Place-Based Learning with the National Writing Project

WriteOut

Write Out Week 2: Sharing Stories

October 20–27, 2019

Happy National Day on Writing

Happy National Day on Writing everyone! We hope you have enjoyed participating in #writeout activities so far, including our first video hangout and our first Twitter chat. We have been inspired and energized by the many shared stories and live events that have emerged from Week One of Write Out.

Here are just a few highlights of the #WriteOut explorations so far:

Composed by a high-school student in Texas.
Illustrated by a teacher in New Jersey.
Painted by a 7th-grader in Philadelphia.
Posted by educators in North Dakota.
Imagined by a 3rd-grader in San Diego.

We also notice a range of live events in New Jersey at Pine Barrens Forest Education Resource Center; in Connecticut at Weir Farm National Historic Site; and in Kentucky at Daniel Boone National Forest. These were among the places that provided opportunities for teachers and others to gather to explore and write together, as the first days of Write Out unfolded. More live events are planned for this weekend, as part of the National Day on Writing.

And nearly 100 people have contributed to the crowd-sourced Write Out/Where We’re From poetry project—check it out!


Week 2: Sharing Stories

As we launch our second week on this National Day on Writing, we invite you to delve into our theme: Sharing Stories. This means continuing to get out and about, while beginning to explore connections to the work of your fellow Write Out adventurers. We also hope this second week will provide  an opportunity for you to reflect, through your writing, on the stories places tell.

Scheduled Events

While there are many self-directed activities suggested below, there are also a few activities scheduled during the week that provide an opportunity to connect live and “in person. Tuesday, October 22 from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm ET—Video Hangout
This week, we will focus on sharing stories of place and take a look at some of the exciting work that emerged in Week One. We will be joined by guest-writer Amy Price Azano (a Connecticut Writing Project educator), and Rich Novack for an insider perspective on the group annotation of Amy’s English Journal article, “A Place for Local in Critical Global Literacies.” On October 22, use this link to join the hangout (and email writeout@nwp.org if you run into issues).

Thursday, October 24 from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm ET—Twitter Chat
Join the conversation by simply going to Twitter and using the hashtag #WriteOut. Questions will guide us to dig deeper into place-based learning and its role in education, as well as explore the successes and challenges of sharing this type of work.

Attend a Write Out Meet-Up, or consider hosting your own!
Join the National Park Service and the National Writing Project in person for Write Out events in your area. Check this list to see what’s happening across the country from October 13–27.

Suggested Self-Guided Activities

Whether you have a few minutes, a few hours, or a few days to participate in Write Out, we hope you are inspired to create, have fun, and connect with new colleagues through a variety of experiences. Here are some suggested possibilities for participating this week, grouped around the ideas of Explore, Create, and Connect. Choose your own adventure and have fun!

Explore

Create

Connect

Good luck with your journeys and discoveries, and enjoy celebrating the National Day on Writing! 

— The Write Out Team

Write Out Week One: Discovering Stories, October 13-19, 2019

Welcome to Write Out 2019

Discovering Stories is a guiding theme for this first week’s cycle of place-based activities. Look up, look out, look around. What do you notice that you haven’t seen before, or in a while? Where might you look? Online, in books and magazines, or in your local (or national) park, what might you see? Hidden stories, stories lost in time, stories in your own imagination. 

Get up, go out, and write about it—#WriteOut!

Scheduled Events

While there are many self-directed activities suggested below there are also a few online activities scheduled during each week that provide an opportunity to virtually connect, live and “in person.” Additionally, some parks or Writing Project sites are hosting in-person events. 

Tuesday October 15 from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm ET—Video Hangout
We will be joined by guest writer Catherine Stier, author of If I Were a Park Ranger, as we discover stories of place.

Thursday October 17 from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm ET —Twitter Chat
Join the conversation by simply going to Twitter and using the hashtag #WriteOut. Guided questions will focus on surfacing untold stories.

