You may be asking: Why are there so many different ways to post on Youth Voices?

At the top of your profile, you will see several tabs. These open different tools that you can use to write and make media. These tabs represent a spectrum of discourse options (different ways of communicating) available to you on Youth Voices.

How do you choose which tool to use?

It depends on who you are writing or making media for and how you want your audience to respond. The details are in this chart, and all of this will make more sense to you once you complete the activities in the Profile Set-up and the Making Your Mark playlists.

TabsTypes of Discourse
(Ways of Communicating)
Tools and what youth make with them ExamplesDIY – Try this type of discourse yourself
Activity/Status UpdateFast, short writing or media making posted on your own wall or on another member’s wall or on a group’s wall. These messages are for individuals, groups, all members, or everyone.Youth regularly post status updates, each of which can include a photo, slideshow, quote, GIF, file, audio, video, link or emoji. Youth can write on their own walls or on another member’s wall or or walls in groups where they are members, and they can choose many levels of private to public audiences. The youths’ comments and replies on texts, videos, and images on NowComment also appear on their activity timelines.Brendaly’s Activity Timeline

A stream of all recent public actiivity on the site
Here are two ways to test this type of discourse yourself:

1. Complete the first activity in the Profile Set-up playlist. In the first activity we invite you to personalize your profile by adding a profile picture and a cover photo, then by writing your first status update. And we encourage you to keep adding text, image, video, and GIF updates every day! This is how you will understand the way this discourse type works.

2. Also do the first activity in the Making Your Mark playlist. In the first activity of this playlist, we invite you to write responses to specific sentences and paragraphs in Describing the Habits of Mind, by Arthur L. Costa. He has crafted descriptions of the 16 Habits of Mind and other readers have already added their thoughts in the right plane of this document. We invite you to enter these conversations with your own takes and your own examples for the habits that have been most meaningful in your life. Write as many comments as you can, and reply to other readers as well! Using an RSS feed, we will pull each of your NowComment annotations into the activity stream on your wall.

Docs (Writer’s Notebook)Informal writing for yourself, like in a writer’s notebook, with some drafts revised or developed collaboratively.Youth write daily journals where they freewrite, capture first impressions, create first drafts, express their thoughts, speculate about important questions, and more. They also invite peers and teachers to respond to their docs, and they revise and proofread their work here.Brendaly’s Journal

All recent public docs in the Docs Directory
We have two ways for you to practice this type of communication yourself:

1. Complete the second activity in the Profile Set-up playlist. In the second activity, we invite you to ignite, inaugurate, establish, and commit to keeping a journal on Youth Voices every day! This is how you will understand and value this type of writing.

2. Another way to practice composing and revising in a writer’s notebook is to complete the third activity in the Making Your Mark playlist. In the third activity of this playlist, we invite you to introduce yourself to the Youth Voices community of youth, teachers, and mentors by writing and recording a Bio using Youth Voices Docs.
Comments & RepliesCorrespondence (like a letter) written to the author of a status update, a doc, or a discussion post, including replies to others’ comments about your workYouth are encouraged to follow the commenting guides which scaffold how to quote from the work they are responding to and which give ideas for how to write in open ways that invite further conversation.Brendaly’s Comments

All Recent Comments
Practice this discourse type by writing a comment using a commenting guide.

Complete the third activity of the Profile Set-up playlist. In the third activity of this playlist we invite you to write a comment to another student on Youth Voices, using one of these guides: General Discussion, Quoting a Source in a Comment, Agree/Disagree Response. Look through the Youth Voices site. There are thousands of posts! Find one that interests you. Read it carefully. Add a comment to the post you read.
Discussion PostRaising your voice with writing and media about issues that are important to you and your community for the purpose of engaging peers and the general public in conversationsUsing the WordPress Block Editor, youth publish both short- and long-form posts of any genre and using all media–from poems and stories to personal narratives and literary essays and from reactions to current events to well-researched, cited arguments. The youths’ comments and replies on texts, videos, and images on NowComment also appear as posts on their timelines–capturing their lives as readers as well as writers and media makers.Brendaly’s Discussion Posts (with NowComment Annotations)

All recent public Discussion Posts
Use blocks to create a Discussion Post yourself, right now!

Complete the fourth activity in the Making Your Mark playlist. In the the fourth activity of this playlist, we invite you to create a multimodal discussion post on Youth Voices to introduce yourself to the other members of your class and the wider Youth Voices community! We call these published documents “discussion posts” because we see each of them as the beginning of a conversation. The Block system on Youth Voices allows you to publish images, videos, and text in as many ways as you imagination can take you. Here we are asking you to include an audio file and a featured image along with your written text.
Multimodal PublishingPublic presentations where youth use new media to interface written-linguistic modes of meaning with oral, visual, audio, gestural, tactile and spatial patterns of meaning.Youth compose, produce, and publish multimodal work with:
  • Discussion posts with Blocks for composing and juxtaposing images, videos, audio recordings, and text together.

  • Flipbooks that integrate all genres of writing, art, photography, and media to produce online magazines and stories.

  • Web Stories designed to engage the user with layers of animated images, GIFs, graphics, videos, texts, and links composed on sequential pages.

  • Podcast Series: Audio episodes youth produce around themes that can be subscribed to and downloaded for listening to on mobile devices. For example, subscribe to our This I Believe podcast.

America Means Sluggish and Unhurried Change by Axel

Pride Month: Journals of Color

Love Is Fire, by Karla

“Why Me?” asked Kahlil, by Munie

Not In Our Town
One way to get involved with one of these discourse types yourself could be to Write a Six Word Memoir.

Then decide if you want to publish it as:
& Working Portfolios
Bookmarks are reflection on moments of learning and thoughtfulness that students have selected from their activity updates on their profile timelines.

Working portfolios are thoughtful collections of work, with reflection and self-assessment on that work, designed by youth to highlight their areas of interest, growth, and accomplishment.
After selecting significant items from their timelines, youth make comments on their own activity posts, which can include images, videos, audio files, or GIFs, to say how this work shows their strengths as learners with reference to the Habits of Mind. These become building blocks for the students’ digital portfolios.

Youth select the most meaningful and significant work from their timelines and reflect on this work by writing and making media about how the work demonstrates their learning with specific reference to the Habits of Mind. We have begun to experiment with Google’s Web Stories and other such multimodal and visual tools so that students can communicate the highlights of their portfolios quickly and provide links to deeper dives into their work.
Brendaly’s Bookmarks

Brendaly’s Working Portfolio

Portfolios by ELLIS Youth
Two things you could do to experience this curating, reflective type of discourse:

1. Go to your wall and choose the three activity posts in your stream that are the most meaningful to you either because of your the learning they demonstrate or because of how a habit of mind is represented. Bookmark each of these, then go to your bookmarks tab and add comments to the activity posts that appear there. Explain why you bookmarked each item. What does it show about your strengths as a learner?

2. Complete the second activity in the Making Your Mark playlist. In the second activity of this playlist, we invite you to set up a digital space for your portfolio using Web Stories. Create a Web Story with three sections – one for each of the Habits of Mind that you have chosen – and blank pages that you could fill in later.
In Coming on Center (1981), James Moffett calls for students to be given “an emotional mandate to play the whole symbolic scale, to find suspects and shape them, to invent ways to act upon others, and to discover their own voice.”


Youth Voices is an open publishing and social networking platform for youth. The site is organized by teachers with support from the National Writing Project. Opinions expressed by writers are their own.  See more About Youth VoicesTerms of ServicePrivacy Policy.All work on Youth Voices is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License


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