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The Northern California Writing Project is a professional development organization devoted to improving the teaching of writing in our service region.

CIVIC ENGAGEMENT FOR YOUTH: Creating a Culture of Argument (Lessons 1-4)

CIVIC ENGAGEMENT FOR YOUTH: Creating a Culture of Argument (Lessons 1-4)

SESSION 1: Creating a Culture of Argument

(45-50 minutes)

Writing into the Day: Quicklist Strategy (10-15 minutes)
After distributing student writer’s notebooks, ask students to number 1-10 on the first page. (One line per # is fine, but allow students to number their paper however they would like.) Tell them to write their responses to the following prompts:

1. Identify two reasons for attending “Civic Engagement for Youth”
2.
3. Identify two things you hope to get out of this experience.
4.
5. Identify two ways you feel minimized in school, work or your personal life
6.
7. Identify two issues in your local community (school, town, county) that concern you.
8.
9. Identify two regional, national or global issues that concern you.
10.

Facilitators should model this activity as a springboard into a group discussion. This is the initial activity to begin building a community within the space and is essential in future sessions and activities.

Understanding & Interpreting Video Text (10-15 minutes)

Distribute TED Talk Worksheet and explain to students that we will be watching a short TED Talk entitled, “What adults can learn from kids.” by Adora Svitak.  Use the worksheet to facilitate a collaborative conversation to help students complete any incomplete parts of the worksheet and reflect on the meaning and application of main ideas expressed in the TED Talk. (*NOTE:  Depending on the age and skill level of students, stop video strategically to ensure students are capturing information necessary to complete the TED Talk Worksheet.)

Writing a Reflection (5-10 minutes)

Ask students to turn to a clean page in their writer’s notebook and respond to the following prompt:

Consider your responses to the Writing into the Day, the video we watched and our conversations today and complete the following sentence: I hope this experience will help me …


SESSION 2: Identify Arguments and Entering the Conversation
(45-50 minutes)

Writing into the Day (5-7 minutes)
What is your gut reaction to the phrase “civic engagement”? What do you think it means? Give an example or two of civic engagement.

Collaborative Conversations (7-10 minutes)
Create a T-chart comparing the rural experience to the urban experience. Turn the next clean page in your writer’s notebook and make a T-chart, as indicated. Make a list of experiences unique to rural communities and/or urban experiences. Think about available opportunities, people and groups you encounter, environment, hobbies and activities you participate in.

     Rural Experiences           Urban Experiences     
 

Share your list with the whole group to create a group T-chart.

Evaluating Communities and Pinpointing Arguments (20-25 minutes)
Break into groups of 2-3 by community. Each group will create a poster representing your community. Each poster must include:

  • A map of your community
  • Assets of your community (things you love about your community).
  • Needs of your community (things to be fixed in your community)
  • Obstacles to progress (why is change/progress complicated)
  • Essentials for Outsiders (what do you want people to know about your community)

Posters should be creative, colorful, and aesthetically pleasing.

Sharing Your Knowledge (8-15 minutes)
Each group will place their poster on the designated wall and prepare to share/explain their poster to the rest of the group.


SESSION 3: Identifying Arguments and Entering the Conversation
(40-50 minutes)

Writing into the Day (5-7)
Consider the posters created in the previous session. Make a claim about the top three assets and the top three needs. Explain your choices with specific examples.

Deep Dive into Assets and Needs (5-7 minutes)
In groups of 2-3, choose an asset or a need to explore. In your group create a list of 5-6 must see ideas to share with the public. Whole group share to create a class list and prioritize top three assets and top three needs.

Mini-Lesson: Understanding Copyright and Intellectual Property

  • Teacher will review the terms copyright, fair use, intellectual property, and plagiarism with students.
  • Share the Photos for Class search engine with students and explain this may be a good place to start an image search because it guarantees images with be school appropriate and much of the citation work is already done.
  • Introduce students to the Purdue OWL and encourage them to reference this online resource if they need help with citations.

Going Public with Youth Voices (20-25 minutes)
Once the group list is confirmed, work together to identify images from the internet (Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc) that represent the ideas on your list. Capture the images and copy them into a Google Slide Deck. (Be sure to correctly cite the images you utilize in your slide deck.) Add a brief explanation to each slide. Student Model of the Assets/Needs Slideshow.


SESSION 4: Identifying Arguments and Joining the Conversation
(40-50 minutes)

Writing into the Day (7-10 minutes)
Review the slideshow created for your community — in preparation for sharing your slideshow with your peers, make a list of key points relative to the identified assets and needs.

Presenting Your Arguments (25-30 minutes)
Each slideshow created highlights key arguments relative to the community identified. Creators of each slideshow will present their slideshow and talk through discoveries, ideas, and questions with the rest of the group. Group members will capture notes from the slideshow and verbal presentations on the “Community Assets/Needs Slideshow Notecatcher” provided.

Writing a Reflection (7-10 minutes)
In your Writer’s Notebook, respond to the following prompt:

Review the completed Community Assets/Needs Slideshow Notecatcher and identify any patterns that have emerged. Are there similarities that cross community boundaries? Are certain assets/needs unique to communities? Which assets and needs do you want to know more about?


STANDARDS ADDRESSED: