‘Read Brave’ Fosters Passionate Reading and Intergenerational Dialogue

Read Brave is a city-wide one book project in Saint Paul, Minnesota, facilitated by a small but passionate group from the Saint Paul Public Library’s Createch program, part of the YOUmedia Learning Labs Network. Marika Staloch, one of the facilitators, recently spoke with K-Fai Steele, of the YOUmedia Network and the National Writing Project. You can listen to the full interview below. Youth Services Coordinator Marika Staloch came upon the idea for Read Brave a few years ago, during a conversation with young adult author A.S. King. Staloch had been considering ways to improve attendance and engagement at the library’s author events, and King shared the success of a one book project she’d been a part of in a smaller town. Staloch loved the idea and soon the project was born, with King signed up to be its first author. Today, the project reaches teens and adults all over the city. Each year the library chooses a young adult novel, and works with partners to get the book in as many hands as possible. School and community groups meet to discuss the book, culminating in two days of talks and workshops put on by the author themselves. “They come in...
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  • on Feb 17
  • in The LAMP
  • by Educator Innovator

For this year's Break the Super Bowl advertisement remixing event, The Lamp focused on the representation of women in partnership with the #WomenNotObjects campaign. 2017 seems like a good year to start doing things differently. So, we added a theme to Break the Super Bowl: #womennotobjects. This is also the first year we held the party at an advertising agency. Badger & Winters Group are the award-winning firm behind the campaign to stop objectifying women through commercials and advertising, and they graciously agreed to host our students as they settled in for a night of breaking, learning and talking back to media. Having the event at an actual ad company proved to be a huge benefit for the students. We were really lucky to also have generous staff from Badger & Winter on hand to share an insider’s view of how commercials are produced. Copywriter Regina explained the importance of building a customer’s loyalty to a particular brand, and Madonna Badger herself was present to offer insight about how a Super Bowl Buick commercial represented Miranda Kerr (hint: not with the same respect as Cam Newton, who appeared in the same spot). She also shared her moving story with our...
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Teens at the Nexus of Fashion, Gaming, and Technology

A program based in Brooklyn, NY, makes learning enticing for teenagers, combining topics they might already know a thing or two about: fashion, technology, and video games. “Playable Fashion” began in 2012 as an afterschool program at the nonprofit art and technology studio Eyebeam. Today the teenage participants learn about electronics, coding, and “wearable technology” (think light-up shirts or “smart” watches). Ultimately, some design and create their own wearable video games—with controllers made out of gloves with built-in hand sensors that control what is happening on the screen. Aided in part by an LRNG grant, the program has been able to investigate how to adapt the curriculum beyond the afterschool program for use in other settings. The LRNG grants stem from a partnership between the National Writing Project and John Legend’s Show Me Campaign to help educators extend time and space for connected learning. The connected learning theory posits that learning happens on a continuum—in school, as well as at home, work, and among friends—and is driven by students’ own interests and life experiences. [caption id="attachment_11996" align="alignright" width="450"] Photo/Global Kids[/caption] With funding from LRNG and other sources, the Playable Fashion creators have taught workshops for teens at other community sites,...
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Why the School Library Is the Perfect Place for Maker Education

Library makerspaces, including members of the YOUmedia Learning Labs Network, offer students a chance to design, tinker, and build critical thinking skills. “Libraries are all about inquiry,” says Valerie Jopeck, a former librarian and current education specialist for a large public school district in Virginia. But in this case, Jopeck is not talking about just online research or reading about animal behavior or electrical engineering.   Instead, Jopeck and her colleagues are talking about a new kind of inquiry-based learning cropping up in school libraries around the country—the opportunity for students to develop critical thinking skills by tinkering, designing, and building. Exploratory, hands-on learning is also known as “maker education.” At “makerspaces,” learners have access to tools and supplies, including technological tools, for either open-ended or structured projects. In recent years, some school libraries have taken on new identities as makerspaces, inviting students to do projects in the school library in addition to doing research or checking out books. “A library is a safe space for students to learn and explore their own interests,” Jopeck said. “Hands-on inquiry fits in really naturally.” The library is also the only “content-facile space in a school building,” Jopeck said—one where the librarian can...
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