Attend a Write Out Meet-Up, or consider hosting your own!
Join the National Park Service and the National Writing Project in person for Write Out events in your area. Check this list to see what’s happening across the country from October 13–27.

Suggested Self-Guided Activities

Whether you have a few minutes, a few hours, or a few days to participate in Write Out, we hope you are inspired to create, have fun, and connect with new colleagues through a variety of experiences. Here are some suggested possibilities for participating this week grouped around the ideas of Explore, Create, and Connect. Choose your own adventure, and have fun with these!

Explore

Create

Connect

Good luck with your journeys and discoveries, and enjoy celebrating the National Day on Writing! 

— The Write Out Team

Write Out 2019

Write Out will return for a second year in October 2019, kicking off on the 20th for National Day of Writing. Come join us as we step outside our classrooms and connect with our local parks and other public spaces to write, create, and share.

Sign up for updates later this summer; follow #writeout for more.

Write Out, Summer 2018

Write Out was a two-week professional development adventure, sponsored by the National Writing Project through a partnership with the National Park Service, that connected educators and rangers across the country in place-based learning and making in July 2018.

Write Out, as an event, was created as an online opportunity with two activity cycles and collaborative spaces for teachers, park rangers, and writers to write, learn, and connect together. Although the cycles are over, you can still participate in two ways:

Write Out, as an idea, doesn’t formally come to an end and we encourage you to explore the resources we gathered and to stay connected. Here’s some cool stuff that might be useful:

And some spaces where we invite you to continue to connect and share:

In connected solidarity!

The Write Out Team

Blazing the Trail Ahead: Where Write Out Goes From Here

While the two weeks of Write Out Activity Cycles have formally come to an end, that doesn’t mean that the learning and connecting has to stop or even slow down. In fact, our hope is that the summer work is merely a seed planted, destined to become the forest or field of ideas that will sprout up as educators, park rangers and writers begin to do more work together as a community of learning and practice. Through the resources in the G+ community, on twitter at #WriteOut, and on writeout.nwp.org, we have an opportunity to keep sharing, working, and reflecting.

Mapping possibilities has been great fun and we encourage you to keep working toward our shared mission!

Collage: Top, image from Hudson Valley Writing Project, Courageous Writers; Second, LRNG Innovator Social Innovations Leadership Sabbaticals in Antioch, TN; Third, image from Project Write in Philadelphia PA; Fourth, posted by Stephanie Volkland on G+

In the past week of Activity Cycle Two, Mapping Connections, we’ve had some fascinating conversations about the partnerships between National Writing Project sites and the National Park Service, as well as suggestions and advice on how you might forge those connections. Or at least, we hope week two inspired you to consider the value of place-based writing activities for yourself, your students or visitors, and your communities.

Meanwhile, the vibrant and fast-moving chat on Twitter this week was a celebration of the work being done by Write Out participants all over the map, as well as a call to recognize and honor the work of others through a haiku poetry activity.

For each Activity Cycle, we’ve offered concrete invitations for you to wander, trek, hike and camp into the known and unknown terrain. What we’d like to focus on for this newsletter is the work that can extend beyond July, asking ourselves the question, where do we go from here?

Here are some Flipgrid thoughts from Kevin and Kristin about what they might do next (password=writeout!). Add your own thoughts by clicking on the Green +. It’s super easy and fun and no sign-in required.

Let’s keep the conversations, sharing, and connecting going in the months ahead! You can continue your work and keep reaching out to folks you met on this two week journey. There will also be follow up from National Writing Project and National Park Service staff for continued opportunities later this fall, so stay tuned for more!

And remember, you can get a badge for this work. …

The LRNG Playlist for Write Out, We Make the Road By Walking, is a series of activities, connected to Write Out’s Activity Cycles, with an extension idea to collaborate with someone else, at some other writing project or park site. Use this list to submit work you’ve been doing/want to do and receive a digital open badge linked to your portfolio of work.

