Helping the Homeless

What does it mean to be homeless? Who are the homeless? With these Key Questions, middle schoolers survey their peers about this issue. A visit to a Homeless Veterans Shelter and research through literature and the Internet lead to agreement on serving at the shelter. Participants identify myths about the homeless and understand the importance of job skills and education.

For more about Special #1 from Serving and Learning from Those Who Have Served e-mail
Sarah Johnson author and AT&T Teacher Disseminator.
Learning Standards
  • Collect, organize and analyze data.
  • Conduct effective discussions.
  • Make connections between reading and life experience.
  • Understand and express different points of view.
  • Classroom Activities
    l. Answer Key questions: Students begin by researching the answers to the above key questions.
    2. Use Journals: Students write reflections in their journals and complete the first entry: "When I think of the homeless, I think of…" This serves as a pre-test for students and teachers to study attitudinal changes.

    3. Compose and Conduct a Survey: Students gather survey questions from the Internet and from literature.
    4. Graph Survey Results: As students graph data, they analyze results revealing that a large number polled believe myths about the homeless.
    Community Activities
    Preparation for visiting the veterans shelter includes map reading to plan the class route via public transportation. Upon arrival, students meet personnel and take a tour. Hearing about the staff, students also learn that most shelter veterans attend school, acquire job skills at the shelter, and perform chores.
    Students observe and gain insights on the importance of social service providers, health care professionals, and career counselors.
    54 Ways You Can Help the Homeless by Rabbi Charles A. Kroloff, 1993: Hugh Lauter Levin Associates and Behrman House, Inc.; survey materials, journals
    Students use calculators for data posting and research homeless issues on the Internet.
    Teachers and students conduct ongoing assessment from survey results, pre post tests, student participation, key questions, responses, and journal entries.

    Web Sites
    For the Myths and Facts about Homelessness visit