Two years ago, when a group of high school students in Carlsbad, California began work on a documentary film about childhood immunization, they never thought they would find themselves in the eye of a storm. The story of their award-winning “Invisible Threat” offers a cautionary tale about why vaccinations matter and how controversy can trump science. Read about their video and watch a trailer.

Blake School senior Isaac Frans was looking forward to joining his school's service trip to Sierra Leone last summer when the Ebola outbreak dashed all plans. It was hard, he said, to watch a small outbreak turn into a human tragedy. Recognizing the gravity of the situation, Frans and a group of classmates organized a summit to raise awareness about Ebola’s impact and the local response to it. Panelists included health care experts amd West African community members. U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken ‘66 and U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison sent in pre-recorded videos.
As part of its annual National Immunization Awareness Week, Immunize Canada asked media arts students at Canterbury High School in Ottawa, Ontario to develop brief videos—in English and French—to help promote immunization. Here are some of the best from these young Canadian filmmakers—powerful reminders of our social and public health responsibilities as citizens. (In the U.S, the annual campaign is called National Infant Immunization Week; it coincides with World Immunization Week which will take place this year April 24-30.)

In 2010, Frontline produced a feature on the growing debate over vaccine safety that surely foreshadows today's headline-grabbing measles outbreak andthe current debate over vaccine safety. In this video chapter from "The Vaccine War," students examine the debate among public health officials, doctors and parents around vaccine safety and hear differing perspectives on the benefits and risks of vaccination. "The Vaccine War Lesson Plan" models how disease spreads in a community with and without vaccine immunity.

Ever wonder what kind of bacteria is festering in public bathrooms? So did a group of high school students in Creedmoor, North Carolina. Several years ago students at South Granville School of Health and Life Sciences decidedt to find out just how contaminated their school's bathrooms were.They went from one bathroom to the next, swabbing the insides of the toilets, handles, towel dispensers, sinks, and floors. After incubating the samples, the students discovered that the floors, not the toilets, were the most bacteria-laden section of the bathrooms. They were also surprised to find that the men’s bathrooms were generally cleaner than the women’s.



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This collection of short videos, assembled by WKCD, shines a light on how character and grit contribute to student success. Experts in the field--Angela Duckworth and Paul Tough--share their research and experiences. Two New York City school princpals talk about taching character skills and grit in the classroom. High school students talk about persistence, part of WKCD's "Just Listen" series, and an Indiana University basketball player, speaking after his last game as a senior, describes and thanks all of the people who helped him believe in himself, on and off the basketball court. Discussion questions follow each video.
What advice do the youngest survivors of Hurricane Katrina have for those seeking to help children submerged by natural disaster? How does it feel to live as an older person in New York City? What are the pros and cons of rainwater harvesting in drought-stricken communities? How do adverse housing, low education levels, and substance abuse interact in poor neighborhoods? These are some of the questions youth who won grants in WKCD’s 2014 Youth Research for Action grant competition will answer in the months to come. They will receive up to $2,000 each to research their topic and share their findings in reports, videos, public meetings, interactive websites, trainings, and more.
The deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson and Eric Garner in New York City have caused waves of nationwide protest and appeals for stronger protections against police brutality. These events have also caused educators to seek resources on how to address these subjects in the classroom. "The role of educators is to help students more fully understand themselves, their society, and their world," writes humanities teacher Joshua Block. "Our classrooms need to be places where justice is pursued, silenced voices are heard, and visions of transformation and change are nurtured." WKCD has created a list of resources that offer teachers a good place to start the conversations we need.

For the past several months, WKCD has been working with youth at Boys & Girls Clubs of San Francisco's Tenderloin Clubhouse to create a photo essay book about their "village," just blocks from the city's wealthy financial district. Known for its large population of homeless and drug dealers and its long history of ill-repute, the Tenderloin has also become a bustling home to immigrant families drawn to its low rents. In September, we shared the stories of Eslah, a 16-year-old from Yemen, and Albert, 18, who was born in Vietnam. Here we offer three more chapters: on hard work and sacrifice, danger and safety, and food. Youth at the Tenderloin Clubhouse took virtually all of the photos that appear in the book.