… Just like a park ranger!

by Rich Novack, @richnovack from July 23 on twitter

Or just be and consider the work you do as blazing a trail, of marking the path for others to follow. In the end, it is the work we do together – as educators and park rangers and others – that broadens and enriches the experiences of students of all ages when they open eyes to the possibilities of writing out.

Rich Novack, inspired by his students above, leaves us with these thoughts (pun intended):

As an English teacher, I sometimes take students outdoors to learn how to read the world in addition to the word. Using many forms of media, including writing, students represent nature and the world. This video shows how I invite students to create field journals. This is a teacher-teaching-teachers as part of #WriteOut, a collaboration between the National Writing Project and the National Parks Service. I’d love to learn more about what teachers are doing in a similar fashion.

In creative and joyful learning solidarity,

The Write Out Team:

  • Judy Buchanan, National Writing Project
  • Christina Cantrill, National Writing Project
  • Cris Constantine, NPS Northeast Regional Office
  • Susan Cook, Homestead National Monument
  • Kevin Hodgson, Western Massachusetts Writing Project
  • Kristin Lessard, Weir Farm National Historic Site
  • Dorothy Luongo, Hudson Valley Writing Project
  • Vicki McQuitty, Maryland Writing Project
  • Bethany Silva, University of New Hampshire /Philadelphia Writing Project

Week 2 of Write Out: Mapping Connections

Welcome to the second activity cycle of Write Out 2018!

Write Out is an online opportunity with activities and collaborative spaces for teachers, park rangers, and writers to connect. It is being sponsored by the National Writing Project through a partnership with the National Park Service. Last week, Write Out kicked off with a Mapping Possibilities activity cycle which prompted an array of creative making, connecting, and collaborating. So, who’s ready for week two?!

The theme for this week is Mapping Connections, and it will provide an opportunity to delve a little deeper, to move from the local maps and beginnings into a broader look at themes and potential connections with other sites and colleagues. Activities include writing, making, mapping, live online sessions, Twitter chats, and more.

Here are some fun resources from week one to inspire your creativity for activity cycle 2: Mapping Connections!

  • Did you miss the “Map with Me” broadcast? Want to watch it again and again? View it here, and find it on writeout.nwp.org with other info and content related to Write Out.
  • Check out maps and resources shared by your colleagues by joining our G+ community and browsing the site. All participants are encouraged to keep adding more examples through week two of Write Out.
  • The mapping theme sparked the idea that we need a playlist with songs related to maps! We started a Playlist of Write Out Map Songs with some tunes to keep you motivated as you map connections this week and beyond.

Kevin Hodgson is geeking out on a resources of soundscapes of National Parks. Read more.

Scheduled Events

While there are many self-directed activities, suggested below, there are also a few online activities scheduled during each week that provide an opportunity to virtually connect, live and “in person.”

Visit the Connect/Share page at writeout.nwp.org to learn more.

Coming up this week:
* Tuesday, July 24, 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm EST— Connect With Me Activity and Broadcast via Google Hangout
* Thursday, July 26, 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm EST—Twitter Chat using the hashtag #WriteOut

Sheri Edwards map of her rural public library. Read more.

Travel Itinerary Navigation

Last week we began our Write Out journey together and mapped possibilities by exploring local spaces and ideas. The theme for week two, Mapping Connections, expands on our understanding of place and the possibilities and encourages us to venture into new terrain.

Some key themes that resonate with both National Writing Project and National Park Service emerged during week one, including place-based education, civic engagement, youth leadership, ecological justice, democracy, civil/human rights, told and untold stories, digital literacy, hearing youth voices, access and mobility, inquiry, argument writing, professional learning, reflection, and cross-disciplinary connections.

This week we challenge you to think about one or more cross-cutting themes and how they connect with your approach as a 21st century educator. We encourage you to explore others’ maps and potentially begin work on a new lesson plan or collaborative project. The possibilities and connections are endless!

