There is so much wisdom and inspiration in our OST Community. Do you have something to share that would be helpful to share with your out-of-school time professional colleagues? Write about what you are learning and email it to AFCOST so we can publish and share with the Cambridge OST Community, and beyond.
Here are some tips to get you started Understand your audience. Who am I writing to? As an experienced OST Professional, you are familiar with your audience and know what challenges we face on a daily basis. You also know what works based on your experience. Click here to read earlier blog posts. Please reflect, write, and share what you know with your peers. Are you writing to staff who are directly working with children delivering programs in classrooms and supporting families and caregivers? Are you writing to directors who are supporting staff who are delivering programs to children and families?
Identify your topic. What are you interested in that would be of interest to your audience? Think about: what inspires you, what you are proud of in your work, what are you are learning, how you are learning, and how you are helping others grow. Brainstorm a list of things that are top of mind. You could write a reflection. Offer tips and recommend resources. You could include a sample lesson or images that will help others put into practice what you are doing that is successful? Share your story. Most of us do this work because deeply care about and want to help others. Don't be shy. We all love to learn from the wisdom and experience of our peers.
Come up with a working title that will help the reader get excited to read your post. Come up with a few different working titles, what are different ways of approaching that topic to help you focus your writing. For example, you might decide to narrow your topic to "Affirmations: Building a Positive Mindset" or "Building Self-Esteem Through Affirmations" A working title is specific and will guide your post so you can start writing.
Write an intro (and make it captivating). Start with a sentence that will grab the reader's attention. If you lose the reader in the first few sentences -- they will stop reading. You can start with a short story or a joke, show empathy with them, or share an interesting fact or statistic.Then describe the contents of the post and explain how it will address a problem or challenge the reader may be facing. This will give the reader a reason to keep reading and tell them how it will help them in their work and life.
Organize your content in an outline. Before you start writing, make a list of which points you want to cover, and the best order in which to do it. Organize the info so readers can enjoy the content. You can create -- sections, lists, tips, or a gallery. If you provide a lot of content we recommend breaking it into a few different sections using sub-headers.
Write your blog post! Now that you have your outline/template, you're ready to start writing. Use your outline as a guide do a free write to expand on all of your points. Write about what you already know, and if needed, do additional research to gather more information, examples, and data to back up your points.
Writer's block is real. Fortunately, there are plenty of online tools to help get flowing. Here are a few to get you started:
Power Thesaurus: Stuck on a word? Power Thesaurus is a crowdsourced tool that provides users with a ton of alternative word choices from a community of writers.
ZenPen: If you're having trouble staying focused, check out this distraction-free writing tool. ZenPen creates a minimalist "writing zone" that's designed to help you get words down without having to fuss with formatting right away.
Cliché Finder: Feeling like your writing might be coming off a little cheesy? Identify instances where you can be more specific using this handy cliché tool.
Here are more he resources that offer some valuable writing advice:
Proofread and edit your post. Give your blog post a once over before you email it to AFCOST. We'll also help with proofreading and editing before we format and publish your writing.
Send us images (or not). If you have an image or video that is related to your post, please sent that along, too. If not, no worries. We'll help with visual images to make the post visually attractive.
Insert a call-to-action (CTA) at the end of your post.After they read your fabulous post, what do you want the reader to do next -- implement a new practice, try out a lesson, register for a webinar or event, read a related article, etc. Inspire your readers to keep up the great work supporting youth and families and continuing the fight for equity and access to quality out-of-school time.
Write to us with any additional questions and/or resources. We look forward hearing from you!
Date last updated: March 31, 2020
We want to hear from you. We are living through an unprecedented public health crisis which has closed schools, and out-of-school time programs. As an out-of-school time professional, we invite you share what this experience has been like for you. Please emailAFCOST to share your thoughts, and perspectives. She will facilitate production and publishing blog posts. To get you started on your blog post, think about the following prompts.
How is this crisis impacted you? What are you learning from this experience?
How are you keep in touch with your co-workers?
How are you keeping in touch with the families and children and youth with whom you work?
Are you able to offer any support to help them complete school assignments at home?
Are you creating online enrichment activities with your OST staff and worried about how children can access what you are providing?
Are you wondering about what happens if and when school re-open?
Are you thinking about summer programming and what the other side of this crisis might look like?