NWP is getting ready to launch a new youth publishing opportunity connected to the PBS documentary American Creed (broadcast nationally February 27 and streaming free of charge starting February 28 at www.pbs.org/americancreed). Through stories set in big cities, small towns, and rural areas around the country, American Creed wrestles with key challenges facing American youth today, including creating economic opportunity and finding ways to meaningfully participate in civic life. The film encourages youth to explore questions like “What should America’s national ideals be?” and “How do we close the gap between ideals and reality?” American Creed is co-produced by Citizen Film and WTTW.
You and the youth you work with are invited to add your voice to the conversation about American Creed. Bring the film to your classroom or learning center, and support young people in responding through writing, art, and media. Teens (13+) and young adults are invited to share their responses on the National Writing Project’s American Creed youth publishing site (also coming February 27).
“I think the big thing is don’t be afraid to fail,” Foles said. “In our society today, with Instagram and Twitter, it’s a highlight. It’s all the good things. When you look at it, you have a bad day, you think your life isn’t as good, you’re failing. Failure is a part of life. It’s a part of building character and growing. Without failure, who would you be? I wouldn’t be up here if I hadn’t fallen thousands of times, made mistakes. We all are human. We all have weaknesses. Just being able to share that and be transparent.
“I know when people speak and share they’re weaknesses, I listen. Because I can (relate). I’m not perfect. I’m not Superman. We might be in the NFL and we might have just won the Super Bowl, but we all have daily struggles…. I think when you look at a struggle in your life, just know that it’s an opportunity for your character to grow.”
Here’s the writing prompt I’m using with it today:
What does Nick Foles say about failure? What does he say about comparing yourself to others? To what extent do you agree with what he or she is saying? To support your opinion, be sure to include specific examples drawn from your own experience, your observations of others, or any of your readings.
However, I realized I forgot to include the “writing frame” including sentence starters that I gave my students to use as a guide. You can download it here. The frame can easily be modified for other subjects. Let me know how you think I can make it better! I did not put an enormous amount of thought or time into it, but it seemed to work well.
While I’m at it, I thought readers might also be interested in a writing frame that I have my same Geography students complete as a unit review. Again, it’s not something I spent a lot of time creating, but it, too, seems to work okay.
Google appears to be testing a new tool for people to report and publish local news stories, called Bulletin.
A website first spotted online Thursday describes Bulletin as “an app for contributing hyperlocal stories about your community, for your community, right from your phone.” It’s designed to make it “effortless” to tell “the stories that aren’t being told” via your smartphone. It’s not just for techie early adopters: “If you are comfortable taking photos or sending messages, you can create a Bulletin story!”
If they make it available to everybody, it seems to me that it could have great potential!
You can find the transcript at that link, and I’m embedding the video at the bottom of this post.
I’ve developed this prompt that I’ll give students after they read and watch the video:
What does Akhil Sharma say about generosity and belonging? Do you agree with what Sharma is saying? To support your opinion you may use examples from your own experiences, your observations of others, and anything you have read, including Sharma’s essay.
Commaful lets you simply and easily create online slideshows of your writing, with the text accompanied by easily search-for and selected photos, videos or GIFs. Then, you can link to or embed your creation.
It doesn’t have music, unlike Adobe Spark, and the photo selection does not appear to be as robust. However, Commaful does have one huge advantage over Adobe Spark – you can create your stories without registering or logging-in. That is indeed a huge advantage, as any teacher will tell you.
Of course, another disadvantage is it’s unclear what kind of standards are maintained for Commaful’s content. I didn’t see anything inappropriate in a quick search, but who knows?
One other minor inconvenience with Commaful – after I embedded by five second creation below (it’s only two slides, but you can make ones with many, many more) and clicked on it here, I got a pop-up inviting me to register at the site to read stories. However, if you click it to go away, you can then continue to read the embedded story.