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Exploring Missions, Describing a Work, Creating Missions


Youth Voices Study Group
Saturday April 21, 2012

Three sites where you’ll need to be registered and logged in to today:


1. Overview:
Here are some Missions to look at:

  • Photographable Question
  • Answer “Who Am I” with Four Photos
  • Interactive Ethical Story Using Scratch
  • Black Boy
  • Annotating Together: Articles About the Shooting of Trayvon martin
  • Magnifying the Universe
  • Annotating Together: Toxic Cosmetics

Look around and notice from 2 perspectives:
Set up a page in your notebook - or an electronic page of your choice that can have 2 sections. Each section will represent a different perspective - one, the TEACHER and one, the STUDENT.
• In one section you will record your reactions as a TEACHER or your thoughts about what the teacher’s intentions were in creating this Mission
• In another section you will record what you notice about the STUDENT responses or how you imagine a student might react or what they might contribute to this mission.


2. One Teacher’s Mission: Relevant and Reliable Research

Read student posts and comments

3. Close-up on Student Writing

Descriptive Review of Writing

Amal’s Question: How do students decide to take liberty/freedom in written expression vs. following models and prescribed guidelines?

"Descriptive Review of Children’s Works:  Guidelines for Describing Written Works," adapted from guidelines for Prospect Fall Conference, 2008 by Patricia Carini, Mary Hebron, and Betsy Wice

Reflection on a word: to take liberty/freedom

Reading aloud: We’ll read What causes children to become bullies on the long run? by Zulema aloud in its entirety, with different readers for different sections.

Overall impressions of the piece: First impressions of the piece.

The next step is to read a selection aloud, sentence by sentence, with descriptive, non-evaluative commentary that proceeds in rounds.  It is always an option to pass.

Descriptive rounds:

Descriptive Round 1:  Please read a sentence and then to say what it says to you – not paraphrasing but saying over in your own words what is happening.

Each reader can return to passages already read or proceed to the next.  The chair may start with a reader who has experience with the process or the chair may take the role of first reader.

Subsequent Rounds: Description can be of longer passages and/or can make connections among passages.  As the description unfolds, pulling forward compositional features (sentence length, construction, recurrent phrasing, tempo, etc.) is possible as well as identification of imagery and subtleties of meaning.

Concluding Round: On the strength of what has been described in prior rounds, the final round gives particular attention to the writer‟s presence in the work (preferences, choices, perspective, hand).

Final integrative restatement and teacher’s question:
The group restates motifs, stylistic elements, imagery, compositional features, themes, across the rounds of description, concluding with the child’s presence in the work.

Amal will be asked to reflect on what she is thinking now about her question: How do students decide to take liberty/freedom in written expression vs. following models and prescribed guidelines?

4. Construct a Mission
Think of a Mission that might work for your class and your students even if you cannot actually do it with them yet.
Share to the group.

Reflective Postings on P2P

What can be done before school ends?
Our hope was that everyone would find a way to participate in this work in some way. Though hurdles have arisen... how might people see themselves into this work this year?

1. What makes sense for what you are doing now?

2. What aspect of Youth Voices could you try out with students?

What have we learned about Youth Voices to help us move forward?

1. What makes it work?


2. What gets in the way?

Group Discussion...


Task Discussion

  • Tricia Clarke   April 21, 2012, 10:32 a.m.

    2. Mission: Answer "Who Am I" with Four Photos

    (a) Teacher's Lens: I think this Mission helps students to do what they do naturally--talk about themselves--but here they have the opportunity to shape their thoughts and ideas.  By limiting the assignment to only four photos helps students to think carefully about which photos will represent themselves accurately, or help them pose questions about themselves and further explore who they are.  The creativity is endless.

    (b) Student's Lens: I am excited to complete this assignment.  I love talking about myself and sharing who I am with others.  I also enjoy graphics in all its forms and this assignment helps me to talk about who I am in pictures instead of words.  

  • Tricia Clarke   April 21, 2012, 10:23 a.m.

    Comments on Missions:

    1. Photographable Questions:

    (a) Teacher's lens (My reactions as a teacher to this Mission and/or what I think the teacher's intentions were): I think the teacher's intentions were to provide a different medium through which students could interact with their world.  This Mission taps into students' natural inclination to click away at the world using readily available technology in the form of smartphones where video and photography is only a click away. Students can channel this eagerness to engage the world through photos into a forum for critically thinking about the world.  

    (b) Student's lens (How I imagine a student might react to this mission): As a student, this Mission helps me to interact with the world as a researcher and scholar.  I take lots of pictures of nature, my friends, and family and random things.  Fulfilling the requirements of this Mission, though, help me to interpret the pictures in a different way--not just as fun, but as a way to help me discover new things about the world, answering my questions about the world along the way, and asking new questions, too.