National Youth Leadership Council

Service-Learning by Design

Posted on October 23, 2017

Backward design is an approach to service-learning which yields more powerful student learning. It’s what we use in schools — because we know it works. Now we want you to know what we know.

From the National Youth Leadership Council and Augsburg University, a 14-week online course for educators ready to enhance their practice:

Register for Service-Learning By Design for $149 by Tuesday, October 31. Course runs from November 8, 2017 – February 23, 2018. You will earn 3 CEUs from Augsburg University.

The purpose of this 14-week course is to offer a unique approach to planning service-learning units which may yield more powerful student learning: backward planning.

In this course, we will explore the three steps in backward planning of service-learning in detail including: 1) Identifying Desired Results; 2) Creating Assessments (both formative and summative) to measure student progress and achievement of desired results; and 3) Designing Learning Experiences that support the attainment of learning goals.

In the section on Identifying Desired Results, for example, students will develop academic and civic goals for service-learning based on national and state curriculum frameworks, such as the Common Core State Standards and the College, Career and Civic Life (C3) Framework, and unpack those broad goals into enabling knowledge and skills. In the section of the course on Creating Assessments, students will construct formative and summative assessment targets and tasks for service-learning and create tools for interpreting student performance. In the final section of the course, Designing Learning Experiences, students will work to design experiences for each stage of the inquiry and problem solving cycle that organizes a service-learning unit and to increase the academic power of service-learning by infusing reading, writing and discussion throughout the cycle. Additionally, in this last course section, we will study examples of how backward planning can be applied in two areas: mathematics and social-emotional learning.

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