I like the idea of an overarching something but I am not sure a specific question might be – well, too specific. I wonder if this will feel a little too much like  “regular school” to the summer kids. When we did this program in previous summers, students identified their own questions or topics from their 10 self/world questions and they were very invested in them. We did have them look at their individual questions (using sentence strips) and group themselves into categories of questions. This way they had inquiry groups and a peer support system.

I imagine the first week to be very much about the students – and they should feel it is about them. I want to think like a student after the first day and say, “Why am I coming here? Will I enjoy this for 2 more weeks?”

I wonder if one way to do this is by using technology as the inroad: who are they as online participants? What do they like or not like about using technology? Part of my purpose is to hear from and value their voices as  (sorry about this…) digital natives. In school often times the use of technology is for academic purposes. How might we value their use of technology in other ways?  Another thought is to engage them early on in the first week using the 4 learning goals focused on technology. So:

Exploring: how have you used the computer to explore either in school, for school or for your own pleasure?

Building to Learn: what digital tools have you used to build, make or create something? What was this like? Which did you enjoy? Why?

Publishing: how have you used technology to publish anything you have created: images, words, ideas, school projects?

Making Connection: How do you connect with people using technology? What social media do you participate in? Why? In what ways does this help you or contribute to your life experience?

Using these ideas, we could have students share, discuss and maybe even ask them to come up with 1 or 2 questions they have about any of these areas that they would like to know more about.

I am wondering if these are questions and ideas students already have while justice issues are more abstract and might not, initially, be an interest grabber. What if the justice idea framed the work starting in week 2. Some of these technology issues might even inform their inquiry into justice and be the vehicle for exploring their justice issue.

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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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