Youth, Education & Technology News : September 2006

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Recent September 2006
+ Writing Stories - A YouthLearn Activity Using Patterns to Master More Complex Structures
+ New Youth Policy Resource Center!
+ Essay Contest for 8 to 12 year olds
+ NEH Announces Digital Humanities Start-Up Grants Program
+ Educating All Students to be Conceptual Thinkers

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September 26, 2006

Writing Stories - A YouthLearn Activity Using Patterns to Master More Complex Structures

What is a story? Nothing more than an orderly telling of a tale in a way that the audience understands and appreciates enough to want to see how it ends.

We're used to thinking about stories in terms of fables, novels or movies, but when children write a report about an inquiry-based project, they're really telling a story about their discoveries. A poem is a story, even if it's just a story about an emotion felt for only a minute. It's cliché, but it's true: Every picture tells a story. When you have kids create multimedia presentations, animation, a video or a Web page, they need storytelling skills to keep the viewer engaged and interested.... The heart of writing a story is identifying the main ideas behind it and the order in which they'll be presented. If kids can learn to do that, they are more then halfway to becoming good writers and communicators. You can use many tools to organize stories, including several graphic organizers that we've discussed before.

Posted by wrivenburgh on September 26, 2006 | Activities

New Youth Policy Resource Center!

"Policy makers, administrators and advocates across the country are responding to the research and increasing public awareness of what is necessary to change the odds for youth. They recognize that, too often, society has reacted with fragmented and disjointed responses to youth problems and that no real plan exists to address promotion of youth strengths. Although no one method may be perfect to address the challenges in creating effective youth policies, states, cities and counties are taking steps to find the best among a wide range of possible solutions. This Youth Policy Resource Center shares examples from states, cities and counties that are aligning and coordinating youth policies to ensure young people are Ready by 21™: Ready for work, college and life."

Posted by wrivenburgh on September 26, 2006 | Resources

Essay Contest for 8 to 12 year olds

"In 100 words or less, your child can write a poem, essay or short story about what he or she would do to make our world a better place to live. Children 8 to 12 years old are encouraged to submit their own words of inspiration for a chance to win one of three great prizes," including educational savings bonds and gifts. This contest is inspired by the Akeelah and the Bee feature film. Entries must be submitted by November 29.

Posted by wrivenburgh on September 26, 2006 | Activities

NEH Announces Digital Humanities Start-Up Grants Program

"Digital Humanities Start-Up Grants is the first new program under the National Endowment for the Humanities' new Digital Humanities Initiative.

NEH's Digital Humanities Start-Up Grants are designed to encourage scholars with bright new ideas and provide the funds to get their projects off the ground. All projects will incorporate new ways of studying the humanities...

Eligible applicants are U.S. nonprofit organizations or institutions; state and local governmental agencies and Native American tribal organizations; and U.S. citizens or foreign nationals who have been living in the United States or its jurisdictions for at least the three years immediately prior to the application deadline."

Deadline: November 15, 2006 and April 3, 2007

Referred by: Foundation Center
Posted by wrivenburgh on September 26, 2006 | Funding

Educating All Students to be Conceptual Thinkers

"Studies have shown that many of our high schools, even those that boast of high graduation and college-attendance rates, rarely demand that students use information, skills, and technologies to construct new knowledge and to solve complex problems, integrate concepts and ideas across disciplines, communicate effectively orally and in writing, and work in diverse groups. Yet this is precisely the kind of learning students need for a Conceptual Age.... Are we requiring all students to use their minds well to construct knowledge, to inquire, to invent, to make meaning and relevance out of their learning? Hardly, writes Gerry House in the most recent issue of America School Board Journal."

Referred by: PEN Weekly NewsBlast
Posted by wrivenburgh on September 26, 2006 | Resources

Experts Tell Congress Afterschool is Key for Math, Science

At a special Capitol Hill briefing on September 13, experts discussed how afterschool programs teach science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills through fun, engaging activities such as computer programming, robotics, and 3-D digital animation.... The congressional briefing was sponsored by the Coalition for Science After School, the Afterschool Alliance, the National Science Teachers Association and the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics in conjunction with the Senate and House Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Education Caucuses and the Senate and House Afterschool Caucuses. For more information on STEM and afterschool, view the Afterschool Alliance's Issue Brief: "Afterschool programs: At the STEM of learning."

Referred by: Afterschool Alliance
Posted by wrivenburgh on September 26, 2006 | News

ITEST Webcast 1: Infusing IT/STEM Skill Standards in Informal ITEST Learning

WHEN? Thursday, October 5, 2006 2:00-3:00 ET

The YouthLearn team continues its work as a partner in the NSF ITEST Learning Resource Center (LRC). Joyce-Malyn Smith, LRC PI, and Haejung Chung from YouthLearn are organizing the first of two webcasts in October 2006. Please join us for the first event, "Infusing IT/STEM Skill Standards in Informal ITEST Learning," which is designed to answer the following questions: How do educators guide young peoples’ development of IT/STEM skills outside the classroom? How do they articulate the skills and knowledge that ITEST students are developing in such flexible, informal learning environments?

