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Summer WEST Institute Workshops and Special Events

Please Note: Additional workshops may be added. Check back for updates.

A Framework for Place, Service-Learning, and Sustainability
DESCRIPTION: Service-Learning, Place Based Education, and Education for Sustainability provide complimentary approaches to creating vital learning experiences that contribute to the well being of the larger community. This workshop will offer an introduction to CWI's teacher friendly framework for making service-learning an integral part of the academic school experience, through activities and projects of concrete and lasting effect. The framework has been extremely useful to educators across the U.S. and internationally in creating a comprehensive approach to service-learning. It is also important to efforts to create local understanding and support for cohesive approach to place based service-learning and sustainability. This workshop, along with all of our work during the week, will help educators bring their school or organization's pedagogical approach to a much deeper and coherent level.
Collaborative Ethnography: Discovering a Community in Real Time, Los Angeles—FIELD TRIP
DESCRIPTION: Join us for a powerful ethnographic experience in the "real" Los Angeles, as we practice inquiry, research, and exploration skills that will directly benefit your curriculum or program desing back home. The process of inquiry and discovery involved in place based education leads to a deeper understanding of the nature of community itself, in all its forms. This in turn leads to looking at sustainability—uncovering the interconnectedness of people, cultures, place, the natural world, and our own role within that. We will explore and use a hands on process that we call "collaborative ethnography" that facilitates students and teachers exploring and understanding the place they call home, as a foundational precursor to thinking about service and sustainability. We begin from a premise that every place is unique and special, with a story to tell. Participants will have an exceptional opportunity to practice place based service-learning through coollaborative ethnography.
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Social Justice, Participatory Community Art, and the Mural —FIELD TRIP
contreras muralDESCRIPTION: Not just for art teachers! Community murals represent social history, culture, and the opportunity for participatory democracy and collective action. We will visit and explore The Social and Public Art Resource Center (SPARC). SPARC, one of the most important educational and cultural resources in Los Angeles and located in nearby Venice. An extremely unique public resource, SPARC was founded in 1976 by muralist Judith F. Baca, painter Christina Schlesinger, and filmmaker Donna Deitch. The Social and Public Art Resource Center (SPARC) is an arts center that produces, preserves and conducts educational programs about community based public art works. SPARC espouses public art, particularly community murals, as an organizing tool for addressing contemporary issues, fostering cross-cultural understanding and promoting civic dialogue. Working within this philosophical framework, SPARC has created murals and other forms ofpublic art in communities throughout Los Angeles and increasingly in national and international venues. [click to enlarge above image] SPARC’s Mural Resource and Education Center (MREC) is the country’s largest one of a kind repository of information about murals and other forms of public art. Since 1976, SPARC’s MREC has amassed an impressive amount of written and visual documentationfocusing on multi-ethnic public art, techniques in mural making, and the role of muralism within the historical civil rights struggles of the African American, Chicano, Asian, Women, and Native American movements. A sample of the MREC imagery includes: responses to the Los Angeles Riots of 1992, the representation of the Farm workers movement, extensive and varied images of Martin Luther King, Cesar Chavez, and the Virgin of Guadalupe. One of SPARC's latest projects is a collaboration between Miguel Contreras Learning Center High School students and UCLA students to produce a new 18ft x 33ft Digital Mural for permanent placement in downtown LA.[click top image above to enlarge] The project involves creating a mural commemorating the legacy of Mexican-American labor leader Miguel Contreras while visually representing the issues affecting the students of the Center who come from the local area.
Building Sustainable Communities Through Service-Learning
DESCRIPTION: Sustainability provides an integrative concept for service-learning that helps build participants' skills, knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs with the goal of creating a better future. Embedded in education for sustainability is a process that is integrative and participatory and one that uses long-term thinking to meet academic and service goals in a complimentary fashion. In this workshop we will explore the interconnectedness of communities in all their forms and the high impact role that service-learning can play in this process for both teachers and students. Grauer emphasizes that teaching is a relationship. He coins this generation of students  the “millenials” and looks at how technologically mediated their lives have become. This makes a strong case for why small class size and increased human interaction in education is essential.   
Instructional Best Practice for Service-Learning
DESCRIPTION: CWI's Instructional Best Practices for Service-Learning were designed to create common language and understanding around the use of service-learning as a teaching strategy. The Best Practices form a valuable tool for professional dialogue and are a core component of our work in helping educators (and students) plan, extend, and reflect upon service-learning activities and projects. The Instructional Best Practices have been field tested by thousands of educators who have successfully used them to plan, refine, and evaluate both new and existing service-learning activities and projects. The Best Practices also provide a useful way to talk about service-learning within your own institution, becoming essential to designing high quality service-learning activities and programs.
Site-Level Best Practice for Service-Learning
