Place-Based Learning with the National Writing Project

WriteOut

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

Reflections and Connections | Mapping Possibilities, Week 1

Huzzah! We’ve arrived near the end of week one of #WriteOut with a stronger sense of place, curiosity, and connection to each other as we’ve all embarked on mapping possibilities! And we’ve only just begun – we have another week of exploring our connections across the National Writing Project and National Park Service during cycle two (due to begin Sunday) … so stay tuned and curious!

In looking back over the past few days we notice the ways we have been making introductions, locating ourselves in physical and digital spaces, and opening doors to the park and the classroom. This week’s theme of Mapping Possibilities allowed each of us to raise our flag and declare “I’m interested in connecting to place-based learning! There’s value in taking learning outside of the classroom and in bring parks into classrooms! Let’s explore the possibilities together!” And together we certainly did….!

Below are some highlights. As well as information about a new opportunity to submit for the Write Out We Make the Road by Walking badge and playlist.

Read on.

Highlights

Good job geolocating yourself, everyone. Here’s a quick view into some of the ways people located and shared their location with us.

Rich Novak tagged the map at Quarts Rock, Orange CT with three different 360 representations of this space during three different times of this past year: July 2018, December 2017, April 2017.

Jen Dumont and her son William spent World Listening Day hiking up to the top of Bald Knob in Moultonboro, NH and shared their photos and poetry in the G+ Community.

Chris Mazura and his children have also been exploring, writing and sharing with #writeout throughout the week on Twitter.

We have also noticed writing project youth camps participating in #writeout, from California to Massachusetts.

A set of resources from the National Park Service were gathered and posted by Cris Constantine at the NPS Northeast Regional Office, including the NPS Educator Portal. Check out all that is here and find more here.

Kristin Lessard, Park Ranger from Weir Farm, also put together a map using her favorite technology (Post-its!) showing NWP/NPS partnerships across the country.

Read more about that partnership work here.

Local teachers have also been gathering, writing and making maps together. Here is a 3D map created at a gathering at the University of New Hampshire Community Literacy Center organized by Bethany Silva.

Andrea Zellner organized a local writing retreat in Michigan. She also created a fabulous Write Out Writing Marathon handout to be shared around.

Teachers of the North Star of Texas had a one-day retreat that they share via #writeout.

And educators connected to the #clmooc community have also been sharing their maps and doodles over the last week too.

During the #Write Out twitter chat on Thursday, we started conversations about how to connect as well as why. We also talked about how sometimes, in focusing on a celebration of place, place-based learning can ignore or mask the ways that different groups are excluded from or pushed out of places. Our chat host, Bethany Silva, asks us to reflect on how our work can attend to these issues and community and resources like Outdoor Afro, Youth Participatory Action Research Hub (YPAR) and National Park resources like Telling All Americans’ Stories were shared.

Read the archive and continue these critical conversations.

Prompted by the Map with Me broadcast on Tuesday, Sheri Edwards in Washington mapped an organization she is a part of in her rural community — her local public library.

And emerging from broadcast, Kevin Hodgson and Andrea Zellner connected #writeout energy to start a Map Song Playlist that we can all continue to add to.

See the archive here:


Map with Me: Introduction to Write Out and Mapping Possibilities

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.

In connected learning solidarity,

The Write Out Team

Additional image credits:

  • Hero image from Project Write, a partnership of the Philadelphia Writing Project and Independence National Historical Park.
  • We Make the Road by Walking image from Coureagous Writers, a partnership of the Hudson Valley Writing Project and Roosevelt-Vanderbilt National Historic Sites

Welcome to Write Out: Mapping Possibilities

Write Out is an online invitation to connect with activities and collaborative spaces for teachers, park rangers, and writers, and is hosted and sponsored by the National Writing Project through a partnership with the National Park Service. It begins today, July 15 and runs for the next two weeks. We invite you to start Write Out with us by mapping possibilities.

