Overcoming Obstacles


  • Students will look over and ensure that they have completed each step of their project planning.

  • Students will brainstorm and create action plans to address last-minute project issues.

  • Students will create a project agenda.


  • One large sheet of paper and one marker for each group of two to three students (Part II)

Part I: Checking and Double-Checking

Purpose: Students ensure they have completed each project-planning step.

1. Students discuss the importance of checking and double-checking.

Ask students to raise their hands if they have ever packed a bag to take with them on an overnight trip or sleepover. Ask students if they have ever forgotten to pack an item that they needed, such as toothpaste or a toothbrush. Ask those students if they knew when they left home that they had not packed every item that they would need.

Remind students that they have created materials lists, time lines, and plans for their service learning project. Tell them that after all of that work, it would be a shame not to have everything go as planned simply because they forgot something. Explain to students that it is important to double-check everything about their project, even if it seems obvious.

2. Students double-check each step of their project.

Have students work in small groups of two or three to look over their action plan, checklists, schedules, and status memos. Have each group report on whether each of their planning steps has been completed or whether they are still working to complete parts of the action plan.

Part II: Last-Minute Issues

Purpose: Students brainstorm last-minute project issues and needs.

1. Students brainstorm last-minute project needs.

Have the entire class brainstorm last-minute project needs, issues, or potential problems. Have a volunteer write results on the board. Encourage students to concentrate on identifying all issues of concern before discussing or addressing any of them.

2. Students create action plans for addressing last-minute issues.

Explain to students that the best way to ensure that each issue they’ve identified is addressed is to create mini–action plans. Have students work in small groups of two to three, with each group considering one or two issues, identifying that issue’s details, and creating a plan for dealing with the issue. Give each group a large sheet of paper and a marker. Students should write their plans on the large sheet of paper. Have groups report back to the class on their plans.

Part III Walk-Through

Purpose: Students walk through each step of their service learning project.

1. Students do a project walk-through.

As a class, have students verbally walk through each step of their service learning project, beginning with their arrival at school that morning and ending with their departure from school at the end of the day. Students should describe what will happen during each part of the day and how long each step will take.

2. Students create an agenda.

As students describe the day of their project, write their descriptions and time estimates on the board. Help students use this information to create an agenda for the day of the project. Encourage students to write or type their agenda and to distribute copies to all participants.

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