What does teaching look like when it truly centers on the student's learning needs? What practices, structures, and tools do schools that embrace student-centered learning turn to every day? From our research, eight core elements come to the fore: strong relationships with students; personalization and choice in curricular and instructional tasks; appropriate challenge levels for each learner; supporting students' social and emotional growth; anytime, anywhere, and real-world learning; technology that is integral to teaching and learning; clear, timely assessment and support; and fostering autonomy and lifelong learning. Learn more.
Education Week Commentary: Integrating Social-Emotional Learning Into High School
In a recent Education Week commentary, Barbara Cervone and Kathleen Cushman ask: What would it take to weave social and emotional learning into the daily fabric of our nation's high schools? What distinct practices, programs, and structures help schools embed SEL into ongoing teaching and learning? How does this effort vary from school to school, in response to the conditions that make a school unique and shape its climate? Indepth examination of five diverse high schools that make SEL core provide answers to these and other questionsand suggest policy implications.
Student and Youth Voice: Asking, Listening, and Taking Action
When WKCD embraced student voice as part of our guiding principles in 2001, the idea that youth should be welcomed as crucial investors in improving their schools and communities had few advocates. The research on the power of student engagement was commensurately sparse. To us, however, it made gut sense to privilege student and youth voice and vision. So for thirteen years WKCD has supported youth as collaborators: in our books and other publications (e.g., our “Fires” series); in survey projects nationwide; in more than 75 grants to student research groups across the globe; and in the feature stories we produce for this website. Here is an inventory of all we've created with youth as partners.
Growth Mindset and Why It Matters
Few ideas about learning have made their way as quickly into the lexicon of educators as growth mindset. WKCD has assembled five short videos that provide a lively introduction to growth mindset and why it matters, for students as well as teachers. At the end of each video we offer suggestions for activities and assignments, for use by teachers (as part of a professional development workshop) and by students (as part of their classroom learning). We encourage you to browse through the presentation and pick those videos that work for your situation and audience—and to amend the suggested activities.
Students who are the first in their family to attend college talk about the challenges they face. Also, download and share these WKCD resources for first-gen students at a student glossary of college application terms; college terms for parents in English and Spanish; a multimedia report from students in Seattle and Chattanooga about the college prep help they are receiving in their high schools; a "college matters" guide for adults working with youth outside school; college planning checklists for students in grades 9 - 12; and a list of inspiring quotes and books for high school students who will be the first in their family to attend college.
Last spring, WKCD invited teenagers nationwide to send us the best nonfiction essay they had written on a topic that they cared about deeply. “We’re looking for diverse voices on diverse topics: family, school, learning, relationships, race, culture, origins, religion, body image, social media, conflict, peace, change, our planet . . . . or whatever topic you choose,” the contest flyer said. We received over 200 submissions and picked 29 winning essays, from high school students nationwide. Click here to read more, see the list of winners, download a PDF of the resulting book or purchase a hard copy.
It’s not surprising that adolescents respond well to writing assignments that invite them to speak from their own experience. For years, WKCD has provided a stage for teen writers and thinkers to make their voices heard on topics ranging from family and identity to school reform and inequality. Today’s heightened call for narrative writing by middle and high school students reinforces this social-emotional connection: when teenagers are given the chance to write on issues that matter to them, their words can shine. Here, we offer a half dozen writing prompts that we've used to engage adolescent learners as journalists, essayists, and documenters.



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popular wkcd
publications [pdf

A Guide to Creating Teen-
Adult Public Forums

Cultural Conversations through Creative Writing

Documenting Immigration Stories

First Ask, Then Listen: How Your
Students Can Help You Teach
Them Better

Making Writing Essential to
Teen Lives

Profiles of Politically Active Youth

Queer Youth Advice for Educators

SAT Bronx

The Schools We Need: Creating
Small High Schools That Work
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Fires in the Mind

Fires in the Bathroom

Fires in the Middle School Bathroom