Students will choose one topic or issue related to mental health, study that issue, design an action plan, and take action. This experience is a mix of project-based learning, service-learning, and problem-based learning.
Each student or small group will identify one issue that they identify through research, questioning, and observation. In this case, the issue they will explore and act on is related to mental illness. Students will choose a specific issue under the theme of mental illness such as the stigma associated with it, resources for teens with mental illness, treatments, legislation, and more. Students will brainstorm solutions to their identified issues or problem, develop a plan of action, and act! Their goal is to make a positive, long-term impact on the community.
There are a variety of ways to make positive change including giving time/volunteering, raising money for a cause, advocating for legislation, and educating or raising awareness. This product includes all of the guiding materials necessary to accomplish such an important learning experience.
Community action projects could easily be aligned to standards and incorporated into a specific subject, or they could be the entire course. Projects should be expected to take anywhere from 2-6 weeks. The range is wide because it depends on how much classroom time you dedicate to the projects, which brainstorming activities you implement, skill level, age level, etc.
This project was written and designed for secondary students. The vocabulary is advanced, the rubric requires higher-order thinking and a degree of independence, such as being able to get themselves to an event or to speak with a community expert. The topic is also highly relevant to teenagers.
Community action projects result in meaningful learning experiences and opportunities for self-reflection and growth. They teach important social-emotional skills such as empathy and self-reliance. They help students build important life and career skills such as collaboration and problem-solving. Most importantly, community action projects give students the tools to make a positive impact on the community long after they have completed the project, finished the class, or graduated from school.
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