So whether you have a few minutes to “wander,” a few hours to “trek,” or a day or two to “camp overnight,” we hope you are inspired to create, have fun, and connect with new colleagues. See some suggestions below.

WANDER

  • Visit someone else’s geolocation and learn something about a place new-to-you. Then connect/share that new thing with Write Out!
  • Write a postcard to a National Writing Project or National Park Service colleague at another site that you “met” during week one of Write Out.
  • Do a 10 minute write: 5 minutes on what you learned week one, 5 minutes on what more you want to know. Connect and share.
  • Invite a friend or colleague to join week 2 of Write Out (it’s never too late).
  • Find parks or writing project sites close to you. If you have a few extra minutes find out who the contact person there is and reach out.

TREK

  • Explore examples of work from week one shared in the G+ Community or via Twitter at #WriteOut. Identify themes and then create something that shows how you might connect or weave those themes together. You could map National Park Service or National Writing Project sites with stories or themes or create a theme map including the entire country.
  • Compare and contrast lesson plans and other ways you bring the themes of Write Out into your classroom and/or parks. Where do you see potential connections and possibilities? Connect and share some ideas.
  • Create a concept quilt linking to themes that emerged during week one. Find inspiration from the quilt created through the Western Massachusetts Writing Project partnership with Springfield Armory in Massachusetts.
  • Curate a photo collage on Flickr and share it with the Write Out Community! Take a look at the photo collage example from Philadelphia’s NWP/NPS partnership called Project Write.
  • Respond to young writers via the Project Write blog that goes live July 25th!
  • Create a google 360 map and engage your students or colleagues in place-based map making! Have everyone attache a 360 photo, writing piece, visual art piece, or lesson plan idea! Check out this example from the NWP/NPS partnership in Connecticut called Reading Landscapes: Nature Writing in the 21st Century.

CAMP OVERNIGHT

  • Organize a local Write Out event, meet-up, or walkabout. We love this example of how to organize for #writeout locally. Learn more about the “writing marathon” design concept here.
  • Play our We Make the Road by Walking Playlist and earn a badge for your work via Write Out.
  • Map the Way Forward! Set up a meeting with a new partner site and come up with goals and vision for working together or even write up a work plan.
  • Create a map with embedded journal entry writing about experiences in parks and spaces. Here’s some map-spiration to get you started.
  • Write a draft lesson plan or program outline with youth and/or colleagues that surfaces untold or less familiar stories.

Connect/Share

There is many ways to connect here at Write Out.

Join the G+ community and share your maps, writings, and other content! Make sure you check out what others are adding as well. Geolocate yourself and places of interest to you on our Map, and add some related media so we know more about that place/space. Tweet out the things you post and add #writeout so we can see it as part of the larger twitter feed.

Learn how ›

Resources

If you haven’t found what you need already, we have gathered some map-spirations, a set of place-based learning and writing resources, as well as National Park Service resources.

Find more ›

Play a Playlist and Earn a Badge for Write Out

Write Out is designed as an open opportunity to explore writing, learning and connecting. We value connectedness in our work and encourage you to think about the process rather than the product. However, we also know that you may want to share what you did with others beyond this opportunity — as a way to create a portfolio of your work, demonstrate your contributions and participation, and/or as a way to seek a credential for work completed. This is a valuable way of celebrating your journey too.

The Write Out leadership team has created a playlist, with an associated badge, that you can earn in connection with this year’s event. This playlist asks you to complete a set of #writeout activities (known in the playlist as as “XPs”) and then synthesize and extend your Write Out work by reflecting on your work and making commitments for blazing a new trail.

We Make the Road by Walking is developed within the LRNG.org platform and is available now through the end of December 2018.

And a little inspiration for the week from young poets in New York:

Good luck with your journeys and looking forward to connecting!

In solidarity,

The Write Out Team

Images credits