NCREL: North Central Regional Education Laboratory
Beyond the Bell | Linkages | Graphic-enhanced Version of the Site

About | Hour | Half Day | Full Day

Training: Full Day Session
Looking at Linkages: All the Elements

Summary

This day-long session looks at all the characteristics of successful linkages: homework help and tutoring, enrichment activities, internal communication, shared space, and family involvement. Using a "pre/post" model, participants will reflect on where they are programmatically and consider where they might head.

Depending on the size of the group, the time allotted for discussions, and the duration of the lunch break, this training can be accomplished in from five to seven hours. It is designed for a group of 12 to 24 participants. The timings below are based on a 7-hour session, with an hour for lunch and two 10-minute breaks. These timings are suggestions only. Please modify the schedule as needed for your setting.

The training is divided into three main sections:

Introducing Linkages, Viewing and Discussing the Video (Linkages in detail), and Looking Back, Thinking Ahead.

Preparation:

1. Preview video and Web site, paying particular attention to the Think with Us and Planning Tools sections of the site.

2. Secure chart paper, easels or whiteboards, and pens.

3. Make handouts of the Planning Tools for the group.

4. Assure that equipment for showing the video is in place and that the setup is adequate for everyone to hear and see the video clearly.

5. If the final activity is to be done on the Web (it may be done on paper alternatively) make sure that at least six computers with live Internet connections are available. It is a good idea to have backup print-outs of the Think with Us activities, even if you intend to use the Web site.

6. Print out and modify this document by adding times and other notes for use as a guide during the training.

7. If you wish to use handouts or the white board for discussion questions for each segment, prepare these as well. The questions are the bulleted points below.

Day of the training: No later than 30 minutes before the start of the session: Post several sheets of chart paper around the room, or designate areas of a white board. Label each sheet or area with the name of one of the linkages: homework help, enrichment activities, communication, family involvement, and shared space between the regular and after-school day. Have a few extra sheets posted for overflow.


Before Viewing: Introducing Linkages (one hour)

Introduce yourself and if the group is small (less than 10), ask them to introduce themselves, as well. Divide the participants into groups of three- or four-person teams. In timed two-minute intervals, have the groups stop at each "station," and write down ideas for implementing each linkage. (A station is each piece of chart paper or area of a white board in the room.) Instruct them that an idea can appear only once on each page. This will encourage participants to be creative, especially by the time groups get to the last piece of paper. End the activity by asking the group who started each station to make sense of the information and ideas posted (five minutes for each station). At the end of the day, participants will review how their initial ideas compare to what they discover in the training.


Viewing and Discussing the Video (appx: four hours, allowing one hour for each video segment).

These may be divided into two segments in the morning and two in the afternoon. In addition to a lunch break between segments two and three, it is suggested that you have a short break between the other segments.

For each segment, the training has three components which you should complete in 50-60 minutes, total. These components are:

1. Points to watch for in which the facilitator introduces questions related to that segment and linkage and asks the participants to take notes on specific elements of each program. (1-3 minutes)

2. Viewing the excerpt during which participants should take notes. (15 minutes)

3. Discussion and activities related to that linkage and excerpt. (35-40 minutes)

Begin with the first segment: Gordon Middle School. This case study begins the video; the other three follow in order.

Gordon Middle School: Homework
Points to watch for: (The facilitator may wish to have these questions as a handout or written on a white board or easel in advance.) Ask the participants to take notes on these specific elements as they watch the excerpt.

View the excerpt. Don't forget to make notes for yourself as you watch the video segment. (15 minutes)

Discussion/Activities. (35-40 minutes)

Participants, in their small groups, should discuss and compare their answers to the questions. Each group should then share their comments with the whole group.

As a whole group, review the Homework Sharing Tool in the Planning Tools section of this Web site. You may wish to print out copies of this tool for everyone in advance. After the participants have reviewed the Homework Sharing Tool, ask them this:

"Keeping in mind the needs and challenges of your own program, design a homework sharing tool that would work for your school-day teachers and after-school staff."

Participants should then work individually on this task.

Discuss the results as a group, asking them to compare their insights to the notes they took as they watched the segment. One question to start discussion: How does what they have worked on compare to the agendas used at Gordon Middle School?

