The Compassion Network ~
Preserving Our Pearls of Wisdom

Overview Networking with senior family members and friends motivates urban students to learn graphical estimation and forecasting in math class. Interviews with family members allow them to build writing, listening and communication skills. Forthcoming information inspires them to research the current situation of our nation's elderly and ask serious questions. Technology also leads to economic projections. Basic principles like social security, Medicare, and Medicaid are demystified. Sharing valuable information with family and community, students create a brochure, articles, and computer slide show. Young citizens who belong to the Compassion Network can produce a treasury of factoids and figures that help preserve our Pearls of Wisdom.

Classroom Activities
Community Activities
Career Activities
Brainstorm definitions of elderly & senior citizens
Develop interview questions.
Discuss interview process.
Transcribe interviews into class book.
Choose research topics.
Research tables & demographic statistics on Internet.
Analyze data, estimate, forecast & graph figures.
Develop information factoids on elderly resources.
Createbrochure , computer slide show (or download, 1.22 MB) & boards for schoolwide events.
Interview elderly family members & friends.
Share information by posting on schoolwide bulletin board.
Display class book at local library & senior center.
Share charts & tables with family & friends at Character Education Day & Service Learning Showcase.
Visit senior center & share computer slide show & factoids.
Interview elderly family members about their own careers & careers of their caretakers
Research glossary of Social Security terms.
Interview teacher about career changes & groups like the National Society for Black Engineers.
Reflect how service learning helps the elderly.
Observe health care providers & human needs personnel at senior center.

Learning Standards Math

Construct, draw inferences & reason with charts, tables, & graphs that summarize data from real world situations.
Collect, organize & describe data.
Construct, read & interpret data.
Formulate & solve problems that involve collecting & analyzing data.
Use computation & estimation procedures to solve problems.
Use scatter plots of sets of data points to graph a line of best fit.
Develop & defend conclusions.

Learning Standards English Language Art

Understand and use writing process effectively.
Use various formats & technology to complete & enhance work.
Use telecommunications to share information & ideas.
Make effective presentations.
Incorporate multimedia as appropriate.
Use research and study skills.
Facilitate group discussions.

Learning Standards English Social Studies

Engage in historical & social issues analysis & decision making.
Formulate probing questions.
Explore the role economics plays in shaping society.
Incorporate multiple causes in analyses & explanations of contemporary questions.
Make connections between past and present.
Obtain information from a variety of sources.

School to Career Competencies

Develop Communication & Literacy Skills.
Solve Problems.
Organize & Analyze Information.
Complete Entire Activities.
Use Technology.
Act Professionally.
Interact with Others.
Take Responsibility for Career & Life Choices.

Assessment With each phase of the project, students are expected to present findings to their classmates. Other classes participating in Service Learning Projects involving the elderly are invited to all presentations. Administration, teacher, and students periodically check the schoolwide bulletin board. Students and teacher assess brochure and computer slide show text. Mathematical operations are examined and marked during teacher/student conferences

Software or Materials Used for a free copy of "SOCIAL SECURITY AND YOU" TEACHERS KIT, send a blank 60 minute VHS videotape with your mailing information to: Social Security, 4-J-8 WHR, Baltimore, MD 21235. Tell them you want the Teachers Kit video tape duplicated; students learn Internet search techniques and use Microscoft Office for word processing, spreadsheets, desktop publishing, and graphics; they use digital cameras and scanners for brochure and computer slide show; and use email and fax machines to communicate with others.

Web Sites Social Security Online; Retirement & Elder Care Nolo's Legal Encyclopedia; Social Issues Resource Series; Hot Questions for Cool Teens; Administration on Aging; National Society of Black Engineers

Keywords Service Learning, Aging, Elderly, Senior Citizens, Retirement, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid

Final Words The Compassion Network helps students appreciate the elderly and also to take pride in their families, themselves, and their cultural backgrounds. The interviews are amazing.

Teacher Tip Use prior connections your school may have with organizations. Contacting the right group can be time consuming so make sure students are responsible for arranging interviews and completing follow-up research. They are very capable and can do it! Be sure to brainstorm several definitions of elderly. Students may think someone 50 years old is elderly. Be careful. Now-a-days many 70 year old seniors are still vibrant contributors to society!

E-mail contact E-mail contact:

Teacher Bio Naia Wilson, Math Specialist for Brighton High, a School to Career School, teaches math to at-risk ninth graders. With a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering, she first worked as a software engineer while actively contributing to the National Society of Black Engineers. This affiliation led her to promote math and science careers for urban students and resulted in a career change. Now, Naia has Masters in Secondary Math Education and is working towards a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies. During her past nine years in the Boston Public Schools, she has served as technology coach and instructor and has received the GTE Gift Grant and several IMPACT II Service Learning Grants. When caring for her ailing father, Naia discovered the limited number of resources available to our senior citizens. Since then, she has launched a crusade to ensure that young people are prepared to care for elderly parents while planning secure futures for themselves.

Subject Areas Math, English Language Arts, Social Studies

Grade Levels 9-12


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