Do we long for the days when "times were simpler"? But really, were they? It seems to me like things are quite simple for us in 2020. Well...despite the effects of the pandemic.
What am I thinking about 21st Century Learning? That feels like a loaded baked potato with no bacon. You know, because it's 2020, and I have "Bacon Ban" on my October 2020 Bingo card.
It's AAAALLLLL about 21st Century Learning! It's a buzz word, a catch phrase, a taboo---one that will send shivers up your spine and down your neck and then through your socks to the tiniest tips of your toes. I can't get away from it. I eat it. I sleep on it. I dream of it. I work with it. I work FOR it. I learn about it. ARGH!
I enjoy teaching students how to be 21st century learners. I enjoy seeing them helping each other as we ALL navigate this technology during the middle of a pandemic, and now fires upon fires, upon FIRES! But we all need a break. My eyes hurt at 3:00 from TOO MUCH SCREEN TIME!
I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels like I'm being pulled in a million directions, and everything shocks me, only for a split second. I'm in survival mode. I have family members who lost their home in August; friends who were evacuated this past week; friends who've lost their homes; friends who've lost their business, their livlihoods, and it isn't stopping.
So if we're wanting to enter students into this chaos right now, let's be gentle with them. Give them FUN 21st century learning.
School is cancelled tomorrow. I'm late writing this post. I cannot concentrate.
What does it take to be in the 21st century and have obtained skills ready for it? As a teacher, I'm constantly asking myself that. As a coach, I'm wondering what skills I can share with my colleagues to help them too.
This week, I watched three videos of examples of 21st century skills. One was from six years ago, and although slightly dated (because like technology, teaching practices are always evolving) it is still relevent to today's teaching. In this particular video, kindergarten students demonstrate 21st Century skills for self-direction. Students are able to express their learning goals, make choices about their learning, articulate their plans for learning, and demonstrate the ability to self-direct during independent work time. All these things are neccessary to being a self-driven, responsible student and life-long learner.
The second video I watched was how an elementary school was using videography and voice & choice to teach content curriculum to upper grade students. The students were sharing "Scar Stories" through personal narrative writing strategies. Students created their own videos using a green screen, graphics, and even voiceover work. The teacher guided them through the use of the technology, and then turned them loose to create. The teacher also was there to act as a mentor to answer questions and help push students to write in detail.
The final video was from a high school. In the video, students learned U.S. economics, current events, and math during a "Shark Tank" project. In this project, students design and create a mock business. They create a business plan, track spending and income, and even pitch their company idea to members of the community who pretend to be investors from the show "Shark Tank." The teacher even wears a cute shark hat! This lesson allows the students to take charge of their own learning and relate it to real-world problems. It also introduces students to skills they may need after high school, such as tracking spending and earnings.
Overall, the three videos were fantastic. Knowing that from Kinder through high school, 21st century learning is happening, gives me hope for the future.
Sarah Magallano teaches 5th grade. She also coaches teachers on integrating art & engineering into their lesson plans.