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October 7, 2013

Speaking of handbooks, the Y4Y team recently had the pleasure of participating in the Multistate Conference in Indianapolis, IN where we heard excellent examples from the field of 21st CCLC. One middle school educator shared with us a great idea for creating student handbooks for incoming sixth grades: let the experts do it – the 7th and 8th graders!

Her veteran middle school students made a project out of creating informative and engaging handbooks that were then distributed to incoming sixth grade students at orientation. Who better to create a handbook on navigating the waters of middle school than the students themselves?

Thanks for sharing your ideas with us, and please keep them coming!  



July 22, 2013

In case you missed it, the U.S. Department of Education has officially unveiled an exciting new guide to Civic Learning and Engagement on the Y4Y portal! Civic learning and engagement affords students the opportunity to make a real difference in the world through collaborative projects that address real-life issues that concern them. Empower your students to be engaged members of their community, and to know that their opinions and ideas matter. Get started with a civic learning project now, and the youth in your program will be learning by doing, while gaining 21st Century skills and becoming good citizens.

You’ll find the new Civic Learning and Engagement content integrated into the Project-Based Learning module, because when it comes to hands-on learning one of the best examples is civic engagement. Come visit the Learn section of the Project-Based Learning module to see how your program can incorporate practical strategies that draw students into becoming more active and involved in their communities, all while gaining academic and 21st century skills.

Get staff on board with the new content by checking out the Trainings To Go and Training Starters related to Civic Learning and Engagement, and get started with Civic Learning and Engagement activities and projects using the specially designed planning and implementation documents in Tools.

Stay tuned for more guidance from the Y4Y team on this exciting topic! In the meantime, if you have any Civic Learning and Engagement examples or ideas you’d like to share, you can post them to the Discussion Boards.  



May 3, 2013

In the summer it is even more important than during the school year to “complement, not replicate” school-day learning. What does that look like? Take a look at the Complementing vs. Replicating tool for some ideas to spark your creativity as you plan for summer. Then think about how those strategies for engaging youth interest can be beneficial to your program, to the youth you serve, and to your community.

While you’re thinking about how to most effectively “complement, not replicate,” try one of the challenges on Y4Y. What would you say to encourage a staff member to try a dynamic, motivating activity instead of a worksheet? How could the math, literacy, science, and history concepts typed out on a worksheet be transformed into fun summer activities?



April 19, 2013

One critical way to support program families is to provide opportunities for parents and other family members to gain useful skills for their own professional advancement and personal growth. Check out this list of Adult Development Activities in the Learn / Family Involvement section of Y4Y. Do you see a need for any of these initiatives or similar ones in your program families?

By starting an English as a Second Language class or hosting parenting classes, everyone wins. Families benefit from their new skills, their children receive more support because parents may feel more confident and prepared to provide it, and your program reaps the rewards of establishing stronger bonds among families and between the families and your staff.

Remember, too, that if offering a GED course or a résumé-writing workshop is beyond the capacity of your small staff, you can always be connectors.



March 8, 2013

As you mouse over the Learn tab at the top of the Y4Y homepage, you’ll see the five current content modules pop up. There’s a separate Learn section for each one, and all are organized in the same way.

First, there’s an Introduction, which includes the background information and content that you were used to seeing in the Courses of the old Y4Y. This is a great place to start for anyone who is new to a topic or looking for a comprehensive summary about a topic. In the next part, Implementation, you’ll see the items that used to be part of the Coaching Modules. The examples and tips provided here allow you to apply what you learned in the Introduction and think more concretely about your own program, staff, and youth.

To work more closely with staff, the Coaching My Staff component gives you some content-specific training tips and materials. Finally, there’s a link to Tools, where you can find handouts to use for program planning and activities.