Below we have featured activities and prompts to support you in joining in this creative endeavor and to explore possibilities. This open and online collaborative project is designed with multiple entryways for you to engage with historical and natural spaces in your communities. Where your interest takes you is where you should go. Jump in and share at any point.

You may find new and interesting ways to explore the natural resources around you through the principles of Connected Learning. You might also bring the same sense of adventure and exploration to your own learning spaces through place-based writing and making activities. We hope that educators in National Writing Project sites will find National Park sites, and vice versa. And we hope you will search other public spaces around your community too.

Think of the suggestions that follow as virtual rock cairns, suggested markers for pathways but never the only paths possible. It’s always OK to head out into the Wild.

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 page at writeout.nwp.org to learn more.

Coming up this week:

Travel Itinerary Navigation

Mapping your terrain is both metaphorical and useful. The theme for this first week is Mapping Possibilities because we hope you can find different ways, and different mediums, for making maps to understand and share your place and space. Maps could be physical—say, a route through a forest in a National Park—or conceptual—perhaps a map of your own learning or teaching or understanding—or transactional—you may decide that a map of a lesson plan about open spaces makes the most sense to you.

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 ‘itineraries’ for participating this week. See the ways to Connect and Resources below for more!

WANDER

  • Geolocate yourself on the Write Out community map.
  • Conduct an online search for a map to examine and think about. Use this map tool on the National Park Service website to find a park for example! (Also see #findyourpark for more.)
  • Use the National Park Service or National Geographic map apps to explore from wherever you are, and then write out what you found.
  • Map your professional development journey as an educator, writing project member, or park ranger.
  • Try another idea via these Map-spirations!

TREK

Photo Alex von Kleydorff. 06-11-11

  • Map out the structure and work of your Writing Project site or your National Park site (maybe you need some map-spiration for this?)
  • Take part in CLMOOC’s July Doodle Month, with daily drawing prompts to inspire your creative side and an overall a theme of making maps (share by tagging your doodle with both #clmooc and #writeout)
  • Walk a space for 20 minutes, stop and write (personal and/or professional reflections) for 10 minutes; walk 20 more minutes, write for 10 minutes, etc. Explore what emerges.
  • Document and share student project-based learning.
  • Try some Community Mapping via Jane Goodall’s Roots and Shoots program.
  • Perhaps you decide to use your words as maps. Get inspired with this post: Poems As Maps.
  • Or maybe it’s more computational? Check out this idea about creating Math Trails.
  • Did we mention? We’d love you to Geolocate Yourself along the way!

CAMP OVERNIGHT

  • Map out forgotten voices or stories of historical or educational sites.
  • Create a visual timeline of a historic event or historic site.
  • Design a digital story based on media (image, audio, etc.) that is centered on public space, National Parks, historic sites, writing, learning or some related topic.
  • Use StorymapJS from the Knight Foundation to make a map that tells a story
  • Create a concept map or map of human connections.
  • Use VR creation tools (maybe Social VR if you have Android; or Google Street View app) to make maps for others to interact with and engage.
  • As a campers we bet you could use some map-spiration.
  • And, of course, don’t forget to Geolocate Yourself too!

Connect

There is many ways to connect here at Write Out! You can connect via our live events, via social media, at Writeout.nwp.org, by connecting your own blog, and even face-to-face. Learn more ›

Resources

If you haven’t found what you need already, we have gathered some map-spirations and a set of place-based learning and writing resources. Find more ›

And here’s a little extra inspiration from our colleagues in Nebraska:

Good luck with your journeys and see you on the map!

In connected (and geolocated) solidarity,
The Write Out Team

Images credits:
* finding balance by woodleywonderworks, CC BY 2.0
* map remix by Kristin Lessard, map source in public domain
* Wander image via Greetings from East LA project
* Trek image via Weir Farm National Historic Site
* Overnight image via Homestead National Monument