Engage! at Woodson

Librarian: Amber Creger and Shannon Arends

Teens recorded PSAs on July 28, 2010, and there was a radio broadcast of them on September 3, 2010. Listen to PSAs in MP3 format by Alexis, Josh, Marcellus, and Ryan.

In addition to the PSAs and the five discussion meetings, Woodson also created a mural project, meeting on August 11, 14, and 16, with a reception on August 18, 2010. The total attendance for all of the meetings was sixty-eight students. Woodson’s programming for each of the five themed sessions was just as exemplary as the final projects.

Who the Teens Were

Teens were recruited through the library’s junior volunteer program.

Leadership Opportunities

The two biggest leadership opportunities the teen were given were:

  • PSA Project: Teens selected a subject they deemed important for the community to know about. Then they wrote a short PSA and recorded it. The teens were responsible for the content of their recordings, as well as the style and manner of delivery. PSAs were then played on Vocalo.
  • Mural Project: As a group the teens brainstormed different themes for the mural and were then given a week to sketch a mural based on the selected theme. Teens presented their ideas to the collective group and voted to select the one they liked best. The artist of the selected design then worked with the other teens on color scheme and layout.

Tangible Opportunities to Engage! with Ideas or Materials

At every single Engage session, teens were offered some type of reflective and hands-on activity. List of offerings for each program:

  1. Growing Up

    Reflective Writing: After looking at Making Empanadas and reading a passage from House on Mango Street, teens were asked to take a few minutes to write in their journals about their own family traditions. And if they had to portray these traditions in an art form of any kind, how would they do so?
    Hands-On Activity: Migrant Worker was the last image we looked at for this session. The teens then built pinhole cameras and were given the assignment to document images of their childhood.

  2. Community

    Reflective Writing: Read Not Americans by Mara Testa and asked the teens to think about and write about how they are connected to their communities. They were asked to consider how it would feel to be placed in a new community and how they would go about to fitting in.

    Reflective Group Activity: Participants did a group brainstorming word map about their community, and included places and themes they might want featured in the mural project.
    Hands-on Activity: After looking at Tar Beach the teens were give fabric squares and markers to create their own quilt block based on their community.

  3. American Dreams

    Reflective Writing: Participants were asked to answer the following questions in a journal entry: What is the American Dream? What are your dreams for yourself?
    Reflective Activity: A monograph of Shepard Fairey’s artwork was explored and his early guerilla art was discussed. Teens were given paper and colored pencils and asked to design a sticker like Fairey that could be used to promote some cause or message they wanted to make people aware of.
    Hands-on Activity: Participants created Animoto videos based on their “American Dream.”

  4. Signs and Symbols

    Reflective Writing: Participants were asked to think about symbols and how images can be used to relay information without using text. Then they were asked to sketch out a symbol that would represent themselves or a group they belong to.
    Hands-on Activity: Participants chose a topic they felt passionate about and wrote a PSA, that was then recorded at YouMedia and played on Vocalo Radio.

  5. Participation

    Hands-on Activity: The group participated in a brainstorming activity to determine a theme for the mural in the children’s department. Participants then created sketches of potential designs and shared them with the group. Teens voted on which design they would like to pursue for their mural. It took three addition meetings to complete the mural.