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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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What Student Writing Teaches Us

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Author: Mark Overmeyer

Summary: In this short video, Mark Overmeyer, co-director of the Denver Writing Project and author of the book What Student Writing Teaches Us poses the question, “If you read student writing closely enough, will the student’s writing teach you what the student needs to know?” A thoughtful overview of the value of watching and listening to young writers in the process of writing, this video could be useful in launching a conversation about the role of formative assessment in the development of student writing.
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Bioethics, Informed Consent, and Open Networks: The Story of Bioethics Day

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Author: Jennifer Smyth

Summary: This collection of materials, inspired by a shared reading in English and Biology classes of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, describes the planning and presentation of Bioethics Day as a “day of learning” for students from three high schools. The materials include explanatory videos and planning information, as well as a description of how the project demonstrates connected learning, and a frank discussion of privacy and the pros and cons of open network projects. This resource may be useful in working with teachers across content areas who are interested in creating projects that invite students to share their learning beyond the classroom. 
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Building LRNG Badges: Beyond Graphics

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Author: Paul Allison

Summary: This resource offers access to two in-depth discussions about LRNG playlists and corresponding online assignments/tasks leading to badges that youth receive for their career-based digital work. Teachers in the New York City Writing Project talk through the Badge Builder on LRNG in the first video. In the second, Paul Allison (NYCWP) and Chris Sloan (Wasatch Range WP) talk through the building of an entire set of guidelines and digital tasks based on two photography playlists. This rich task-oriented discussion considers students first and takes educators who want to build such a badging system through the process.
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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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Teaching in a Movement for Justice

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Author: Paul Allison

Summary: This collection of blogs, podcasts, articles, videos, and other media provides a variety of textual experiences you could use to give students a layered reading and writing experience related to Ferguson and Black Lives Matter. The collection creator, Paul Allison, poses two qustions: “How can we help students to connect around important issues of race and justice in our time?” and “How do we build curriculum, rituals, tools, and skills in modular, open, inspiring ways that will give students the permission to follow their passions, yet also invite them to go deep into important issues as committed and informed citizens?” While the collection focuses specifically on the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and its aftermath, it underscores the value of creating multimodal resource collections to encourage teachers and students to explore issues of social justice locally and more broadly.
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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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Teaching Writing in the Digital Age

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Author: Joel Malley

Summary: In this brief video showing myriad facets of digital writing, teacher Joel Malley documents the ways in which his classroom provides opportunities for students’ deep learning and significant growth as writers. He shares his students’ immersion in content, and their collaboration, response and publishing through social media, video production, and digital storytelling. Workshop leaders might use this as an introductory invitation to generate discussion or perhaps as a model for teachers to create similar videos to document how digital writing looks in their classrooms and why it matters.
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Listening to the Sounds of Silence in the Classroom

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Author: Art Peterson and Kathy Schultz

Summary: Did you ever wonder about why certain students might choose silence? In this video and an accompanying article about her work, Kathy Schultz urges educators to inquire into the meaning of silence while also finding strategies to allow silent students to communicate. Watching the video may spur teachers to reconsider notions of “participation” and the function of silence in “talk-rich,” writing classrooms.
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What’s the Buzz About Badges?

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Author: Elyse Eidman-Aadahl & Sheryl Grant

Summary: This video introduces a definition of badges and features a discussion of various badging systems. The facilitators also preview a series of webinars and learning opportunities about badges and début a new resource collection that shares lessons learned from dozens of badge design projects.
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