Assignments and Reading

Weekly Assignments and Readings Fall 2017

Assignments are due the day they are listed


Essay Assignments are 1-2 page reflections.    They are meant to be a reflective tool for you so that your experience at service and learning, topics in fourth hour and ACS can be connected throughout the semester. Please use concrete examples from ACS, life, service or fourth hour.   The criteria for grading is in the syllabus.


Who am I? Who do I want to become? What is my obligation to my neighbor?  Who is my neighbor?    How will I contribute to the common good? Through Caritas community you will gain wisdom about yourself, your community and the community in which you serve


  1.  The syllabus become familiar with goals, homework assignments, how you access readings and the service schedule.  Please come prepared with questions
  2. Introduction to Service Learning:   Jacoby, Barbara.  Service Learning Essentials San Francisco: Josey Bass, 2015. Chapter 1



Written Assignment: 

·         Part I    In the tradition of St. Augustine you will begin by getting to know yourself and others.  Write a letter to yourself.

  • Part II
      • What is the difference between service and service learning?
      • Describe yourself how you feel right now, describe what you see, feel, hear and think about.
      • Tell yourself what you need to do to succeed and to be happy.
      •  Be your own friend and warn yourself about patterns that could be destructive to yourself or others.  
      • How does knowing yourself help others?
      • Name five characteristics that are essential in a good friend. 



Quote:  How can you draw close to God when you are far from your own self?” He prayed:” Grant, Lord, that I may know myself that I may know You” ~St. Augustine

The first step in getting to know others and the world is getting to know ourselves.

Reading:  “Cycle of Socialization” Bobbi Harro. Readings for Diversity and Social Justice:  New York: Routledge; 2 edition (January 22, 2010)  see week 2 for PDF.

Project:  Due 9/18 Small groups will create a video about community?    Step 1: Develop questions Step 2: interview at least three people or 2 group discussions.  Step 3:  Create a group statement about community that is reflective of you and what you learned from others.  The goal of this assignment is for you to enable others to talk about community, for you to understand the perspective of others and to gain and share wisdom that can be lived in Caritas...

Written Assignment:  Turn in the essay you wrote for your ACS class about a significant event you recorded on your life line.


Icebreaker for next week.

  • What is the best advice you got from someone about college?
  • What is your biggest fear?
  • Who will you miss the most?
  • What is your most important goal this semester?
  • Make a list of 10 values that are important to you.  (integrity, honesty
  • Come up with three statements you would like students to respond to in the context below. Please come prepared with 5 questions about this course, community and Cristo Rey about your fellow students, Villanova or the syllabus.  We will put these questions in a box and pick one out at a time.



To talk and laugh and do kindnesses to each other; to read pleasant books together; to make jokes together and

then talk seriously together; to be sometimes teaching and sometimes learning.... These and other similar

expressions of feeling, which proceed from the hearts of those who love and are loved in return, and are

revealed in the face, the voice, the eyes,  and in a thousand charming ways, were like a kindling fire to melt our

souls together and out of many to make us one.St. Augustine (Confessions IV, 77-78).

Goal:  Getting to know one another, building trust.  We are building community, we are building the foundation for dialogue. We are getting to know ourselves so that we can take seriously the perspective of others.  We are laying the foundation of fourth hour so that each of us can grow through the integration of knowledge and experience continuously throughout the semester.  Be brave—Lean into discomfort when necessary.


Read:  Complete by week of 9/25   Freire, Paulo.  Pedagogy of the Oppressed.  Chapter- pages 87-92

Assignment:  Complete video on community and be ready to show in fourth hour


Read:  Dialogue and Debate “The Way you Say IT” By Dr. Keith Suter, Author, Lecturer, Consultant for Social Policy

Finish reading:  Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Chapter 3.  Freire, Paulo.  Pedagogy of the Oppressed.  Chapter- pages 87-92


Written Assignment:  Reflection on 2 weeks of service:  Describe your experience. What you see, think, hear. What are the larger structural issues that might affect the families of the children you serve?  Develop 5 questions that would fit into the exercise described below that relate to those structural issues.  (Immigration, citizenship, educational inequities….


We are going to practice dialogue and debate in fourth hour.  A statement will be read, each person in class must decide whether they agree, strongly agree, disagree or strongly disagree with the statement.   You will find yourself in a small group of students who together will come up with a reason for your decision and come up with a response that might convince others your stance is best.  We will use questions you develop in the exercise.


Sample statements:                                                                                                                                

  • Strongly held beliefs and opinions are always grounded in facts.
    If people who live in poverty work hard enough they can become middle class.
  • We live in a post racist society, Hate speech should be legal.  Marriage should be between a man and a woman.  The confederate flag is a symbol of racism.  Education is equal for all citizens


Quote: “What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like.”  St. Augustine of Hippo



The Myth of the Culture of Poverty. Paul Gorski.  April 2008 | Volume 65 | Number 7 _Poverty and

Learning Pages 32-36 


Written Assignment:  Did the assumptions in this article resonate with your experience?  Does your experience at ACLAMO reinforce those assumptions or challenge them?   What assumptions do you think that the students at ACLAMO have about you? 


