civic engagement

Content Literacy Leadership: A Lane Change for Writing Projects

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Authors: Bruce M. Penniman, Leslie Skantz-Hodgson, Jane Baer-Leighton, Maria José Botelho, Richard Cairn, Karen Miele, Lawrence O’Brien, Momodou Sarr, Laura St. Pierre, Chris Tolpa, Susan Connell Biggs, Karen Diaz, Kevin Hodgson, Hollington Lee, Karen Pleasant, Christopher Rea, Lisa Rice

Summary: Written as part of the Building New Pathways to Leadership initiative, this narrative and accompanying resources tell one site’s story of building a pathway to teacher leadership for civics teachers. Site leaders interested in developing their site’s capacity to deliver professional development for social studies teachers may find this story of investment in the leadership of civics teachers illuminating.
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Reading, Writing, and Reflection in the Holocaust Educators Network

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Summary: Each summer for the past ten years, NWP teachers, many from rural sites, have participated in summer seminars offered by the The Olga Lengyel Institute for Holocaust Studies and Human Rights (TOLI), a NYC-based organization dedicated to furthering the knowledge of teachers and students about human rights and social justice through the lens of the Holocaust and other genocides. TOLI seminars use an inquiry-based approach to provide educators with tools to heighten their students’ engagement with this sensitive subject matter, guiding students from shock and denial to compassion and social action. Teachers who complete the seminar become part of the Holocaust Educators Network.

Developed by Sondra Perl, one of the founders of the New York City Writing Project, TOLI seminars place writing at the center, both as a way for participants to process their learning and as a key dimension of the curriculum projects designed by participating teachers. If you are exploring ways to address issues of human rights and social justice in your work with other teachers or in your own classroom, check out the resources below to learn more about TOLI.
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Connected Learning with Youth Voices

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Summary: Youth Voices is a connected-learning site that hosts digital learning curriculum openly available for teachers, based in sound theory about the teaching of writing. You will find incredible student work related to current events and issues, playlists that students and teachers can use, podcasts, and more. You can explore the student writing through the highlighted “Daily 25 Featured Discussions” on the homepage or visit the categories along the top of the page to find student writing on specific topics. No matter how you explore the site you are sure to be drawn to youth taking a stand and writing about some of the most pressing issues of the day.
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Real World History: Six Videos that Model and Inspire

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Summary: Looking for ways to involve high school students in using historical tools to craft arguments and make personal connections to current issues? These six short NWP-produced videos spotlight Real World History, a high school course that frames history as an argument about the past and teaches students to think like historians. The video footage, focused on a study of the Great Migration of the 20th Century, could be a springboard for curriculum design or spark conversation in classes or professional development focused on disciplinary literacy with a social justice bent.
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A Fourth Grade Service Learning Project Engages English Learners

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Author: Robert Rivera-Amezola

Summary: In this video, a teacher of fourth-grade English learners describes how he integrated service learning and digital literacy in a civic engagement project. They used “My Voice,” a service-learning framework, as a guide to choose a project about water conservation and pollution. The teacher made information accessible to his students via videos and images as well as language by using the website Discovery Education. The students wrote blogposts, and completed webquests, podcasts, and digital presentations.  The resources that supported this work along with the student outcomes are made available on the video as models for teacher study groups.
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Youth Camp Agendas, Outlines, and Schedules

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Summary: Starting a new youth writing camp at your site? Looking to infuse new ideas, writing activities, or approaches in your existing youth programs? Looking for creative and innovative ways in which other sites are using “out-of-school” spaces to engage young writers? If so, then this collection of youth camp resources could be a “go-to” resource.  In this collection you will find help with getting started (program overviews and orientation agendas), planning (camp outlines and descriptions), recruiting (invitations to TCs and potential partners), advertising (flyers and registrations), and successfully running (agendas, lessons, protocols) your youth program. Browse through the materials for an overview of possibilities or dig deeply into the collection for an in-depth look at what it takes to develop and host successful programs for young writers.
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Digital Directions in Professional Development

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Author: Elyse Eidman-Aadahl and Cindy O’Donnell-Allen

Summary: In a conversation sponsored by NCTE’s Language Arts, two NWP leaders discuss the transformations in the classroom and in teacher practice that happen when connected learning and digital tools are integrated into curriculum planning. They emphasize that the tools do not replace the teacher; the teacher becomes even more important as a model, or “lead learner,” for writing in today’s digital age.
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What Is Connected Learning?

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Summary: This webpage offers an 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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Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century

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Author: Henry Jenkins

Summary: This resource challenges teachers and schools to have conversations about the social skills, technological access, and cultural competencies involved in a connected-learning approach to learning and literacy. Written by Henry Jenkins and members of Project New Media Literacies, it describes “new literacies” that rely on collaboration and networking, and argues that schools have been slow to develop pedagogies that support youth in participatory culture, with its potential benefits of “peer-to-peer learning, a changed attitude toward intellectual property, the diversification of cultural expression, the development of skills valued in the modern workplace, and a more empowered conception of citizenship.” Without school involvement, Jenkins argues, groups of students will be left behind in developing the new skills and competencies needed to succeed “as full participants in our society.” For teacher leaders who want to offer ideas and help their colleagues understand and embrace participatory culture in school settings, this resource is a place to begin the conversation.
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Community Literacy: Can Writing Make a Difference?

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Author: Linda Flower, Lorraine Higgins, Wayne C. Peck

Summary: This resource describes the process emerging from a Community Literacy Collaborative (CLC) initiative that enabled youth to use inquiry and writing to enter into a policy discussion about increases in school suspension and for their university mentors to enter into the discourse of urban teens. The approach is designed to promote intercultural discourse across race, class, gender, age, and economics barriers. Remarkably current (the school to prison pipeline comes to mind), this piece provides real world examples undergirded by a strong theoretical rationale and would be a useful resource for those framing community-based projects aimed at advocacy and civic engagement.
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