Place-Based Learning with the National Writing Project

Write 0ut 2021: Palettes, Storyboards, and Cadences

Write Out (#writeout) is a free two-week event, organized as a series of online activities where educators, students, and the public are invited to explore national parks and other public spaces to connect and learn through place-based writing and sharing. The theme of this year’s event is Palettes, Storyboards, and Cadences and will run from October 10-24, 2021 and includes the National Day of Writing on October 20th. 

Write Out encourages all participants to get outdoors, write, create, reflect, share, and connect with one another on and offline. To support participation, Write Out will gather together writing/making prompts, activities, and events to  support work in the classroom, in a park and/or at home with your family. Your time commitment and level of participation in Write Out is flexible; you can use any of the content created in your own way, at your own pace, for and with  your own community – you are also welcome to create your own!

Sign up now to receive links and information to support your planning and participation; we will be sending available content and information in the late summer/early fall.

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

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 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!


  • 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!


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!


  • 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!


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


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