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January 19, 2017

The right trainings don't just broaden skill sets – they help your staff achieve their full professional and personal potential. But finding time to incorporate professional learning into your program can be a challenge.  Fortunately, Y4Y can help.

Our Trainings to Go tools allow you to develop a professional learning strategy that matches your staff's needs. These guides include everything you need for a productive learning session: slides with customizable content, handouts and a suggested script outline. Most lessons take about an hour to complete, and provide practical, hands-on tips for integrating new ideas into daily activities.

In each of the Y4Y courses you’ll find Trainings to Go that target topics important to your program. Do you want to be more active in promoting understanding of STEM topics for your students? Try the STEM Every Day Training to Go. Are you hoping to make new strategic partnerships in the coming year? The Recruit Partners Training to Go is for you. Want to make literacy skills a priority in your program? Start with the Five Components of Reading Training to Go.

Whether it starts with a resolution for the New Year or a reality check with yourself and your staff, professional learning belongs on your to-do list. Spend a little time now to plan professional learning events for your program. The benefits to staff and students will more than repay the effort!



February 13, 2015

In your afterschool and expanded learning programs, you try every day to fit in as much fun and learning as you can, balancing all the competing demands. Y4Y staff know how busy your days are. Luckily, literacy can be worked into a program in many ways, big and small. Let’s go through the key building blocks of literacy to demonstrate some ways.

Reading

Many programs have found success with book clubs. Beyond providing risk-free space to practice the mechanics of reading and strengthen comprehension skills, book clubs boost motivation, which is critical for developing readers. To get everyone on the same page, visit Y4Y’s Book Club hub for ideas that will help your students become detectives or space explorers, visit other countries, travel to the past or future, and meet people who are very different but very alike, too.

Writing

In the special space of afterschool, writing needs to be more than sitting down and working in silence. Get your students super-charged about writing by involving them in fun and thought-provoking Pre-Writing Activities from Y4Y. They’ll be engaged in a topic and brimming with ideas, ready to write! To add another level of motivation, bring in a local writer or offer books written by people from your city or state.

Speaking and Listening

Speaking and listening skills are gateways: they help students become better readers. One strategy that’s common in early childhood education works for all ages — it’s the Interactive Read-Aloud, which mixes a teacher reading to a group, students interacting with the teacher about the text, and students talking with one another to dig deeper into the content.

Language

It’s easy to incorporate language skills into any program activity or project. Try some of the strategies on Y4Y’s Vocabulary Development page to reinforce language learning while your students are accomplishing other goals. Several strategies, like those that foster word consciousness, take very little preparation time and can be fun and casual to add into transition times or snack time. Some of the more formal strategies, such as a Vocabulary Collage or the Frayer Chart, would pair perfectly with a new thematic unit or a project you are already doing in your program. 

Tip: Engaging families in literacy events is also a great way to build your literacy programming and make a positive impact on your community.  Consider hosting a fun family literacy event. Use this checklist to ensure it’s well planned!

For more ideas to incorporate the key building blocks of literacy into your program, check out the Learn More Library’s wealth of resources. 



July 13, 2014

You may not have noticed it with all the parades and picnics and fireworks, but a new version of Y4Y was rolled out for you over July Fourth weekend!

This upgrade was mainly to the backend infrastructure that powers the Y4Y portal.  What this means for you, the frontend user, is faster load times and a portal that’s generally quicker and easier to use.

One thing you’ll surely notice is the completely redesigned Discussion Boards. All your favorite topics are still there, and all previously existing conversation threads and uploads were successfully converted to the new format. The new design will make it easier for you to navigate and participate. Now you can also Subscribe to your favorite topics, so when someone posts something new on topic of interest you’ll automatically get an email letting you know. As always, if you want to do more than just read the posts, you have to be registered and signed in to participate in the Discussions!

The new site is also more secure than ever before, thanks to the addition of a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate similar to those found on your favorite e-commerce sites. You can never be too careful in this day and age, so a little added security will keep everyone’s information that much safer.



April 11, 2014

Here are a few handy tips to help make your Y4Y webinar experience easier so you can relax and concentrate on the presenters and the material.

1) Log in a few minutes early so you have time to download the Cisco WebEx Event Center app, which powers the webinar. If you don’t have Admin rights on your PC, choose to run the “Temporary” app when prompted. If you want to setup the Event Center app in advance, go to this link and click the “Setup” button: 
https://y4y.webex.com/y4y/ecsetup.php?frommail=1.

2) Make sure you join the “integrated voice conference” when prompted at log in. You don’t need a microphone to participate in the webinar, but you do need speakers and you need to join the conference in order to hear the presenters.

3) Make sure your computer speakers are plugged in and turned on, and be ready to adjust the volume if necessary (audio levels can sometimes change abruptly if we switch between presenters and streaming video).

4) If you have sound issues during the webinar, first check your speakers by going to the menu bar in the WebEx Event Center and selecting Communicate / Speaker Microphone Test.  Check the speaker dropdown list because you may have more than one sound driver in your system, and you won’t hear anything if you have the wrong one selected.  You can check to see if you’re connected to the integrated voice conference by selecting Communicate / Integrated Voice Conference / Join Conference.

5) Try to keep all other applications closed and refrain from surfing the Internet during the webinar. Close all apps, including email, leaving only the WebEx Event Center and the web browser you used to log into the event open.  Our webinars consist of shared PowerPoint slides, broadcast audio, and may include streaming video or additional documents. We try our best to make everything work on any connection and any hardware, but sometimes there are compatibility and bandwidth issues that are beyond our control.

If you need any other tech support related to a webinar, please use the chat box to send a private message during the event to the user listed as the “Y4Y Host.”

And remember that all webinars are recorded and within 48 hours they are posted on the portal in the Webinar Archive.



April 11, 2014

It’s hard to believe it, but we recently posted our 100th blog article. Time sure flies when you’re having fun with Y4Y! When you’re looking for information and resources for your program, don’t forget to check the blog.

For example, did you know that Y4Y has over a dozen articles devoted to summer activities and summer planning? To access these articles all you have to do is go to the blog and scroll down the “Categories” list in the left hand column and click the entry for “Summer” — or click this handy shortcut to check it out right now.

Y4Y is always growing, with new content and helpful information being added every single month. One way to keep on top of it all is to remember the search field in the toolbar. Your search will always span the entire Y4Y portal, including all the latest entries in the blog, the webinar archives, and anywhere helpful afterschool resources have been added.