DESCRIPTION: The Site Level Best Practices have helped educators, administrators, community partners, and students support long term service-learning efforts for more than a decade. We will explore a practical guide to identifying and meeting site level needs, issues, and challenges on the road to supporting service-learning. Faculty members will offer their own insights and explore practical needs and considerations encountered on the road to supporting and institutionalizing service-learning.
Gardening, Service, and Nutrition: Across the Curriculum
DESCRIPTION: Learn best practices for supporting school and community based garden work, especially those that lead to curriculum integration. School based agricultural and nutritional education is on the rise. Thousands of schools and communities across the U.S, have evolved their own unique forms of gardening projects. From bean seeds planted in cups on classroom windowsills to elaborate outdoor nature centers, gardening has many benefits, especiallywhen thoughtfully integrated into the school or program curriculum. In this workshop, we'll learn about the rewards and challenges of school gardening and discuss planning and sustaining a school or community garden program. Participants will learn about service projects that can be done using school based gardens. These outdoor classrooms provide a perfect environment for providing the hands-on learner a real connection to science, math, health, and language arts curriculums. We will also make connections to nutrition and the local food movement and learn about successes and challenges inherent to projects that involve managing gardens throughout the school year.
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Breaking Down the Walls: Constructing Compelling Education
la riverDESCRIPTION: Veteran Los Angeles teacher, Paula Cohen will focus on how to design projects that expand the walls of your classroom or program and engage and build community, both within and without those walls.  Paula will focus on how we can create and foster open systems that connect our local schools with non-profit organizations, institutions of higher education, community members, local initiatives, etc. The workshop's goal is to suggest scenarios that allow for a dynamic flow of compelling learning and growth for everyone involved. If sustainability is recognizing how all systems are interconnected, how can an educational institution or program sustain learning if it works in isolation? Paula will share herevolution as an educator dedicated to chipping away at school gates and fences, closed minds and hearts, and regenerating the "community" in our community schools and programs. Our dialogue will work to connect the dots to create unique ways that our communities can come together to create opportunities for learning for young and old alike. Paula has documented her projects with care and will share the evolution of her students' experiences and the ways in which a variety of projects emerged.  Examples of these projects have involved sustainability issues, with a project focused on waste reduction on the school campus, and focusing on exploring food and ourselves. School based gardens have formed a recurring content access point and theme for Paula's work with her students. These projects also have multi grade application possibilities and all involved a strong aspect of community collaboration.
Reflection: An Essential Ingredient for Learning
DESCRIPTION: Take a look at how reflection can become the guiding force behind service-learning and how it deepens understanding. Learn and practice a variety of strategies and techniques with veteran service-learning practitioners. Discuss spiral reflection. Engage in the popcorn method, a refection collage, image journaling, and scrapbook documentation. Take a look at how reflection can be based on the multiple intelligences.
Planning for Effective Student Voice and Participation
DESCRIPTION: What do we really mean when we talk about nurturing meaningful student voice, both in curriculum projects and within the life of the classroom, school, or program? Education is the foundation of our democracy and service-learning experiences that encourage genuine student voice also create opportunities for leadership. In doingso we increase student engagement, ownership, and ultimately learning outcomes. We will put a sharp and realistic lens to student voice through a veteran educator's candid reflections and suggestions. Our goal will be to identify the necessary steps, components, and needs that contribute to making meaningful student voice that is systemic and lasting. Amid a backdrop of actual project based experiences, participants will hear candid reflections and specific suggestions. We will explore a continuum of possibile entry points for embracing a pedagogical foundation that supports real student voice within the curriculum. Service-learning experiences that encourage genuine student voice also create opportunities for leadership. In doing so we increase student engagement, ownership, and ultimately learning outcomes.
Thinking Forward: Meeting the Challenges that Lie Ahead
DESCRIPTION: We will use the collective thinking and experience of the full group to think long term—identifying and problem solving potential roadblocks, unexpected changes, and unforeseen “landscape alterations” that can affect the well being and survival of even the most successful projects and programs.
Service-Learning and Assessment [optional discussion group session]
DESCRIPTION: Assessment is about observing how our students are doing and providing feedback and support so that they can do better. Involving students in the assessment process helps them understand how and why they learn. In this workshop, we’ll look at some techniques for aligning assessment with learning goals in service-learning practice, including deepening the connection between journal writing and service and aligning curricular goals with service and assessment using Connecting Service-Learning to the Curriculum. This workshop begins with a quick resource review. We then look at some powerful assessment models collected by a national study group on service-learning and assessment. The workshop concludes with a frank discussion of how assessing what students learn through service fits into the larger goals of local education. We encourage you to bring your questions and dilemmas about assessment.


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Please Note: Additional workshops may continue to be added. Check back often for updates.



 
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