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Curriculum & Resources: What Kids Can Do

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What Kids Can Do is a national nonprofit organization focused on the power of what young people can accomplish. They believe that when students have strong support and the opportunity to speak out and be heard, they can do amazing things. The youth who concern WKCD most are those marginalized by poverty, race, and language. WKCD's strategies and style are unique because they view young people as active collaborators in every phase of their work. They bring local stories, voices, and resources to international attention and speak to influential adults and young people alike. They document the good work of others as well as sponsoring their own projects.

“There’s a radical—and wonderful—new idea here… that all children could and should be inventors of their own theories, critics of other people’s ideas, analyzers of evidence, and makers of their own personal marks on the world.”

– Deborah Meier, educator


Below are two powerful resources from What Kids Can Do:

Cultural Conversations through Creative Writing

Student Writing

This mini curriculum includes three lesson plans designed to tap into your students’ creativity and engage them in thinking about place and cultural identity. Students will read George Ella Lyon’s classic “Where I’m From” poem and write their own. Poems by Langston Hughes and Gwendolyn Brooks will start a conversation about community, and a drawing exercise will stimulate visual thinking about place.

EXPLORE Cultural Conversations through Creative Writing

“First Ask, Then Listen” Teachers Guide

Teacher and student

What would happen if teachers found out what was on their students’ minds? This teachers guide offers a powerful—and wonderful—place to start communicating with students. It has tips for structuring dialogue, plus question sets and exercises to prompt discussions. By giving permission for your students to share their stories and voice their opinions, not only will you get to know them, but they will get to know you too .

EXPLORE First Ask, Then Listen Teachers Guide


Additional Resources:

For additional learning resources, explore What Kids Can Do stories, collections, and its feature on Growth Mindset (and why it matters).


What Kids Can Do

What Kids Can Do was founded in 2001 by an educator and a journalist who wanted to support youth learning in and out of school. Its stories, research, programs, and publications showcase the power of what young people can accomplish when given the opportunities and support they need and when we take their voices and ideas seriously.


The above resources accompany the March 2014 Education Connections newsletter.


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