Place-Based Learning with the National Writing Project

WriteOut

Thank You And Final Reflections, Write Out 2019

Sometimes, we plant seeds and wait for flowers to bloom. Write Out is a bit like that. Two weeks of activities and events, with the National Day on Writing right at the center of it all, can arrive like a stiff prairie wind, and then, before you know it, it’s over. 

However, like those seeds, Write Out is not over. We’re merely in a moment of pause.

Writing out in Michigan, Oakland Writing Project.

What we hope is that Write Out activities and collaborations have sparked something for you and for your students and for your park, and that even if you were unable to participate over the last two weeks, there are seeds you can gather to plant at some later date.

This was the second year of Write Out, and we saw flowers blooming all over the place — from a multitude of live events, to single tweets using the #writeout hashtag, to sharing in video chats and Twitter chats, to photographs on Instagram and more. We collaborated in annotated documents, in poetry, in exploring our creativity, and beyond. This is what Write Out is all about, and we are grateful and thankful that you were along for the journey.

Sharing writing at Turtle Mountain, Red River Valley Writing Project in North Dakota.

And while our official ‘end date’ for Write Out 2019 is today, Write Out continues into the future. We invite you to continue to be inspired by stories created and shared, use the resources curated on the Write Out website, build upon the connections made during the past two weeks, and stay involved with the Write Out community through work with the National Writing Project and National Park Service.

Keep Planting Those Seeds!

Here are some of the youth creations/creating from this past week:

#WhyIWrite from students in Ohio.
Old House map from Poughkeepsie, New York.
Kids constructing stories at the Thomas Edison National Historical Park in New Jersey.
Doodle collages from students in western Massachusetts
Students in Providence Rhode Island interpreting stories of transportation, social life, environmental pollutions, and manufacturing in the Blackstone River Valley National Historic Park.
Students creating poetry at the library in Kansas City.

More to inspire us all to #WriteOut:

Connecticut Writing Project at the Weir Farm National Historic Site.

Explore stories and stay connected via social media at Write Out Tumblr, Write Out Flipgrid, Write Out Padlet, Write Out Facebook Group, and #writeout

Find your nearest National Park or Writing Project site and get involved!

Help build a shared collaborative database of primary source sites for exploring stories and place and history for #writeout.

View a curation of the second week’s Twitter Chat and respond to any of the threads and questions

Participate in comment discussions related to the video chat about Global and Local places with author Amy Price Azano using Vialogues

Add a poem to the collaborative Write Out Small Poems/ Haiku Book

If you are attending NCTE, be sure to participate in the Writing Marathon at Fort McHenry National Monument on Saturday, November 23 from 1:00-3:00 p.m. Register here!

Listen to a bit of the Collaborative Where We’re From (audio version) … Teachers and students from across the country contributed their words and/or their voices to this mix; check it out.

And finally, plan now for a National Day on Writing activity for next year, using Write Out 2019 resources as inspiration. 

Good luck with your journeys and discoveries! We look forward to reconnecting with you via #writeout next October.

— The Write Out Team

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