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.


Topic: What is a CAP Project:  Creating a framework for talking and or thinking about Race, Racism? 



“One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that "an unjust law is no law at all." Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  Letter from Birmingham Jail


NO Fourth Hour.  Choose   Dr. Martin Luther Jr.  King Memorial Lecture   or attend Freedom School Session


Reading   Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack.  Peggy McIntosh


Written Assignment:  Define white privilege.  List three of the privileges in the essay that had an impact on you and briefly describe why?   Create three questions you would either like to talk about in fourth hour or use in Agree/Disagree which will occur the week of 2/6.   Email this assignment to your instructor and facilitators by 1/26


 “I must make two honest confessions to you, my Christian and Jewish brothers. First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen's Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to "order" than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice.”  Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  Letter from Birmingham Jail


“Racial Profiling on the Main Line.”   Steve Volk, Philadelphia Magazine. November 30, 2015. 


 “Construction of Self Essay:  Caroline Foley   VU’17 SLC ‘15 Written for SLC 4th hour.  (PDF) Caroline is former editor of the Villanovan


 Written Assignment: Respond to these two essays?  Create three questions that you would like to discuss in 4th hour related to the experience of characters in the essays and the world we live in.


In public school, I would doodle pandas and Chinese characters, and that’s where I learned that being Chinese “wasn’t cool.” Microaggressions quickly taught me I was being ostracized from my peers. As many Asian Americans have done, I began to ignore and deny my roots. I was proud of my “white” name. I snickered when a group of Asian students passed me. I would proudly show off my poor math grades to my friends, just to prove I wasn’t like “other Asians.” I quit the violin. I refused to watch Anime. I insisted I knew zero Chinese language. I laughed with my peers if a television show featured a racist and stereotypical Asian character. I was nearly offended when I received a personal invitation to the Asian culture club at my middle school.”  Caroline Foley ‘17

Readings:  Jamie Utt.  Intent vs. Impact:  Why Your Intentions Don’t Really Matter. 
Everyday Feminism, July 30, 2013.  (PDF)


How to be an Ally if You Are a Person with Privilege, Frances E, Kendall   2010 2


Written Assignment:  Seriously think about what you feel/think and have known or experienced that would stereotype a group of people based on race/ethnicity or income.  Write 5 ways we as (a) individuals, (b) a community and (c) a society can create a more inclusive community?  All together 15 ideas. Don’t let yourself be limited to what you think you or others would be willing to do, don’t let yourself be limited by what you think is possible.  Use reading for ACS, McIntosh, and Kendall for ideas.  


You will be breaking up into small groups for student choice weeks, 3/20 or 4/9—see descriptions:  

Remember to start working on your CAP Project, proposals due March 1


For people of “identity privilege” this is where listening becomes vitally important, for our privilege can often shield us from understanding the impact of our actions.  After all, as a person of privilege, I can never fully understand the ways in which oppressive acts or language impact hose around me. What I surely can do is listen with every intent to understand, and I can work to change my behavior.”   Jamie Utt, Intent vs. Impact:  Why your intentions don’t Really Matter”

Reading:  Education and Socio-Economic Status:  How does income affect child’s experience in school?  

American Psychological Association


  “A Primary-School Classroom for the New Public School majority”   Sponsored by “The Atlantic Magazine.”  What makes a school better for low income students?

Written Assignment:  At some point this week ask the children about their experience at school.  Please do this in a way that does not make them feel bad about what they lack.  If you can find out about supplies, books, computers, what their teachers are like, whether they have homework whether they feel safe whether they encourage one another to learn, who  helps them with homework?…..  Ask them what they like, what makes them excited to learn, what is fun and what they would say to children who don’t want to learn.    Use what you learned through reading and your fall projects to ask intelligent questions.  Develop questions that resemble conversation or Inquiry rather than judgment for what they have or don’t have.  If they ask you a question about your school, it is OK to talk about your experience but careful not to make them feel undeserving of what you had.   

Write a summary of your conversation.  How does the information in the readings relate to the experience of the Children of ACLAMO?

The American Dream.  What is it?  Are you born into it?  Or is the dream something anyone can achieve?  How much does the pursuit and achievement 


Reading:   The American Dream is Leaving America Nicholas Kristof, 10/25/14 New York Times.


Watch this video     New York Times “Retro Report.”  




Written Assignment: Respond to the following questions:  What is the American Dream?  What might keep people from achieving that dream?


Continue working in small groups for “student choice” topics on 3/19 and 4/9.  Small group will decide on topic and facilitate discussion in 4th hour. Groups may assign reading and written work for fourth hour one week in advance.  See options in document


“What happens to a dream deferred?   Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun or fester like a sore—and then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat? Or crust and sugar over—Like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags like a heavy load. Or does it explode?” A Dream Deferred Langston Hughes

No reading assignment:  Reflect on your time at ACLAMO—What matters?  How does it matter to you?


