Seventh-grade Day of Service teaches West students about empathy and responsibility

The third-annual, all-day service event provides students with the opportunity to incorporate service learning into their class curriculum.
January 08, 2018

Hopkins West Junior High students spent the day before winter break immersed in service-learning projects as part of the third-annual Day of Service.

On Friday, Dec. 22, seventh-grade students incorporated a variety of service activities into their day, much of which was tied to what they were learning in the classroom. This is the first year International Baccalaureate (IB) Coordinator Jennifer Poncelet led the initiative, which helps people near and far. 

“Seventh-grade Day of Service is such a great empathy builder,” she said. “ As an IB world school, service is at the heart of what we do. IB learners focus on being problem solvers who responsibly contribute to an evolving global community.”

During Mary VanPilsum-Johnson’s third block science class, students examined the reaction when sodium chloride, dye, and all-purpose flour combined. For novice scientists, melding salt, food coloring, and flour make playdough. The colorful, gooey material will be sent to Harley Hopkins Family Center for toddlers and preschoolers to explore.

Down the hallway in Katelyn Porwoll’s language arts class students wrote letters of gratitude and holiday tidings to our men and women in uniform. The letters will be sent to troops through Operation We Are Here, which the students researched using their iPads. In Paul Winslow’s Spanish class, students made study materials for new students. And in Laura Lee’s math class, they created connect-the-dot activity pages for Minneapolis-based Blair’s Tree of Hope, which provides support to children who are hospitalized with life-threatening illnesses.

An activity unique to West’s Day of Service took place in Janine Burns’ music class. Her vocal students rehearsed and performed a stunning performance, which was recorded and will be given to residents at Open Circle Senior Communities. Other service-learning projects benefit Camp Mak-a-Dream and HealthEast Cancer Center. Half of the seventh-grade class participated in the first day, while the second half of the grade will conduct their service day after break on Jan. 8.

“Our goal is to enable students to unite one of their passions with their talents to make a positive change in the world,” Poncelet said. “At West, seventh-grade students participate in activities connecting learning to service in each of their classes. Students are really interested in understanding the people who benefit from their service.”

West Service Day 2017

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