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New or Returning to Youth Voices? What's exciting, worrying, delighting, or frustrating you?

Please use this task to talk about your teaching and your students. Where is the fit between your students' learning and Youth Voices?

  • What have you noticed?
  • What are you dreaming to make happen?
  • What connections do you see you and your students making with other people and information?
  • What are you doing that is awesome?

Task Discussion

  • Amal   March 17, 2012, 10:56 a.m.

    My tenth graders are, for the most part, pretty excited about Youth Voices.  They enjoy writing posts based on their genuine inquiry questions, writing reviews of things they enjoy, and seeking comments from others about the things that occupy their minds.  They come to me regularly with potential topics and ideas, and I encourage them to keep a running list of questions they would like to consider for more information.

    I am including commenting as a part of their regular classwork and homework grades, and students are enjoying reading one another's posts, receiving feedback on their writing from non-teachers, and seeiing what teenagers they do not already know are up to. 

    One thing that is working extremely well in my classroom is the format of the Guides for the different posting options.  My weaker students rely very heavily on them, while my stronger students are able to deviate from the structure a little bit to explore their own writing voice and style.

    I am interested in using YV as part of an extended research paper, but have never actually taught a research paper, and certainly never through YV.  I would love feedback and suggestions from anyone who has experience or ideas.

    I'm also working to streamline my gradebook (using PowerSchool) to fairly assess my students' writing. With them writing more than I can ever physically grade, I am having to strike a balance between quantity of writing and quality, and find a way to measure it with numbers and percentages.  This semester is certainly a trial run for that, and I hope to hammer out a system that works for my classroom that can be used with next year's course.

    I have received a lot of positive feedback from my administration, and their support has been extremely helpful.  Having semi-regular computer and internet access has been critical to making this work in my classroom.

  • Carla Cherry   March 17, 2012, 11:02 a.m.
    In Reply To:   Amal   March 17, 2012, 10:56 a.m.

    Hi Amal,

    I recently began having my students to write research papers. One project that you might consider is having them do an I-Search paper, whereby they select a topic of interest to them, do research, and then write what amounts to a personalized research paper. They not only are doing something of personal interest and provides them with some independence, but they can also learn how to paraphrase, quote properly, take notes, create source cards, cite sources, and structure a research paper. There are number of great online sources to guide you in this process. It was pretty successful for my students, most of whom are reluctant readers and writers. Good luck!


  • Grace Raffaele   March 20, 2012, 1:01 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Amal   March 17, 2012, 10:56 a.m.


    I am struck by your comment: "They enjoy writing posts based on their genuine inquiry questions, writing reviews of things they enjoy, and seeking comments from others about the things that occupy their minds." It makes me see how Youth Voices and the work you are doing puts the student IN the work. The pairings of your words "genuine and inquiry", "reviews and enjoy", "comments and minds" make that so clear!

    I agree that the commenting students do is as important as the postings. It seems to matter to them what they say and how they say it. What more could we ask of student writers??!!

    Like Carla, I agree that an I-Search paper has great potential in this environment. One of the key components is a journal that students keep about the process of doing the research as they do it. Ii would want to think about how or if this would be best posted on Youth Voices or elsewhere, but it is a layer to doing research that enriches and deepens the experience. My first thought is that sharing this process with peers can't help but be good!

    I have enjoyed reading your students' postings and comments! Thank you for bringing their voices to this community!


  • Harry B   June 19, 2012, 9:18 p.m.
    In Reply To:   Carla Cherry   March 17, 2012, 11:02 a.m.

    We just used P2PU to have students learn how to write grants taking the place of research papers, tey did more research with the grant process than any other!    :)  


    It was exciting to see them get into the grant wiriting and community service sector, while accompishing the goals of a reserach paper!

  • kimarlee   March 17, 2012, 10:56 a.m.

    I talk about the metaphorical "man" a lot in my classes. We read a book and I ask my kids, "how is "the man" trying to bring down Grendel/Kino/Snowball, ect (depending on what book we're reading at the present moment and time)?" You know how it goes - when teaching at a high needs, low income school, students are usually so detached from the real life implications of literature that I make it my second job to bring forth the social impact of each literary work we study. 

    I am saddened to report that "the man" has seriously, completely hinder my chances at getting my students onto YouthVoices. My school is on the SINI list for the 2nd year in a row, and the State Quality Review was coming in the end of Feburary. My principal absolutely refused for any type of online writing or laptop work for a solid month in preparation of the SQR and once it was over, there was literally a rush of teachers all clamoring to get laptops into their classroom. The waiting list for two laptop carts of 24 laptops each is literally jammed up until next month -- April 25th to be exact. How much work I can actually get done with my students on YouthVoices remains a mystery that I am currently trying to figure out. 

  • Grace Raffaele   March 20, 2012, 1:15 p.m.
    In Reply To:   kimarlee   March 17, 2012, 10:56 a.m.


    I feel your pain! My school is also on the SINI list and will have an SQR in May - after we geared up for one in February which was postponed at the last minute by the reviewer!

    I wonder if sharing Youth Voices with your Principal to show her some of the kinds of things students and teachers are doing there might help. I could help you pinpoint specific Missions or Channel postings to speak to her areas of concern. You might then be able to build it into your curriculum for next year and get a committment for regular laptop use.  In the meantime, maybe you could find a few students who would be interested in trying it out as an independent project or after school activity?

    I can understand how frustrating access to the equipment must be. Hopefully, as the SQR moves into the past, and end of year assessments approach, teachers may use the laptops less and offer you a small window of opportunity. Is there one class you might want to enter as members now just in case it becomes possible? Then the administrative stuff will be out of the way and you will be ready to go.

    Hang in there - and thank you for continuing to ask questions and think about the possibilities. These help all of us regardless of what stage we are in.


  • Harry B   June 19, 2012, 9:22 p.m.
    In Reply To:   kimarlee   March 17, 2012, 10:56 a.m.

    We are looking for writers on an intrnational level for our magazine Repentino!  


    We have a staff of 24 youth writers, ad we work together as editors, and this might be a good interctive experience for them?  


    Harry Brake

    Former Endless Mountains Writing Project member!


  • Grace Raffaele   March 17, 2012, 10:53 a.m.

    Welcome, everybody! It will be great to hear your thoughts and figure out how we can learn from each other.  Grace