Written Assignment:   Write about an experience of service or give an overview of service.  What do you think about when you are there, what do you see, feel, and hear?  What questions do you have?  Please make connections to ACS or fourth hour. 


Describe a moment or time when what you were experiencing or learning came into conflict with a previously held assumption about people or the world.


You will break up into small groups to work on a topic of your choice and hour group will facilitate fourth hour on 3/20 and 3/27—the same group will work on Group Project TBA

Student Choice and Student led discussion connecting ACS with Service and Fourth hour and/or the micro issues you see because of your service and the macro issues of social policy or social behavior that effect the community and you.  Students may also propose an issue that is outside these parameters for approval.  (Past issues included incarceration, transgender, and homelessness, how men and women treat one another on campus and at events)


Small group of students will present a topic and facilitate discussion in fourth hour.   Students may show a video, assign reading and written assignments prior to their discussion.  (One week in advance)  Example: Should standards for college admission consider the issues students who are born into low income communities?  Students would present the issue and allow the group to consider the issue from both sides—the students leading the discussion should have knowledge that gives them an understanding of the issue.  Students become teachers as they allow others to explore the issue without bias of previously held opinions.  

Reading:  Reflection Questions (at end of syllabus)


Written Assignment: Choose 2-3 questions from the list of “Reflection Questions” (at end of syllabus) and respond.  Please end with this question:  What have you learned about yourself, others and the world through service at ACLAMO.

Small group of students will present topic and facilitate discussion in fourth hour.   Students may show a video, assign reading and written assignments to fourth hour.  (One week in advance) see 3/19 for description

Ending service:  Your last day of service is April 26th.    Do you wonder how ACLAMO will manage until

Mid-June?  Do you need to speak with the children you have been with all semester or all year about why you are not returning?


Written Assignment:  Saying Goodbye to those with whom you serve

In your final essay- Write about one of the students you tutored write about whether the relationship has changed you, your view of the world.  What have the children or ACLAMO taught you.  What have you unlearned through the relationships.

“Letter to a child or children” On a separate sheet of paper write a letter to your tutee.  It could include what you hope for that child and what you think they have to do to reach their dreams or for hope to remain alive.  Be sure to say goodbye and explain why you are leaving.  Acknowledge the role they have played in your life and if you can what you hope for them and what you think they need to do to live their dream.   You may give that note to that person on your last day of service.






Written Assignment:  respond to the following questions:

What was the most significant thing you learned this year as a result of your participation in Caritas?


What was the most significant thing you “unlearned” as a result of your participation in Caritas?

Service:   Write a summary or your service experience considering these questions.

·         Did the experience challenge you? 

·         What did you learn from service?

·         What suggestions would you make to ACLAMO?

Service Learning:

·         Did service connect with your ACS course?  Is so what was the best reading or class discussion that facilitated the connection. 

·         How is service changed by the integration of learning and reflection?

·         What fourth hour was most significant for you?

·         What would you like to talk about in fourth hour that was not included?



·         Suggest ways in which we can build Community in Caritas

·         What would you change about the Caritas experience?


Resources: History of Mexican Americans-- Library of Congress.

  • Why do you serve? For self-interest or altruism?
  • Describe the people you meet at your service site.
  • Do you find yourself surprised by the children or people? In what way were you surprised?  What was your original assumption about them?
  • Name three things that stuck in your mind about your service experience. Describe the atmosphere of the service site. Describe some of you interactions.  Why do you think (activity described in previous questions) happened?
  • How were you different when you left the service than when you entered?
  • How did the responses of the people you serve make you feel?
  • How did the being at the service site (location) make you feel? (Compared to other identifiable places)
  • What brings people to the service site (both people seeking service and the volunteers)?
  • How are you similar/different to the others (others in your service group? Those you serve?)
  • In what ways did being different help/hinder?
  • What have you learned about yourself?
  • If you were on of the people receiving services, what would you think of yourself? How does this experience compare to others you've had?
  • What connections do you see between this experience and what you've learned in you college courses?
  • How has your service experience contributed to your growth in any of these areas: civic responsibility, political consciousness, professional development, spiritual fulfillment, social understanding, and intellectual pursuit?
  • What have you learned about a particular community or societal issue? How did this experience challenge your assumptions and stereotypes?
  • What are the current political/social issues that affect the people you serve?
  • Describe what a typical day might be like for someone who uses the services of the organization you worked with.
  • What was the best/worst/most challenging thing that happened? Did you feel like a part of the community you were working in? How do you define community?
  • Describe an internal or external conflict that has surfaced for you during your service work. Explain the factors that contribute to it and how you might resolve or cope with the conflict.
  • Discuss a social problem that you have come in contact with during your service work. What do you think are the root causes of this problem? Explain how your service may or may not contribute to its alleviation.
  • What could this group do to address the problems we saw at the service site? What could each participant do on his/her own?
  • How can society better deal with the problem?
  • How can society be more compassionate/informed/involved regarding this community?
  • What is the difference between generosity, charity, justice, and social change? Where do we go from here? What's the next step?

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.