Human beings," "only truly flourish in the context of a community." Human beings can only reach their full individual potential if they work to promote and protect the good of society as a whole. Our obligation to love our neighbor is not only an individual commitment; it requires a broader social responsibility. Kenneth R. Himes O.F.M. Responses to 101 Questions on Catholic Social Teaching


Poverty:  We see the people we serve in institutions.  We don’t see their homes, their lives or their food cupboards.  We may hear stories from them about the lack of resources.  They may be too embarrassed to tell you.  We will lean on the data to tell us about their lives but not assume how an individual lives.

Read:  America’s ‘invincible’ city brought to its knees by poverty, violence Shoshana Guy, 

The Forces Shaping Concentrated Poverty.”  Wilson, William Julius. More Than Just Race.  New York: W.W. Norton, 2009.  Chapter 2, Pgs. 25-60   (PDF on OSL website)


Written Assignment:  What is poverty?  Do you think the 20/20 special gave you any insights?

o   Which Character did you relate to the most?  Why? 

o   Which character did you like the least?  Why do you think you dislike that person?

o   What is our responsibility for this kind of poverty?


Quote:  Just as stocking shelves is easier than having conversations, focusing on service learning as a way to help others or develop empathy is easier--and, we believe, less effective--than using service learning to raise critical questions about why inequalities exist and who benefits from them. Kathryn Peltier


Compare the information about Norristown Neighborhood and school to the neighborhood/school of one the members of your group you sent to or compare it to Radnor School District.  (19010) or Lower Merion School District (19085) (these are districts closes to Villanova)


Presenting the data is not enough.   You must think about the relevance of your finding out and figure out how it affects the community in which you serve and what you think needs to change. The schools that ACLAMO students attend are Gotwalls, Marshall Street, Whitehall, and Stewart and Eisenhower Middle) the zip code is 19401


Group work.  Make a list of data/information you think might be good to know about the Norristown community and schools in order to understand what you see or hear or experience about at ACLAMO.

·         What is the mission of your service site?  Who do they serve?  (Demographics)  (you may get the From ACLAMO)

·         Example of data:   income, schools (ratings, proficiency level, ethnicities, free lunch entitlement, average SAT score, and incidence of violence, health risks,  level of education, cost of housing, average income………

Resources for data on Schools

Neighborhood data collected from all over the country, interactive map.


Quote:   A nation of well-informed men who have been taught to know and prize the rights which God has

given them cannot be enslaved. It is in the region of ignorance that tyranny begins. Benjamin Franklin

"Let us ask the Lord to give us the gentleness to look upon the poor with understanding and love, devoid of human calculation and fear."  Pope Francis 2014

Community Partnership Dinner- Monday 11/6 6PM Villanova Room-- Dress:  Business Casual, ties are not required.   You should have a representative from ACLAMO at your dinner table.  If you serve on Monday please arrange to leave earlier so that you are in time for the dinner

Read:  What your First Grade Says about the rest of your life.


Written Assignment:  What was your experience at the partnership dinner?   Think about how to connect the content of the partner panel, 4th hour and course content and your service experience.  Create a few discussion points you would like to talk about in fourth hour.  Fourth hour discussion will be dependent on what you bring to the table.


When students instead see service learning as an opportunity to change their own lives, they begin to reframe how they see themselves and their identities, particularly their privileged ones. They come to reconstruct their identities, challenge their assumptions, and reframe what the distribution of power means both for them and for those they meet through service” Critical Service Learning as a Tool for Identity Exploration.  David Donohue and Tania D. Mitchell

Add from September 2017  to December 2017 to your Lifeline: Mark the times when an experience this semester (classroom, service, interaction, conversation, etc.) that have challenged you, moved you, made you think about what you are doing, or rethink your underlying assumptions about race, class, ethnicity, state of citizenship,  gender or ability that were reinforced through your own particular socialization.  (Recall reading on Cycle of Socialization)


Written Assignment Write a story about one experience at service you have recorded on your time line and how it has affected your view of the world.   


Quote: “We shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time. T. S. Eliot

Looking back and looking forward

Written Assignment: Respond to these questions about your first semester in SLC.

1.      Describe what you have learned this semester

2.      What are the best things you discovered about the community in which you served?

3.      What do you want to learn about next semester? Topics?

4.      What questions have you developed as a result of your service and learning?

5.      What is one thing you would change about fourth hour?

6.      Suggestions for community building next semester?



QUOTE:  “But taking a serious look back … I do have one big regret. I left Harvard with no real awareness of the awful inequities in the world – the appalling disparities of health, and wealth, and opportunity that condemn millions of people to lives of despair.”



In the News


Integrate service with your academic coursework! Take a Service Learning course next semester.

Why Service Learning? See why with a PowerPoint Presentation explaining the merits of Service Learning.