youth program

What Is Connected Learning?

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Summary: This webpage offers a perfect introduction and framework to explain how principles of connected learning can inform environments and practices that engage adolescents. This resource is a springboard for discussion of additional related materials that offer illustrations of teaching with connected learning principles in mind.
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Working at the Intersections of Formal and Informal Science and Literacy Education

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Author: Tanya Baker and Becky Carroll

Summary: This resource describes the multi-faceted work of the NWP (and partners) Intersections Project which supported local partnerships to design programming and innovative projects that connected science and literacy learning. The authors present two cases and their benefits to participants: one focuses on enhancing museum/science field trips and the other describes a STEAM partnership project (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, Mathematics) between a writing project and a local science/engineering “discovery” center. Video, art, and student reactions are embedded. This resource could provide schools and teachers with ideas about partnerships with area museums or science centers, as well as literacy integration for science or STEM learning.
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A “Connected-Learning” Style and Fashion Program for Adolescents Leads to Career Opportunity

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Author: Kiley Larson, Erin Bradley, Tonya Leslie, Bryan Rosenberg, and Nathan Reimer

Summary: This case study features two Hive Fashion hubs, in Chicago and New York, in a youth program for adolescents interested in fashion as a career field. The program design is built on the recognition that young people need relevant personal relationships and career-relevant opportunities for their learning to make a difference in the real world. The youth viewed their work through the lens of social justice by incorporating social, political, economic, and cultural perspectives into their projects. From ideas to production, teen designers leveraged digital technologies to write posts on social media and to produce their creations. Useful to gain ideas for similar youth programs and to develop ideas related to connected learning, out-of-school literacies, and career education, this resource takes readers to the hubs with photos, detailed descriptions, and a video.
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The Ubuntu Academy: An Immigrant and Refugee Youth Writing Camp

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Author: Susanna Steeg

Summary: Ubuntu, a Bantu word that translates as “I am, because we are,” is the guiding philosophy behind the CT-Fairfield WP’s two-week literacy lab designed to invite immigrant and refugee youth into writing spaces that honor their heritage and promote academic success. This innovative approach to youth writing camps will be a valuable read for sites looking for ways to reach out to underserved populations who might not otherwise have access to youth writing camps & enrichment opportunities.
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Youth Writing Contests: How Sites Inspire Writers and Increase Visibility of NWP Work

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Summary: Are you looking to grow the youth programming and visibility at your site? If so, this collection highlighting seven NWP sites’ creative, and often revenue generating, programs and opportunitites for youth could provide the spark and ispiration you need. Several unique partnerships with the Scholastic Arts & Writing contest are shared, as well as out of school work with refugee students and a Saturday showcase and publication day for teens.

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Youth Writing Camp – Manuscript Day

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Author: Janet Neyer

Summary: Thinking of developing a youth program? Looking for creative ideas to recruit more young writers to your summer camp offerings? If so, then this blog post describing an exciting one-day free youth event the Chippewa River Writing Project (CRWP) hosted could be the spark you need. This collaboration between the CRWP and the NCTE student affiliate at Central Michigan University is 1) a model for creatively engaging young writers K-8, 2) a model for how to partner with like minded campus partners, 3) a model for how to provide outreach and opportunities with short, yet meaningful programming, and 4) an example of how an outreach effort can also serve as a great marketing tool/opportunity.
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Planning for Young Writers Camps

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Author: June Joyner

Summary: Many writing project sites count on young authors’ camps to reach out to the community and bring in revenue. This resource is a planning tool that illustrates how one writing project site thought through the decisions involved in launching a summer youth camp. Those looking to expand, revise, or begin summer youth writing programs may find this resource useful, as it 1) lists expectations for teachers leading camps, 2) provides budget “givens” and guidelines, and 3) outlines the many decisions camp leadership teams make in preparing for an engaging summer experience that also contributes to site income.
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Publishing Students’ True Stories

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Author: Rus VanWestervelt

Summary: Creative nonfiction? What better way to engage students in all disciplines than to write real stories about life events that matter to them! And what if there were opportunities to publish these pieces in a journal designed and edited by youth? In telling the story of the creation of a journal that eventually encompassed the state, the author provides a resource list of models of creative nonfiction as well as an example of one student’s narrative that focused on her family’s evacuation from the American compound in Saudi Arabia following terrorist bombings. Even without a goal of publishing a journal, there are excellent suggestions that could be used for creating and supporting collaborative writing spaces (e.g., in classrooms, student writing clubs, supporting Scholastic Awards).
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Exploring “Systems Thinking” with Grinding New Lenses (NWP Radio)

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Summary: Eight teachers from three National Writing Project sites spent a month in Chicago exploring the power of systems thinking to support students in the way they learn, make, and write. Of particular interest to teachers planning and leading young writers programs that focus on digital literacy, this project, called “Grinding New Lenses,” engaged teachers in their own learning and thinking about systems, followed by an opportunity to lead a summer camp with youth from the surrounding area.
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Curriculum Rewired: Teachers and Students Come Together Around Innovative New Pedagogy

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Author: Razeen Zaman

Summary: “Grinding New Lenses,” a four-week summer camp supported by a MacArthur Foundation grant, combined intensive professional development in design thinking for teachers with their leading a program for sixty-five rising sixth- and seventh-grade Chicago area students that engaged them as game designers and digital storytellers. “The end result: students who learned to take on roles as proficient designers, philosophers, writers, and activists; teachers who become avid systems thinkers; and strong curricula that underwent a rapid process of iteration, innovation and refinement.” This article and the related NWP Radio show offer inspiration for teacher leaders planning youth opportunities focused on developing students’ digital literacy.
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