Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Evaluating 21st Century Skills

Evaluating 21st Century Skills

My reaction to the web site:
This is the first time I have ever looked at this website. Obviously, lots of time and effort went into designing the website. Personally, I found it a bit confusing as well as a platform for selling different books and materials pertaining to the 21st Century concept. Upon first exploring this site, it seemed as if that was all I was finding, authors plugging their books. Also, when I was exploring different links, I was getting lost and not able to find certain information or pages again. But as I continued to explore the site, there appeared to be a lot of well-known businesses affiliated with promoting 21st century development. This got me thinking about the corporations within my own backyard and the potential and positive impact they could have on the schools around here. One of the businesses is well known for shipping parcels all over the world, but less well known for helping the schools. These companies are getting free tax incentives to stay here which in turn lowers tax monies to fund our schools.

What information on the site surprised you?
Reading the Mission Statement was a nice surprise. This really helped me cement what the 21st Century philosophy is all about.

“Mission Statement”: To serve as a catalyst to position 21st century readiness at the center of US K12 education by building collaborative partnerships among education, business, community and government leaders.
Another surprise was learning that some states were already partnered with businesses and were actively engaged in this program. I wondered if my state of Tennessee has taken the initiative to become involved.

Another surprise was the article about NEA’s partnerships for 21st Century Skills to promote global competence. This article detailed the importance of incorporating 21st Century skills into today’s curriculum and for all students Pre-K through College. Additionally, it stated the importance for educators to revamp their teachings strategies and curriculum so that all students are able to thrive in this global society.

Do you disagree with anything on the site? Explain.

As I found and read the overview of State Leadership Initiative stating in preparing students with the 21st century skills and in order for them to succeed in life, that all students need to be successful in school, work, and life and maintain all of these skills. Not every student is college bound. Not every student has the academic ability to master grade level curriculum and the desire or assistance to seek higher education. Not every student has a supportive family life to help them succeed and it is left up to the teacher to do everything. 21st Century skills must always include the traditional basic core subjects of reading, writing, and arithmetic. These subjects must be taught competently and never left out even when technology is moving to the forefront.

What are the implications for you students, and for you as a contemporary educator?

Becoming more enlightened with the reality of needing 21st century skills for the students of today was never more apparent as I explored this website. Realizing that I need to start instilling some of the skills my students will need to be able to integrate effectively in tomorrow’s workforce upon graduation is a bit overwhelming. If I was a middle or high school teacher, it might be easier to understand the urgency of trying to fit technology and 21st century skills into my daily lessons. But knowing I teach elementary special education students and only having one hour for reading per day, I don’t have enough time to cover their individual IEP goals and the reading curriculum and now this. Please don’t misunderstand me; everyday I teach my students communication and collaboration skills and how to get along with each other and even with those for whom they don’t agree with or care about. I also teach my students to have high expectations for themselves, as I have for each of them, and to be hard workers and always try to stretch themselves while giving their absolute best.
With all of this said, I am a teacher, whether it’s elementary, middle, or high school, and we are all teaching the same students, just at different times, so I need to do my part in preparing our students for the global society by finding ways to adapt more of the 21st century skills into my classroom.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Blogging from the Classroom

While exploring the world of blogs and trying to become more familiar with them, I was also thinking how I would incorporate them in my classroom. Deciding to google “blogging with special education students”, many sites suddenly appeared to my discretion. John Lloyd author of Teach Effectively! Blog stated this blog was intended to be used as a source for current news and opinions about effective teaching focusing on children with special education needs. John Lloyd shares how to use this blog as a tool of information as well as provide examples of how to reference properly.
As I was thinking of what purpose my blog could serve, it occurred to me to create a centralized location for collecting information and ideas which correlates directly with the specialized materials, curriculum, and instruction our school district requires of the special education teachers. It would be simple to gather teacher contact information and spread the word of this collaborative ongoing adventure.
Since the majority of special education teachers from my district are asked to use the same reading and math curriculum, we could compile a plethora of ideas of how to enhance and/or provide supplemental activities for each lesson. This blog would offer more of a venue for teachers to share ideas, concerns or even student’s work, allowing student’s access wouldn’t be productive.
I believe creating a blog for teachers at this time while planning for possible future expansion to include my students would best serve my needs as well as provide the needed time to practice my blogging techniques before extending to students. (Plus there is a confidentiality issue which encompasses special ed students)
I currently teach special education within a resource setting for K-3 graders.