Lesson Plan

Making Service Count: Responding to Community Needs

Subject: Language Arts
Duration: One class period

Students reflect on the importance of community service by reading stories about Peace Corps Volunteer experiences. Students then articulate needs within their own communities and participate in a gallery walk to generate ideas about how to address those needs through service.


  • Students will reflect on the importance of community involvement and service.
  • Students will articulate views on the needs of their own communities.
  • Students will generate ideas for service projects to address specific needs.


  • Begin by discussing students' experiences with community service.
    • Have you participated in a community service project before? If so, what was the purpose of the project? What was rewarding or challenging about it?
    • What does it mean to participate in community service?'
  • Read stories about service from Peace Corps Volunteers Jennifer Leshnower (St. Lucia) or Valerie Flynn (China), or from Peace Corps staff member Ivan Hristov (Bulgaria).
  • Discuss the importance of volunteering and community involvement to our daily lives. This can be done by researching important projects in your community that required volunteers or through brainstorming how volunteering can make a difference.
  • Ask students to think about issues they would address in their community through service. The issues could be issues related to health and safety, education, environment, social issues, or other areas. Create a list of student ideas and have the class vote on the four issues they believe are most important to address.
  • Place four large sheets of paper around the classroom with one of the chosen issues written on each one. Beneath each issue, write the question: What could we do? Introduce students to the idea of a gallery walk. For this activity, they will walk around the room and consider each of the four community issues they chose as most important to address. On the sheets of paper stating the issues, students will add their own ideas about how each one could be addressed through service. They can use markers to write directly on the paper, or write their ideas on sticky notes and attach them to the paper.
  • When students have finished writing, allow time for them to read other people's ideas before discussing the activity as a class. Given the ideas generated by the students, what do they think would be the most appropriate ways to address the issues they chose? Discuss the steps they would need to take in order to carry out their ideas and the potential impact and importance of the projects they have suggested.

Assessment & Evaluation

Students should be able to answer the following questions:

  • Why do people engage in community service?
  • What are other people doing to make a difference in their communities?
  • What could I do to make a difference?