Chapter 7 Twenty-First Century Skills

When I combined what I’d learned from P21 with the insights from Habits of Mind and my own ideas and experience, I ended up with a list of thirty-four skills in eleven categories:

INFUSING TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY SKILLS INTO INSTRUCTION

 

THE IMPORTANCE OF REFLECTION

For students to make constant improvements to their actions and accomplishments, they need to learn how to analyze themselves and each other, identify weak areas, and make plans to improve. That’s why we spend time every day reflecting on our actions individually and as a whole group.

One way I’ve transferred the concept of deep reflection to my students is by asking them to answer our ePortfolio reflection questions with at least two sentences: one must answer the question directly and one explains why they did it that way.

Another way I have taught my students to write reflections is by following this step-by-step process: Step 1: Describe what happened or what you did. Step 2: Interpret how things went by using one (or more) of these sets of terms: • Strengths and Weaknesses • Successes and Setbacks • Hard and Easy Step 3: What have you learned due to this experience? Step 4: Answer one (or more) of these questions: • What can you do to improve your learning? • How will you extend your learning past what is expected?

students learn to be metacognitive in their thinking.

TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY SKILLS PROGRESS REPORT

Instead, skills are rated on a scale of one to ten and allow us to track growth over time.
The main purpose of this progress report is to help students self-assess and compare their beliefs with my observations.

MAKING MATH (MORE) MEANINGFUL

Because the teacher is not available for questions, students must utilize their resources, persist, despite setbacks, and try new ways to solve problems because they know I will be looking over these assignments tomorrow. So that we finish in a timely manner, students set mini-goals for themselves and are intentional about managing their time.
This important time is where the real collaboration and communication take place! It’s when students: • Solve problems in partnerships, thinking interdependently and critically. • Ask each other questions and learn how to answer them politely and clearly. • Learn how to interact effectively with the diverse members of each partnership. They realize that, to get the task done, sometimes they need to lead and sometimes they need to follow. • Learn to become responsible for themselves and their partner. Even though the teacher is available during this time, students are required to ask “Three Before Me.” I will only help if the others around them cannot. This frees me to respond to the most difficult questions, which usually result in a quick, whole-class lesson.

GETTING STARTED IN MATH CLASS

PLANNING THE YEAR

Beginning with the end in mind helps eliminate the repetition of lessons that, while enjoyable to teach, may not actually help students achieve the goals teachers set out to achieve.