Archive for March, 2009

The Partnership for 21st Century Skills

Posted in Uncategorized on March 24, 2009 by derrickmgreen

I recently visited the site The Partnership for 21st Century Skills http://www.21stcenturyskills.org/index.php for an assignment in the class I am taking. At first glance, this website looks like another compilation of multiple ideas about how to accelerate the evolution of the American school system from its Industrial Age foundation to the Technological/Information Age. The partnership’s site describes its mission is to, “Serve as a catalyst to position 21st century skills at the center of US K-12 education by building collaborative partnerships among education, business, community and government leaders”. As I began to explore the site I was surprised at the amount of input the site receives from a multitude of different sources in the public and private sector. The site serves as a meeting place for giants from the academic sector as well as the private market and not only informs educators and educational policy-makers but provides real, usable resources for individual educators as well as school leadership teams to help transition into a 21st century school. The partnership’s sister-site Route 21 not only explains what a 21st century classroom should look like (and there are MANY different models), but also gives teachers tools such as lesson plans, collaborative team building exercises, and school leadership guidelines to help schools make the transition quickly and easily.

            After perusing the site over the past few days, I do have some concern about this organizations partnership between big business and public education. Although I see the urgency to have input from the companies that many of my students will, most likely, one day work for, I hesitate to allow these businesses to develop curriculum and dictate to federal, state, and local governments what should be included in the classroom. A healthy dialogue about the transformation of the public, educational system requires the input from business, government, and community, but I worry when business can begin to have more control over what is taught in the classroom.

            Although I have some mild concerns, I see this website as incredibly useful for any educator/school looking to move into the 21st century. For my own students, I can adapt many of the technological based lessons to my own assigned curriculum and focus on the skills (creativity and innovation, critical thinking and problem solving, communication and collaboration, information literacy, media literacy, ICT literacy, and life and career skills) that this organization has found will help all of my students succeed in the 21st century workplace. As a contemporary educator, the information on this site will assist me in transforming my classroom, through the incorporation of technology, as well as a shift to inquiry-driven, project-based assignments with multitudes of diverse assessments, and developing the foundational knowledge my students will need for the future.

 

 

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Blogging Shakespeare

Posted in Uncategorized on March 10, 2009 by derrickmgreen

I am an 8th grade, literature teacher and am postulating on ways to incorporate blogs into my upcoming unit on Shakespeare. Originally, the unit consists of a class long introduction to the Bard and an in-house designed webquest that groups of students complete to gain a better understanding of life in Shakespeare’s time, followed by a reading of one of the comedies. (http://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/departments/media/shakespeare/asyoulikeitwebquest.htm)

I think that rather than have the webquest completed in class, I will allow students to explore the different facets of Elizabethan England through a blog. I will create a blog and compose multiple entries that are filled with links to the sites the students would originally visit in the webquest. Students can then compile the necessary information regarding their assigned job by exploring the blog entries as well as the websites they visit from the blog. Once students have completed this information, students will compose a blog entry from the point-of-view of their assigned Elizabethan character, something along the lines of, “Describe a day in your character’s life”. Students will be required to respond to two of their classmate’s blog entries over the course of the project and make sure that their posts are additive to the overall discussion of understanding the Elizabethan era. A second component of this lesson would involve the facilitator of the blog, me, posting various Shakespearean sonnets on the blog. In class, I would model how to look at sonnets and cover the basic construction and thematic ties that bind the sonnets together. With this information I will have students respond to the sonnets with their own interpretation as well as comment and add on to their peer’s interpretations.

            The blogs themselves would primarily highlight student’s creative writing abilities, as well as their analytical abilities as they interpret the sonnets. The students would be assessed using a modified writing rubric with a focus on their grasp of voice, mechanics, and appropriateness. Using a blog in this way will, hopefully, allow students to all comment in a shared environment and receive positive feedback from their peers. Blogs, in general, serve as an excellent instructional tool as it gives the students a greater sense of personal freedom outside the classroom and allows them to use technological skills that they have already acquired, mainly searching the internet for useful information, while demonstrating mastery over the curriculum guidelines.

            I know this lesson isn’t quite perfect and I still have many more hours of planning ahead of me before I’ll be prepared for the unit, but let me know what you think.

ATAE Mission Statement

Posted in Uncategorized on March 2, 2009 by derrickmgreen

Although I’m relatively new to the blogosphere, I have grown up with new and burgeoning technologies my entire life. From my own school-days as a student to my days as a teacher, I have been and am still surrounded by new technologies and want to start a dialouge about best practices, pedagogy, and the incorporation of new technologies (particularly web 2.0) into the secondary education classroom. Although I am a literature teacher, I look forward to hearing from educators of different subjects as well as fellow bloggers not involved in education, in a positive dialogue about how to make teaching more meaningful for both students and educators in the 21st Century.