Wednesday, July 20, 2011

21st Century Skills: Are Our Students Learning Them.

21st Century skills are what our students need in this day in age.  No one can predict what jobs will be available in 6, 7 or 10 years from now.  The only thing we can do is to prepare our students for what we think the future will hold.

The 21st century website was interesting to say the least.  I found it very informative.  I feel that the site contains a lot of very important information about the 21st century skills and what they involve.  I like how it goes through and gives you an outline of the student outcomes.  It also shows you the topics and ideas which should be taught for 21st century skills to be achieved.

What surprised me most about the site was that it listed all the states that have taken the initiative of implementing and setting up guidelines for the 21st century skills.  It is very encouraging to see the list of states.  I would hope that not long from now that list will have doubled.  Even though the economy is not great right now, there are still plenty of things we can do to help prepare our students for the 21st century.

What I did not like about the site was that it did not have any place to blog or post ideas.  We as educators are the greatest resource for ideas, projects and knowledge.  We should be contributing to the development of the 21st century skills.  The greatest asset we can provide is how we implement the lessons and ideas into our classrooms.  It is one thing to come up with what needs to be taught, but it is a whole different approach when actually implementing the ideas and seeing what works and what does not.  I did not necessarily disagree with any of the information on the website, however I do think that more could be added.  The possibilities are endless on the information that could be presented. 

Not only do I need to teach my students what they need to know to help them be successful contributing members of society and the workforce, but they also need to realize that it is not a one sided conversation.  We can teach them everything we know, show them a million different things, but if they do not realize how this is going to affect them and contribute then they will not succeed.  After I have gone over certain information numerous times, I tell them that it is the last time I am going over it so they better ask questions.  If they come up to me after I have finished going over it, I tell them to go ask a classmate.  By the second or third week of school they know to pay attention.

If our students do not get the necessary information and develop the necessary skills then they are going to far behind when they enter the real world after high school.  With all of the cell phones and computers, our students are developing there 21st century skills and might not even know it.  We need to elaborate and go above and beyond to teach them the necessary skills to be successful

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Blogs: Are They Useful In The Classroom and How Do We Use Them

I would use the blog in my classroom to get feedback from my students.  We create many projects in my wood shop class and I am always am in need of ideas for students projects.  I could use the blog to post different project ideas and get feedback from my students to see who is interested on doing that project.  I could set up a blog for each class and that way the students would be able to narrow there search for project ideas.

This blog would serve many purposes for my classes. It would allow my students to have a bigger part in the class.  They would be more involved and would be able to have a decision in what happens in the class.  By giving them more control over the curriculum in the class, in my feeling, they will be less of a behavioral problem.  I have tried to get my students involved in the class, more than just completing the assignments.  I have assigned student assistants for each class and those students come in during a study hall to help out my students on projects.

This is a place for students to interact about content.  They will be commenting  on project ideas and new topics that will be covered in class.  Some students will not have access to this blog at home so i will allow them some time during class or they will be allowed to blog during a study hall.

These blogs will help enhance my lessons greatly.  Getting my students actually involved in creating the lessons will help them learn the material.  It will make the lessons full of material that the students have decided on learning.

I teach grades 7-12.  In 7th and 8th grade, i have every student.  It is mandated by New York State.  In grades 9 thru 12 they have a choice whether to take my class or not.  I have to turn students away because i just cannot handle more than 18 students per class.

Blogs are great tools for instructional context because they allow for students to interact with each other and the teacher.  This is a great communication tool.  Some students might not be very active in class and this could be a place where they feel comfortable talking with each other.