Assignments and Reading

Weekly Assignments and Readings Fall 2018

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.


August 29th, 2018  5:30 pm  Location TBA   Orientation planned by last year Caritas Community



The syllabus become familiar with goals, homework assignments, how you access readings and the service schedule.  Please come prepared with questions

Why Serve?  The Dialectic of Service and Learning” Cameron 


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.

Describe yourself how you feel right now, describe what you see, feel, hear and think

Tell yourself what you need to do to succeed and to be happy.

Be your own friend and warn yourself about patterns that could get in the way of your goals.


Part II:  Complete your lifeline:  See syllabus addendum

Reading:  Chapter 1   “Higher Ground”    Just Mercy


Written Assignment Respond to the question:  Why do you think Bryan Stevenson chooses to serve? Why serve?   Why do I serve?

Project:  Due 10/1 Small groups will create a video about Love/Caritas/Service/Community.  Each 4th hour will divide into 2 or 3 groups.   ach group will choose a topic. They will develop questions to ask individuals or groups. They will video the interviews and create a 5-7 minute video on the theme. Use music that fits the theme, symbols, BE CREATIVE and learn in the process.  Interview at your service site?  Interview ACs professors, fellow students, campus workers, teachers, upper-class students--

Read:  Complete by week of 9/24   Freire, Paulo.  Pedagogy of the Oppressed.  Chapter- pages 87-92


Assignment:  Continue to work on Video

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

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?  What is Freire asking of you as you begin to dialogue, internally and externally about your experience?

 Develop 5 statements 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. The United States is open to immigrants. 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

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 some of your assumptions about the poor?  Where did you get those ideas?   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,

Norristown Rising” by Adrianna Hoff.: Times Herald, 11/14/2015

Written Assignment:  What is poverty?  How do you see the consequences at ACLAMO? 

Create 3 questions for discussion about the video or readings or Service topic for 4th hour.


Student  Presentation  Due 11/12        See addendum for description of project and resources


No Fourth Hour---Community Partnership Dinner- Monday 11/5   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.


Assignment:  Complete Presentations comparing neighborhoods and be ready to present today


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

Call former Caritas back to 4th hours

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 this semester that is worthy of your life l         line and how it has affected your view of the world.   


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

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

  • 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.