Patrick Riccards, co-host of the #CommonCore radio podcast on BAM Radio Network, described the episode that included our own Vice President of Policy and Research Jen Rinehart as a “breath of fresh air.” Riccards was impressed that the interview—which also included Jennifer Davis, co-founder and president of the National Center on Time & Learning—focused on learning, rather than testing. He also pointed out the value of conversations centered on what learning means for students, and how can we best ensure that our students succeed not just under the Common Core, but in school, career and life.
Jen spoke about the integral role afterschool programs can play in supporting students and teachers around the Common Core State Standards:
“ We know that afterschool programs are working to provide very engaging learning environments for kids where they have the opportunities to be active learners, to collaborate and communicate with peers in a low-stakes type of setting where they can feel free to try things out and not be concerned about failing…and that sort of environment aligns very nicely with the habits of mind that underpin the Common Core—the kind of thinking skills that you want kids to develop to be able to succeed under the Common Core.”
What was the best Super Bowl ad? That’s not really the point, if you ask afterschool teens who participate in The LAMP’s (Learning About Multimedia Project) media literacy program. They might ask back what those ads reveal about us and our culture, and how ads might be manipulating viewers.
At the Break the Super Bowl event last Sunday night, teens from the McBurney YMCA remixed and deconstructed Super Bowl commercials as they aired, ultimately creating original works of video criticism. The “broken ad” pieces were created with a budget of $0, on a regular laptop computer, in less time than half a football game. Yet they raised important questions about the marketing techniques we are exposed to every day.
Does your afterschool program inspire youth to live healthfully?
The Alliance for a Healthier Generation, a nonprofit organization founded by the American Heart Association and the Clinton Foundation, is searching for young people excited to share their commitment to healthful living and inspire their friends, families, schools and communities to take action and help stop childhood obesity.
Applications are now being accepted for the Alliance’s Youth Advisory Board (for 2014-2015). Board members serve as ambassadors for the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, share feedback on Alliance programs and activities, and promote health and wellness in their communities.
Following up on the release of our first issue brief of the year, we hosted our first webinar of the year featuring three afterschool programs highlighted in the Common Core issue brief: Bridge the Gap College Prep in Marin City, California, Baltimore Urban Debate League (BUDL) in Baltimore, Maryland, and Raising Expectations in Atlanta, Georgia. The issue brief was only able to broadly discuss the unique and interesting ways these programs are supporting learning around the Common Core, and the webinar served as a platform for the programs to expand on their work and share with the field in greater detail about how they’ve tailored their programs to be more intentional about connecting to the Common Core.
The Wallace Foundation has released two great new videos that make a clear and compelling case for investing in afterschool programs and the city systems needed to support them.
"Afterschool: Hours of Opportunity" features the data and images of powerful afterschool experiences, demonstrating the importance of afterschool programs in providing opportunities to expand and deepen learning, to complement the school day with fun and engaging projects, and to close the opportunity gap. As featured expert Robert Balfanz of Johns Hopkins University says, "Afterschool is where the community can help the school push back against the hungry bear of poverty."
“Better Together: Boosting Afterschool by Building Citywide Systems” hits on the elements essential to supporting programs: systems that address data, quality, leadership and coordination.
Have you heard the news? This week, the National Institute on Drug Abuse is holding the third annual National Drug Facts Week. In this video, teens from three Maryland youth programs—TEENWORKS, Voices for Change, and DrugFree's Teen Advisory Council—share their thoughts on drug abuse.
Every day, teens are bombarded with conflicting messages that may leave them feeling confused and unsure of who to ask for information about drug use. With 7% of teens reporting abuse of prescription drugs in the past year and 22% of 12th graders reporting using marijuana in the past month, it’s crucial to reach teens with the facts.
Wondering how you can take part? There are plenty of ways to get involved and help shatter the myths about drug use for teens:
- Host a local event in your community—don’t forget to register online
- Distribute the "Drugs: Shatter the Myths" booklet or other helpful resources to teens and parents in your community
- Take the National Drug IQ Challenge
- Help spread the word
For more ideas and the latest news, visit the National Drug Facts Week website.
We’re inviting teachers, afterschool leaders and educators everywhere to celebrate Digital Learning Day by accepting the #make4DLDay challenge, a set of digital storytelling activities that allow youth and adults to be makers for Digital Learning Day.
Both the maker education and digital learning movements are grounded in the belief that kids learn best by doing. From cardboard and clay to circuits and computers, kids can use a variety of analogue and digital tools to tell their story. The #make4DLDay challenge is about sharing ideas among educators, and experimenting with modern ways of engaging youth in making and digital storytelling.
Accepting the #make4DLDay challenge is easy—here’s how:
- Choose your level. We’ve got multiple activities for educators with varying levels of experience using digital tools. Choose your level based on the tools most readily accessible to you.
- Pick a relevant topic. Digital storytelling can be applied to almost any topic, from geography to STEM. Design your activity around a topic of interest to your students.
- Share your work. On Feb. 5, share your photos, videos and links to students’ work with other innovative educators by using the hashtag #make4DLDay.