My Community Story Project
A way to bring storytelling into your classroom
"We tell ourselves stories in order to live."
"I write now because I have to ..."
Tyler Harris, longtime YWP participant
Storytelling, the essence of good writing and expression, can now be a part of your students' experience.
Young Writers Project, drawing from the ideas of youths, teachers and experts in writing and digital media, is excited to offer you a new storytelling program for your classroom, a complement to your regular curriculum that will help you engage your students in writing and help them explore what interests them in the world around them: their communities -- the people, places, events and issues that shape their lives.
YWP provides you the tools you need to help your students practice writing, give and receive feedback, use digital media and create stories small and big. You will help them gain voice -- the skills and confidence needed to express themselves with clarity and power. It is accessible to students in grades 5-12 of all skill ranges.
For just $250*, you will be provided:
- An easy-to-use digital classroom website of your own -- much like this one -- where you and your students can privately share work created in regular free-writes, in response to community story challenges or as part of your own curriculum if you wish.
- Content: challenges (exercises) and resources designed to progressively get students to go deeper with storytelling, research, digital media and editing.
- Support -- both technical and content-oriented -- from experts with Young Writers Project, a small, award-winning nonprofit based in Vermont that has, since 2006, connected with 100,000+ youths, partnered with 2,000 teachers and published best work of 17,000 youths.
Log into this site as guest (password: guest) to view some of the content that will be available to you.
Questions? Contact Geoff Gevalt, founding director, Young Writers Project: email@example.com; (802) 324-9537
Photo Credit: YWP Photo Library, Kevin Huang, Burlington, VT
How it works
Want to see more? EXPLORE!
When you sign up for this program, YWP will build your site (it will look much like this one), give you full access to this site so you can see and import to your own site any challenges or resources you want and provide you ongoing support.
And you will soon have the option of diving into this program and gain licensure and/or Master's degree credits with a yearlong, two- or three-credit course being offered. (This can be audited remotely for licensure credit.)
We encourage you to explore this site. You'll see challenges, resources and examples of student writing and commenting.
- Click Challenges to comb through prompts related to idea-storming, research, interviewing, feedback, editing, digital media, polish and audience. (It may take a moment to load -- there's a lot of content there.) (We have many more on https://youngwritersproject.org)
- Click Workshops to see our basic vanilla My Community Story workshop that will show you how to create a longer, more complex project that has multiple challenges or steps.
- Click Resources to see some of the resources we have available. (We have many more on https://youngwritersproject.org)
- Have fun! Questions? Email Geoffrey Gevalt
- Sign Up! And we'll be in touch.
The storytelling content
This evolving content for use in your classroom -- powerful challenges tested by teachers and youths and support resources -- is designed to help students find and explore ideas that interest them, delve into research, comment on each other's work, revise (and later polish), use digital media and find external audience. This curriculum will be expanding during the year as YWP enlists a variety of experts to add to the challenges and resources available. Some of that content will arise from questions -- or requests -- that come from you.
The program allows you to:
- Create your own challenges -- one- or two-step prompts -- to get students started with idea development, research, digital media or polish.
- Import (very easy) to your own site any or all of the challenges housed here; each of the challenges are focused on storytelling and have been designed by YWP and teachers.
- Group any challenges into a workshop to provide sequential steps to a more complex finished project. (An example is the starter workshop for the My Community -- Getting Started which will also be included in your initial digital classroom website.)
- Import any or all of the resources housed here to your own site; these tips, examples, studies, etc. are specifically created to help support the storytelling challenges.
- Import YWP's daily challenges from https://youngwritersproject.org/challenges (you must log into both this site and youngwritersproject.org to access the material for export/import.)
- Give your students access to the YWP Academy, a collection of short, fun workshops of varying levels in writing, digital media and issues on youngwritersproject.org: https://youngwritersproject.org/academy
Why the digital platform is special
This platform is intended to supplement what you normally use -- though it can serve as your primary digital classroom. While we appreciate that learning another platform is not optimum, this platform is EASY to use, can be a space for practicing writing/digital media and has some very cool features:
- Easy access to your students' work: student responses are automatically grouped and displayed by challenge -- students merely click the RESPOND button at the bottom of each challenge to post their work and to see work, just click the challenge. There are additional ways to easily access work by student name or challenge.
- Easy commenting -- using text OR directly record audio comments -- on individual posts.
- Revision history so the post's author and you can view and compare changes made in a post.
- Post private annotations within the body of a student's work that only the student can see.
- Send a private message to a student, a student can reply and also send a message to you. (There is no student-to-student messaging.)
- Fully integrate digital media including drag-and-drop upload of multiple photos to create a slideshow; upload or direct recording of audio onto a post; commenting, audio commenting, embedded video (copy embed code from video display site).
- INCLUDING integration with Google Drive to allow you to upload pdfs from your Google Drive (slides, docs and spreadsheets) OR upload standard Microsoft documents -- documents, spreadsheets, PDFs and Power Point slide shows -- and save them to your Google Drive.
- Download student work for import to her/his portfolio.
- Print, create PDF or email any content from the site in clean, nice-looking format.
- Import challenges from both https://mycommunity.ywpvt.org AND https://youngwritersproject.org (you have to sign into both sites; this site requires payment; youngwritersproject.org is free)
- A classroom calendar is integrated into deadline dates you select for challenges.
Think of this as a complement to your curriculum
This powerful program combines key elements to help you engage your students in writing: idea development, storytelling, peer-to-peer commenting, privacy, digital media and the potential for external audience. Past surveys of students using these spaces have shown they work harder, perform better and gain a greater understanding, and appreciation, of their classmates. And you'll be amazed at how much you learn about each of your students.
And have fun.