Service Learning > Example Service Learning Projects > Urban Farming, Soil Science and Me - Reflection 1

Urban Farming, Soil Science and Me - Reflection 1

Federica Raia
City College of New York of CUNY
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This activity was selected for the On the Cutting Edge Reviewed Teaching Collection

This activity has received positive reviews in a peer review process involving five review categories. The five categories included in the process are

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  • Alignment of Learning Goals, Activities, and Assessments
  • Pedagogic Effectiveness
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This activity has benefited from input from faculty educators beyond the author through a review and suggestion process. This review took place as a part of a faculty professional development workshop where groups of faculty reviewed each others' activities and offered feedback and ideas for improvements. To learn more about the process On the Cutting Edge uses for activity review, see

This page first made public: Mar 17, 2010


This reflection assignment is used within a service learning project to bridge three fundamental categories: community service, personal growth and course content. Reflections are designed to gauge students' expectations, thoughts, learning and understanding and make them evident to the students. Students reflect back on the experience(s) and also relate it to what they had written at the beginning of the course. The first assignment of the reflections series is presented along with the general expectations for reflections (which will become a rubric), The DEAL Model and questions guiding critical reflections.

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The course - Environmental Soil Science for Urban Sustainability - is an upper level undergraduate course specifically targeted to students of earth science engineering and economics and political science to support environmental entrepreneurship.

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered


How the activity is situated in the course

Reflection-1 is the first assignment of the reflection assignments series. The reflections are an integral part of students' learning and are aimed at integrating students' personal growth, content knowledge, and community service experience.


Content/concepts goals for this activity

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

Students are able to: identify expectations and understandings; describe them, reflect on the meaning of the experience in the context of their knowledge and expectations; identify what they do not know and understand and; start connecting course content to community service

Other skills goals for this activity

Description of the activity/assignment

To prepare for this reflection, students are assigned to do background reading on the organization they will/wish to work with for the Service Learning component of the course. Students then are guided into a reflection with the following questions:
The assignment also gives students practice in eliciting their own thoughts and reflections when approaching a new experience

Determining whether students have met the goals

I use a Critical Reflection Rubric checking on the following:
Students: a) clearly show connections between personal/content/service that are relevant to the topic/ question asked; b) elaborate the thoughts for clarity; and provide sufficient examples and details) justify their thinking or "how they know what they know";

More information about assessment tools and techniques.

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