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December 9, 2013

Last month the Y4Y team had the opportunity to collaborate with 21st CCLC grantees from Maryland around promising practices for aligning programming with school day learning. Grantees brainstormed and shared their ideas for creatively embedding learning standards in their activities. Programs that already had an academic focus found strategies for boosting the development of 21st Century skills, including one STEM-focused program that turned students' love of talking into a public speaking exercise on the topic of college and career readiness.

Thanks to all of the programs that shared their ideas with us, and we encourage you to keep sharing with the Y4Y user community in the Discussion Boards!  



November 6, 2013

As we travel around the country at the request of States and grantees (and under the guidance of the U.S. Department of Education of course!), the Y4Y team often hears exciting recommendations from the field. Recently we were at the Fall Meeting of Delaware 21st CCLC grantees in Newark, DE, and heard a great idea from Rob.

He facilitated a project that presented small teams of students with a challenge: you are stranded on a desert island and must overcome various obstacles to survive. The goal of the project is to help students develop various skills, from problem-solving to collaboration. Rob also used this project to help students work on their writing skills. He presented the teams with challenges and asked them to create journal entries addressing how they would solve the problem. Rob then read their entries and responded each week with new hypothetical disasters for the individual teams to overcome.

Rob shared this idea with other grantees who loved the concept and added suggestions for extensions. For example, ask students to create artwork or comics narrating their survival. Or ask students to solve puzzles as part of their plan for survival (e.g., if students say they will fish for food, ask them to create a fishing pole from specific limited materials) and create written instructions.

Thank you to Rob and all the Delaware grantees for sharing your excellent ideas! We hope everyone will continue sharing their experiences and seeking advice from peers on the Y4Y Discussion Boards.  



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!