A short break after this first segment may be appropriate.

Thousand Oaks Elementary: Enrichment activities
Points to watch for: (The facilitator may wish to have these questions as a handout or written on a white board or easel in advance.) Ask the participants to take notes on these specific elements as they watch the excerpt.

View the excerpt. Don't forget to make notes for yourself as you watch the video segment. (15 minutes)

Discussion/Activities. (35-40 minutes)

Participants, in their small groups, should discuss and compare their answers to the questions. Each group should then share their comments with the whole group.

After this discussion, ask each participant to take a current theme in his or her curriculum and design an after-school curriculum for one week, incorporating complementary enrichment activities. Include objectives, staff or volunteers, space, and material needs. After they have worked on this for 15-20 minutes, ask for participants to review their curricula in the context of the notes they took as they watched the segment. Then have everyone share plans with the group and elicit responses.

This is the half-way point in the training and a lunch break is now appropriate.

Big Rapids Middle School: Internal communication
Points to watch for: (The facilitator may wish to have these questions as a handout or written on a white board or easel in advance.) Ask the participants to take notes on these specific elements as they watch the excerpt.

View the excerpt. Don't forget to make notes for yourself as you watch the video segment. (15 minutes)

Discussion/Activities. (35-40 minutes)

Participants, in their small groups, should discuss and compare their answers to the questions. Each group should then share their comments with the whole group.

As a whole group, have the participants review the Generic Memo Template in the Planning Tools section of this Web site. You may wish to have copies of this printed out in advance for all participants. Ask each participant to draft an example memo to a specific person involved in his or her after-school program, using this memo as a template.

After they have worked on this for 15-20 minutes, ask participants to review their memos with the group, asking them whom they addressed the memo to and why. Also ask how frequently they would need to communicate with this person and if there are other methods (telephone or e-mail, for instance) they would use. As you conduct this conversation, ask participants to review the notes made during the viewing section of the activity, and to consider whether emphasizing linkages between the school day and after-school programs when communicating makes cooperation easier.

A short break after this segment may be appropriate.

Esperanza Elementary School: Space, Communication, and Enrichment Activities
Points to watch for: (The facilitator may wish to have these questions as a handout or written on a white board or easel in advance.) Ask the participants to take notes on these specific elements as they watch the excerpt.

View the excerpt. Don't forget to make notes for yourself as you watch the video segment. (15 minutes)

Discussion/Activities. (35-40 minutes)

Participants, in their small groups, should discuss and compare their answers to the questions. Each group should then share their comments with the whole group.

Ask each participant to take a piece of paper and divide it into two columns with the headings "current" and "future" with a vertical line dividing them. Ask each participant to list in the "current" column all the ways in which they communicate with parents/guardians in their after-school programs now. After they have completed this, ask them to look at each entry in the "current" column and ask how that might be changed and improved; note these ways in the "future" column.

Ask participants to share the contents of their "current" and "future" columns. In particular, you may ask them what the easiest change in communicating with home might be, and also what the most challenging one might be. At the close of this discussion, refer to the notes made during the viewing.

This concludes the Viewing and Discussing the Video section of the training.


Looking Back, Thinking Ahead (1 hour)

Divide the participants into six groups (these may be new groups if you did not have six before; if you have six, there is no need for new groups). Assign each group to one of the six Think with Us questions from the Web site. If you have six or more computers, ask each group to complete the activity online. If you do not, print out all six question and answer sheets in advance, and distribute only the question sheets at this time.

Have the groups answer the questions they have been assigned. Then ask them to review their answers in comparison to the answers from the Web site (or the printed answer sheet). Come together as a group, and ask each group to report their answers and to compare and contrast it with the answer sheet responses.

At the conclusion of this activity, encourage each participant to do this on his or her own for the remaining questions.

Now return to each of the posted idea sheets, and compare your initial ideas to what you've learned from each school and the day's activities. Mark on these sheets to modify comments (using a different color pen) and use a second sheet to add new comments. After you have gone through each sheet, ask participants to identify some of the strategies and activities they might try in their own programs.

Wrap Up

Ask each participant to identify two new ideas spurred by this training, ideas that they will take back to their own programs. Thank participants and encourage them to visit this Web site for additional ideas and information on creating effective after-school programs.


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