During this first webcast, Principal Investigators from three ITEST projects will share model practices that integrate IT/STEM skill standards into dynamic, informal learning environments, and reveal how ITEST experiences support advanced IT skills and knowledge beyond the standards.

URL: To register for the webcast:
To find out more about the event, and background information: go to
Posted by hchung on September 26, 2006 | YouthLearn Updates

September 12, 2006

New Resources for Middle School Educators

"The New Jersey Consortium for Middle Schools at Kean University is pleased to announce the launch of a special website devoted to topical links for middle level educators. The result of meticulous research into web resources that will be of particular value to educators at the middle level, the site contains over 400 selections arranged into 19 categories," including: Arts, Homework Help, Information Literacy, Middle School Teachers Blogs, Projects and Project-Based Learning, etc.

The site is "free and open to anyone interested in the resource. This work is supported by a grant under the Teacher Quality program of the U.S. Department of Education."

Referred by: Digital Divide Network
Posted by wrivenburgh on September 12, 2006 | Resources

Digital divide separates students

"WASHINGTON (AP) -- Many more white children use the Internet than do Hispanic and black students, a reminder that going online is hardly a way of life for everyone.

Two of every three white students -- 67 percent -- use the Internet, but less than half of blacks and Hispanics do, according to federal data released Tuesday. For Hispanics the figure is 44 percent; for blacks, it's 47 percent....

The new data come from the National Center for Education Statistics, an arm of the Education Department."

Posted by wrivenburgh on September 12, 2006 | News

RIF's Charlotte's Web Art Contest

Reading is Fundamental "invites kids ages 5-15 to create posters of characters, scenes, or other imagery from the Charlotte's Web book.

With the support of HarperCollins, Walden Media, and Paramount Pictures, the contest offers exciting prizes for the winners in three age groups (5-8, 9-11, and 12-15)...

Get your paper, paints, markers or crayons out and get creative! All artwork is due November 10."

Posted by wrivenburgh on September 12, 2006 | Activities

NEA Foundation Accepting Applications for Student Achievement Grants

The National Education Association Foundation's Student Achievement Grants "provide $5,000 to improve the academic achievement of students by engaging in critical thinking and problem solving that deepen knowledge of standards-based subject matter. The work should also improve students’ habits of inquiry, self-directed learning, and critical reflection.

Proposals for work resulting in low-income and minority student success with honors, advanced placement, or other challenging curricula are particularly encouraged. The grant amount is $5,000." Deadline: October 15, 2006

Referred by: Foundation Center
Posted by wrivenburgh on September 12, 2006 | Funding

Youth Leaders for Literacy to Awards Grants for Student-Led Projects

"Youth Leaders for Literacy is an initiative of the National Education Association and Youth Service America to help youth direct their enthusiasm and creativity into reading-related service projects.

Grant applications should propose youth leadership in developing and implementing a literacy project that begins on NEA's Read Across America Day, March 2, 2007, and culminates on YSA's National Youth Service Days, April 20-22.

The National Education Association will award twenty grants of $500 each to support student-led initiatives." Deadline: November 24, 2006

Referred by: Foundation Center
Posted by wrivenburgh on September 12, 2006 | Funding

September 11, 2006

Cooperative learning helps create the essential skill of working within a group

"Common Ground"
By Susan Munro, Mary Utne O'Brien, John W. Payton, and Roger P. Weissberg
"What were once called 'soft' skills in the workplace are now essential, key to the success of the business enterprise and the individual worker: working on teams, taking responsibility for one's piece of a larger project, planning for the future, and completing the plan -- these are the gears that will drive their personal and professional lives. All involve cooperative learning." In this article--a nice, concise summary for YouthLearn community members who invest in collaborative learning experiences--the authors cite research into effective cooperative learning, identifying essential elements and benefits.

Referred by: Edutopia News
Posted by wrivenburgh on September 11, 2006 | Resources

'School of the Future' opens doors

First-of-its-kind school seeks to meet the needs of 21st-century learners
By Corey Murray, Senior Editor, eSchool News

"A paperless environment; flexible classroom furniture that easily can be arranged to support collaborative, project-based learning; high-tech tools to support hands-on instruction; and a sustainable architecture designed to save thousands of dollars in energy costs--all of these innovations mark Philadelphia's new School of the Future, which opened its doors to students for the first time Sept. 7. Built in conjunction with Microsoft Corp., the school is more than just a showcase for new technology; project leaders hope it will serve as a replicable model for other districts to follow as they look to design learning environments that can engage, motivate, and address the unique needs of every student."

Referred by: eSchool News
Posted by wrivenburgh on September 11, 2006 | News

Guide to Social Change Led By and With Young People

"The Freechild Project announces the availability of a new publication focusing on youth action. The "Guide to Social Change Led By and With Young People" provides a brief introduction to the issues and actions addressed by children and youth around the world as they lead community action. The Guide also includes an introduction to Freechild's unique Cycle of Youth Engagement, as well as a resource directory."

Referred by: The Freechild Project List
Posted by hchung on September 11, 2006 | Resources