Powerpoint-Green House Project

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The Greenhouse Project:

The Greenhouse Project Kellie Major   kmowery-major@Knights.ucf.edu Apr.6 th , 2016 EEX4070

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The three main goals of this project were: to gift the students at Rising Stars Academy with a greenhouse and the meaningful learning experience of caring for plants to encourage the celebration of differences by bringing people of different and unique talents and abilities together for the single purpose of helping others to show that a common thread among all individuals is that we are all able to do good in a significant way.

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One agency we worked with is Rising Stars Academy. Rising Stars is a small private school started by a woman who had a passion to provide encouraging and positive educational opportunities in an environment where all children are welcome and children with and without special needs work together. The school serves children from a Kindergarten to 12 th grade level. Approximately 97% of students at Rising Stars have special needs, which includes Autism Spectrum disorders, Down Syndrome, and various learning disabilities. We also worked with children at the Genesis House homeless Shelter for Women with Children, Green Earth co. ( a local greenhouse), and several families and individuals in the community.

Engagement Activities:

Engagement Activities By providing Rising Stars Academy with a green house and children the opportunity to raise and care for plants we gave elementary school students the opportunity to engage in fun creative learning experiences that encourage skills in Science, Math, and socialization and problem solving. This project gave people with different skills and from different walks of life the opportunity to work together and accomplish something good for others. It encouraged children to work towards helping others and gave them the opportunity to achieve something they can be proud of. The children that participated were encouraged to come up with creative ways they could contribute to the project. Some children grew plants as a gift to the students at Rising Stars. A small group of children volunteered to work to raise money to purchase the greenhouse. Some formed an art club and wrote and illustrated books about kindness, and some helped with planning and the actual construction. We also extended the project to a homebound family by bringing children to a home and creating a fruit and vegetable garden for that family. So far The Green House Project has taken place over the span of a few weeks but it is a continuing project and children and adults will continue to benefit from using it as a way to help others.

Participant Demographics:

Participant Demographics According to Section 300.8 of the Individuals with Disabilities Act, a majority of the children who took part in The Green House Project are considered to be children with disabilities. We had the opportunity to work with several individuals and organizations in the community and serve a school that welcomes students of all abilities; therefore, we had the opportunity to work with children and adults who have Autism Spectrum disorders, Sensory processing disorders, dyslexia, deafness, selective mutism, down syndrome, agoraphobia, social anxiety disorder, and various learning disabilities and developmental delays. In total our project included approximately 60 people. Those involved in the project represent diverse backgrounds, ages, abilities, talents.

Service in Action :

Service in Action Several children volunteered to help work for a landscaping/green house business in order to help earn money to purchase the green house and supplies. Other children were able to help by planting seeds, writing books, and creating art.

Service in Action Assembling the Greenhouse:

Service in Action Assembling the Greenhouse

Perceptions of Differences:

Perceptions of Differences The valuable experiences I gained through the Green House project has allowed me to touch the lives of many others and to learn the immeasurable life lessons that others have taught me. The project was designed in a way that allowed us to personally get to know those involved. The experiences that had the most impact on me include working alongside a group of children from a homeless shelter for women and children. These children posses a deep sense of compassion and showed a great deal of enthusiasm at the chance to help others in need. They took care of each other and helped each other through challenges incurred from different disabilities. These children contributed by growing plants from seeds and taking care of the plants until they were ready to gift them to the Rising Stars green house. The children also helped by writing books about kindness for other children to read and continue to care for the greenhouse on weekends when the school is closed.

Perceptions of Differences:

Perceptions of Differences Initially I was nervous about my abilities and apprehensive about communicating with so many people I hadn’t previously met and didn’t know. I was protective over children and adults with special needs and was concerned about the possibility that others might react negatively towards them during this project. I learned that while concern for the welfare of others is important in providing a positive environment, it is not necessary or fair to assume those without disabilities will pass harsh judgment or treat those with special needs unfairly.

Connections to My Course:

Connections to My Course Aspects of EEX 4070 were about the importance of adapting learning opportunities to accommodate different abilities. Through this project I am able to better understand ways that I can include all children in lessons and learning opportunities. During the project students were able to use a variety of talents and interests. The children were encouraged to think of ways they would like to help and reflected on the different ways their talents could be used to contribute towards the project. The service activities encouraged students to work together to solve problems and allowed students the chance to help each other. The children formed friendships with children from different backgrounds, and with different disabilities, and challenges. The ability to do something for other people gave the students something to feel good about and helped gain a sense of accomplishment. Another topic from my course that I have a better understanding of is how technology can be used to benefit students. Several aspects of technology, such as digital photography and computer programs were used in the planning process as well as the concluding presentation. I believe these experiences will allow me to be better equipped and prepared to create positive learning experiences for all students in my future classes.

Civic Engagement:

Civic Engagement Service learning involves more than just trying to meet immediate needs. It involves forming positive relationships with members of the community and making lasting changes. People all have unique experiences that teach and benefit others. Civic engagement activities encourage members of a community to work through differences and come together to help make a positive change. This experience has encouraged me to create projects that not only resolve immediate issues or cover immediate needs but it has also encouraged me to reflect on the benefit of more permanent solutions. I would encourage teachers to incorporate service learning projects into the learning environment. The learning opportunities children gain by the ability to help others and the sense of accomplishment they receive from making a positive change has immeasurable benefits. It encourages independence, leadership skills, and compassion and empathy for others.

Final Thoughts & Reflections:

Final Thoughts & Reflections Teachers play a significant role in teaching children about acceptance and the importance of helping others. Learning environments are places where children can learn to resolve conflicts, work together in ways that benefit others, to form positive leadership skills. Teachers have a responsibility to create environments in which all children are welcomed and are encouraged to accept and value others in society and to celebrate unique differences. Projects which encourage such valuable lessons are a significant part of positive learning environments for children and adults.

Final Thoughts and Reflections:

Final Thoughts and Reflections To help others be more involved in future service learning projects I will be more focused on using other community resources and will have a better knowledge of ways in which technology can be used to make projects more successful. Why is it important to help others in need? “It plants seeds of goodness that grow into plants that plant seeds of goodness.” Reflection Questions for Participants of the Green House Project What did you learn by helping in The Green House Project? “I planted my own tomato plant and I took very good care of it and did a good job and I made other people happy by being kind.” Did this project help you? “I can do very very good things even though I can not talk and move as well as some other people. I am still important and can do good things.” What is something you did to help the Green House Project? I did a lot of good things. I made other people happy by saying good things about them. I made friends. We rise by lifting others!

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