.
    • Let your students know that the author of the article is Kirsten Perry who was named the 2018 School Counselor of the Year by the American School Counselor Association. She is a pre-K-8 counselor at Lawndale Community Academy in Chicago, Illinois. Then answer these discussion questions:
      • Why was the boy’s mother determined to have her son attend school despite the hardships facing the family? Do you agree? Explain. How might having empathy towards the family help you understand their situation better?
      • What are some resources that schools provide to students throughout the year?
      • Why do you think a school counselor wrote this article instead of a principal or teacher? If you are not sure of the role your school counselor plays, how could you find out?
  2. Next, watch the short video posted above featured in the article, ‘Nine stories made by and about young people making a difference.’ The video is part of a collection of student-produced videos by PBS NewsHour’s Student Reporting Labs.
    • Do you know someone who is especially good at giving back to their community? What qualities does this person possess?
  3. You may wish to have your class watch the rest of the videos. Assign a new video to small groups. Have them report back the following to class:
    • What is one new idea that you learned watching your video? What decisions did individuals need to make behind-the-scenes in order for these volunteer opportunities to take place?
    • NewsHour guest blogger and educator Rusul Alrubail was recently quoted via Twitter saying,“It takes absolutely nothing of us to be kind to others. And what we do gain also shouldn’t be the end goal. just to be kind, that should be the reward.”
      • Do you think that volunteering, or kindness towards others, should be its own reward? Explain your answer. When was the last time you were kind to another person for no reason other than to be kind?
      • What do you think is the purpose of community service? Why have many schools started to require service learning in order to graduate? Do you agree with this approach? Explain your response.