icon-investigation.png Can students initiate and lead a plan to improve their neighborhood?

Learning Overview and Objectives
Students work together as a team to identify one issue/location they would like to improve in their neighborhood. Students will learn best practices for conducting online research and developing a field plan for their community cause.

Students will ...

  • Learn to communicate and negotiate ideas in a group
  • Brainstorm various issues facing the community
  • Identify ways to improve their community
  • Select a location to highlight as part of this improvement
  • Write and upload a new entry on their community cause
  • Share their new entry and engage their online community in this campaign
  • Research various aspects of their topic
  • Develop a field plan for their community cause

Workshop Breakdown
Time: 4-5 hours

Part One

TASK...Students divide up into teams of 3-4 students. They meet to share and collaborate on their community cause ideas and work together for the duration of the project.

ACTIVITY #1...Each group selects one cause and a location to investigate and document, using the prompt, "What I would do to improve my community is ..."

Using their YV Notebook the students answer the following questions to help them identify their cause:

  1. What is something that you all want to improve in your neighborhood?
  2. Why is it important to improve this aspect of your neighborhood?
  3. Where would you go in your neighborhood to investigate and document this issue?
  4. Who is affected by this issue in your neighborhood, and how would things change for them once you've improved the situation?
  5. What are two possible ways that you can take action towards solving this issue?

ACTIVITY #2...Using the online YV Portal, the teams create a new article using their answers to these questions.

The students teams develop a question that invites their social media communities to comment and share their own ideas for a project.

GUEST SPEAKER...A community member or expert visits to share their experiences working on a neighborhood issue and offers ideas and resources to the students. The students document the visit by writing a short profile on the guest speaker in their YV Notebook. Using the YV Portal the students submit the profile as their next article.

MENTORS...A pool of community members and experts (including the guest speaker) are identified as mentors to help guide the student teams on their respective causes.

ACTIVITY #3...Students begin to research and organize their findings with Google Bookmark Manager (training provided if necessary.) They use their YV Notebook to build a pool of resources for their project and share with team members.

CommunityPlannersGroup.jpgStudents from the LA River School ask how they can bring their neighborhood together to save a historic bridge. Click on the photo to view their work.

Part Two

ACTIVITY #4...Students meet in their teams to review collected resources, and use their YV Notebook to plan a series of articles that profile their community cause, local residents, experts, community support, and solutions for the project. These profiles may include photography, print, audio and video interviews etc.

  • Article 1:Our Community, Our Cause: An introduction to what needs to be improved and why?
  • Article 2: Neighborhood Interview: A profile on a community member who is directly connected to the issue.
  • Article 3: Expert Interview: A profile on an expert and their insights into possible solutions.
  • Article 4: Compiling the Evidence: An in-depth look at proposed solutions and road maps to improvement.
  • Article 5: Building a Message: An article to wrap it all up, sharing a big-picture view of your investigation, what you've discovered and accomplished so far, and next steps for yourselves and your community.

ACTIVITY #5...Community Cause - The student teams pool their research and notes from their YV Notebook to write Article 1 - "Our Community, Our Cause." Students may include various media for their article (see OPTIONAL MEDIA WORKSHOPS.) Using the YV Portal the student teams submit their article.

The student teams share their article and invite their social media community to respond and share their thoughts.

The trainings will provide instruction and practice using photography, audio and video to investigate and document their cause, including conducting community interviews.

Students at WELA YMCA Youth Institute wanted smaller class sizes. Click on the photo to see the reasoning behind their proposal.