Teacher Resources

 

We are delighted you are interested in joining us.  You will find a number of resources here, which we have organized into 4 areas for you to browse through.

1. The platform

Below you will find more details about the platform we use to connect kids, how to get on the platform, and what tools are available. Basically, we use a learning management system (LMS) through the University of California at Berkeley.

2. The teacher community

Teachers can connect in the W4C community or via email group. There are also weekly newsletters, social media channels, and various professional development opportunities. Educators can opt in as much as they would like.

3. The curriculum

There are a number of curricular materials below as well as in the W4C community. We will continue to develop materials and encourage teachers to do so as well. We also want to feature multiple languages on the site and in materials.

4. Getting involved

We have listed ways to get started below. If you know you want to be involved, you can take a brief intake survey to tell us more about your context. We would also like all educators to read the consent form (participation is optional).

1. THE PLATFORM 


Missions
Each week we will issue a weekly mission, asking students to engage in some activity on W4C. These will be fun and quick activities designed to get students interacting and practicing 21st century writing and digital citizenship skills. We realize that not everyone will do every mission, and schools will have testing and breaks, so our goal is for people to engage as often as is feasible. Teachers should submit ideas for missions and feel free to issue additional missions to students (or have them go back and do earlier missions!).
Projects
Projects can be as simple or elaborate as teachers want. We offer a project bank of ideas below to model the kinds of projects we imagine will be generative in helping students write for change. In the example projects, we take students through an inquiry to action cycle, culminating in reflection, with checkpoints for W4C feedback and collaboration along the way. Some teachers have ‘real world’ projects that involve the students taking action in different communities. We would like teachers/students update the community on those projects regularly.
Collaborations
One of the goals of the network is to encourage cross-site collaboration, especially using W4C tools. We will run a site-wide collaboration once each quarter, and partners are welcome to jump in. We can also help partner together people interested in doing similar projects, getting online at the same time, or having a live video conference. We encourage people to organize their own exchanges or brainstorm ideas for collaboration (see some starter ideas in the section below). There is a button that members can toggle on and off when they are ‘Looking for Collaborators’.
Assets
An asset is a piece of work posted in W4C, which then gets displayed in the Asset Library (see next item). An asset can be a link to something (a video, a webpage) or an upload (a document or media file)–see image for example. Ideally, assets should be tagged with relevant hashtags (e.g., #Mission1) and include descriptions, to make searching and finding assets easier. At the bottom of each asset is an activity timeline to see who has interacted with the asset and how it has moved across the community.
Asset Library
 Assets will appear as thumbnails in the library and can be remixed into any whiteboard (see image below). We think of the asset library as the heart of the community. It is very easy to search by hashtag, name, or group to find assets.
Whiteboards
Whiteboards are collaborative composing spaces that act like blank canvases for your work. You can include text, image, video, drawing, other assets, etc. Whiteboards are private, and users can invite select members to collaborate (there is a chat function in each whiteboard) or see what is going on (like inviting their teachers). When users publish a whiteboard, it gets saved it to the Asset Library.
Impact Studio
The Impact Studio involves a set of tools to help students see the impact of their work on the community as well as to see how others’ work has impacted them. We will be adding tools to the Impact Studio, but currently we have three tools available: Activity Timeline, Contributions Tracker, and Top Assets. We encourage students and teacher to work these data points into their writing process (see curriculum below for ideas about how to do this).

2. THE TEACHER COMMUNITY


We have a number of resources for teachers, but our hope is that educators create much of the content on the site. Some of our goals are:

  1. To develop remixable curriculum for any teacher to download and use via our public website, including ideas for projects, collaborations, and classroom activities.
  2. To create resources for other teachers who want to engage in virtual and cross-cultural exchanges (on any platform). This includes professional development resources and webinars.
  3. To create a thriving teacher community for sharing and discussion. We will have regular newsletters, an email group, and a private area of the W4C platform for teachers.

3. THE CURRICULUM


Missions
Each week the community issues a MISSION. Missions are short, locally-focused activities that each member of the community should do. Missions are designed for two purposes: 1) to help people learn about one another and their local cultures; and 2) to build students’ writing and cross-cultural communication skills. Everyone in the community should participate in the weekly missions (including teachers, mentors, and students). Members will post their missions in the Asset Library, with the relevant hashtag. Everyone begins with Mission Zero (#mission0), the onboarding mission that will help students generate content and learn about the site. You can download a pdf copy of this Mission0 here – and all missions are also archived on the community platform.

