A way of thinking, a way of learning, a way of utilizing technology tools and a way of learning life skills exemplifies 21st century learning.
Throughout the school district, teachers have been attending professional development offered by their colleagues to review and to learn strategies to address these 21st century learning skills. In classrooms all over the district, I have seen examples of this strategic instruction of 21st century learning skills. Most recently, at Stone Hill School, Ms. Brown’s and Mrs. Hart’s sixth grade students shared their math and social studies project which demonstrated these skills. In math, the students have been learning about percentages, ratios and fractions; the foundation for algebra. What was particularly interesting to me was how the students worked at learning these essential algebraic building blocks. Instead of a lecture and paper and pencil answer sheets, the students planned a three course dinner utilizing units of measure for each of the items on the menu. Students selected the food items and researched the serving size as a unit of measure. All of the information was entered on excel spreadsheets, cost was calculated for each student and for the class as a whole. As the students presented their project, it was obvious they had participated in peer-to-peer discussions though debate, listening, and writing. Students were highly engaged. Likewise, they had worked collaboratively to solve problems they encountered. Ms. Brown’s class used these concepts but applied them to a travel problem. Both classes shared their results in a PowerPoint presentation in front of both classes.
This is a way of learning which pushes and drives our students thinking. It’s challenging and rigorous. I am confident that our students will not only meet this challenge but exceed our expectations. These skills will prepare students for jobs that do not exist yet.