Evaluating 21st Century Skills

In my exploration of Partnerships for 21st Century Skills website, I was excited to see that a partnership has been created with businesses, communities, government leaders, and educators to develop an understanding of the importance of 21st-century skills in the classroom.  I think this website is a great resource for educators to learn from other educators about how they are teaching 21st century skills in their classrooms.  The shared resources provide important information about how other schools have improved student performance by incorporating 21st-century skills.  The blog also offers information necessary to educators who are interested in creating a 21st-century learning environment.

Something on the site that surprised me was that the state of Utah is not currently a P21 partner or leader.  When I discovered the existence of the 21st Century Readiness Act, I felt like this was something that should require the involvement of all states.  This Act recognizes the importance of instruction that produces knowledge and skills beyond reading, writing, and math by incorporating critical thinking, communication, creativity, and collaboration to prepare students for college and careers (Partnership for 21st Century Skills, n.d.b).  The incorporation of technology into classroom learning can help to promote these skills beyond the core subjects.  Students without access to technology in their learning are left on the sidelines in a 21st century society, and this makes becoming a P21 partner a priority to every state (Partnership for 21st Century Skills, n.d.a).  The application to become a partner is free and is something I am interested in looking into further.

One thing I disagree with that the website’s mission implies is that fusing the 3Rs and the 4Cs will promote success for students in their futures.  The 3Rs include reading, writing, and arithmetic, and the 4Cs include critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity (Partnership for 21st Century Skills, n.d.b).  I disagree with fusing as the only method of student academic success because I believe that the 3Rs and 4Cs are only effective in supporting student achievement if they incorporate meaningful learning experiences.  Teachers can establish meaningful 21st century learning experiences by providing relevant content, connecting learning to real-world experiences, and promoting interactions with others (Partnership for 21st Century Skills, n.d.a).  Teachers can create meaningful learning experiences by integrating technology into their instruction.

The implication of educating in a contemporary classroom is that I will have the knowledge to teach students using 21st-century skills that are imperative for their success.  I can do this by building on the core subjects I already teach with the implementation of technology and project-based learning.  “Core academic subjects remain the foundation of good education” (Partnership for 21st Century Skills, n.d.a).  By incorporating technology into my instruction of the core subjects, I will create an environment that supports the 3Rs and 4Cs in learning content to promote academic achievement.  The implication for my students is that they are more prepared for successful futures in a 21st century society.

Partnership for 21st Century Skills. (n.d.a). A report and mile guide for 21st century skills. Washington DC: Author. Retrieved from http://www.p21.org/storage/documents/P21_Report.pdf

Partnership for 21st Century Skills.  (n.d.b).  Retrieved from http://www.p21.org/index.php

Utilizing Blogs in the Classroom

I teach all of the content areas in second grade.  I think there are several possibilities to use blogging in all content areas.  To get started with blogging, I would incorporate a blog into my classroom during reading centers.  Blogs engage students to think about what they read through the sharing of ideas, asking questions, and responding to other students’ work (Richardson, 2010).  I currently have reading centers arranged so that when I meet with a group of students, other students are working on The Daily Five.  The Daily Five provides students with choices to practice literacy skills when they are not in my reading group.  The options include read to self, reading to someone, work with words, work on writing, and listen to reading.  I think any of these literacy activities would work well in a blog.

I would want a blog to serve a couple of purposes during The Daily Five.  One purpose I would like it to serve is for students to write about the books they read.  Blogging encourages students read and think more critically to prepare for writing (Richardson, 2010).  Students could share the title of the book, a few sentences about the book, and whether or not they would recommend the book to their friends.  Having students share their reading would enhance the purpose of The Daily Five because it would provide a purpose for reading.  This purpose is established because students will know that after they read, they are expected to share what they have read in the blog.  Using a blog to share books could also get students excited to know what their friends are reading and give me insight as to what my students like to read.

Another purpose a blog could serve during The Daily Five is a way to respond to writing prompts.  When students work on writing during The Daily Five, they are encouraged to write about a topic of interest to them or respond to a writing prompt.  I often find that when I give second-grade students a notebook and tell them to write, I see more drawings than writing.  Student writing also does not get shared with others due to a lack of time.  With blogs, every student has the opportunity to share their work with the class (Laureate Education, n.d.).  I could use a blog to create better accountability for students to write and share their work.  Student writing is enhanced using a blog because students are exposed to other students’ writing to the prompt and would have the expectation to respond to their peers’ writing.  The expectation for blogging responses would require students to post a comment to other students’ posts by stating something they liked, asking a question, providing ideas to improve, and suggesting something they could add to their post.

I am excited to integrate blogs into my reading centers.  I think blogging will enhance student learning by providing students with a purpose and accountability for their reading and writing.  To further enhance student learning, collaboration with other schools to share learning is something I am interesting in exploring.  I think blogs are a great tool to improve this instructional context because it does something different for learning and supports the learning task that students are already doing.

References:

Laureate Education (Producer). (n.d.). Spotlight on technology: Blogging in the classroom [Video file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu

Richardson, W. (2010). Blogs, wikis, podcasts, and other powerful web tools for classrooms (3rd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin.

Integrating Technology into my Classroom

The rapid increase of technology has inspired me to learn more about how I can effectively integrate technology into my classroom. I am a second grade teacher in a classroom with ten iPads and access to several other technology tools. I am also a part of a technology committee at my school where I collaborate with others on ideas for using technology to aid students in learning content. The educational opportunities I can provide using technology are endless. To increase my knowledge of how I can enhance student learning using these tools, I am working on my Masters in Science Education-Integrating Technology into the Classroom. I have recently been introduced to blogs as a way to interactively use technology. Using this blog, I am looking forward to learning from other teachers about how they implement technology into their classrooms and discovering ideas I can take back to my own classroom. I hope to use these ideas to create meaningful learning experiences for my students and successfully prepare them for the future.