The Guide To Missions provides an overview of a sequence of missions, each of which builds on the previous one but can also stand alone. This sequence revolves around ideas of ‘home’, which should raise important cultural, national, and economic questions that teachers can explore.

Projects
Many teachers already have students engage in project-based learning in their classrooms, and we encourage them to use or adapt those existing projects. Teachers can also use example projects from our Project Bank or create new projects for the W4C community alone or with other W4C educators. Projects can be any length and vary in depth and complexity, depending on the needs of the teacher/group.

Project Bank

Our example projects in the Project Bank model an inquiry-to-action cycle that includes four built-in check in points (Inquiry-Make-Act-Reflect). We encourage teachers to incorporate these check in points in their projects when possible – it’s helpful not to have students working only offline and sharing final products but getting feedback and updating the community along the way.

You can download the full curriculum of our Public Space Project and our Story Project here.

Examples of Student Projects

People regularly ask for examples of student work. Our goal is to start pushing out student work to more public venues, including a gallery on our website and different social media channels. We will begin to curate opportunities for students to publish work in the world – like contests, conferences, and online publications. Here are a few examples of different kinds of projects young people have created in the past.

 

Collaborations
COLLABORATIONS are more formal opportunities for people to come together from across the community to work on something jointly (members will always be collaborating informally on the network).

One of our ongoing Collaborations will be a collaborative newsletter and blog that all of the sites will help to maintain. Every week or so, sites will contribute some writing, video, audio, and/or images to the newsletter to give a peek into what is happening in each place. We will also spotlight cool work and feature more information about each site as weeks go by (this newsletter will be pushed out the community regularly and archived on the site).

A second collaboration beginning in January will take the form of mentoring relationships between students and undergraduates at Berkeley. These mentors can support young people’s writing and projects as well as be a sounding board for all kinds of things (e.g., what college in the U.S. is like, how to study, hobbies and cultural interests, etc.).

Other collaborations between sites and individuals may take the form of a joint project (e.g., a collaborative whiteboard or joint video) or could involve exchanges (either person-to-person or group-to-group). Teachers can participate in as many or as few of these collaborations as desired, organizing a collaboration with others or joining collaborations in progress (these will be announced in the site newsletter). Here are just a few ideas of collaborations we can help organize.

 

Writer’s Corner
Students can always post any ongoing or independent writing projects they are working on in the Writer’s Corner. This is a central place for people to find stories, engage with writing in progress, share new ideas, and get feedback. This activity is less organized by adults and more driven by young people. As a category in the asset library, the Writer’s Corner is a space for writers to post their writing – we hope members shape this space into whatever they want it to be!

W4C Goals

The Write4Change project is aimed at helping young people to think about themselves as change agents across local and global contexts. It will help them see connections between SELF-COMMUNITY-WORLD as they work to become more effective and impactful writers and global citizens. We have developed flexible curriculum designed to address these areas by helping students learn more about:

1 ) WRITING – including digital and online writing

a) Giving and taking feedback on writing

b) Working collaboratively with audiences

c) Taking into account the impact of writing (e.g., designing work for impact, measuring impact)

d) Revising work based on feedback and analysis

2) GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP – including cross-cultural communication 

a) Listening to others respectfully and openly

b) Managing differences (of opinion, of beliefs, of languages, of culture) in ethical and caring ways

c) Engaging in sustained and meaningful dialogue

d) Developing understanding of self (local) in relation to others (global)

4. GETTING INVOLVED


If you want to know more about the project, please send us an email. We are happy to answer questions or schedule a call to talk more.

If you know you are interested in joining, we ask you to do two things – and we will be in touch with you.

  1. Fill in our teacher intake survey – these are a few questions to help us get to know more about your context and what group of students you want to get on the network.
  2. Look through our teacher consent form. This is not obligatory, so you can choose to opt out. (Of course, you may choose to opt in and out whenever you want.) You can read more about the research project on the main page of the website and in more detail in the handout below.

We thought we’d also list a few resources here that might help answer questions.

  • This is a ‘W4C Teacher Guide‘ document we will send to help you figure out what to do first. There are hyperlinks in the pdf that will help you find some of the key materials for getting students into the community/project.
  • This W4C Flyer about the program might be useful.
  • Here is a W4C Brochure that you can share with parents and administrators.
  • Here is a one-page overview of the research project, in case you want to know more details about what we are studying.