Tagged “21st Century Skills”

Walter McKenzie

Education’s Attention Deficit Dilemma

In the blogging era everyone can publish their ideas and opinions and grow quite a following doing so; the democratization of information in practice. This proliferating idea exchange is part and parcel of Thomas Friedman's flat earth analogy. Developing one's voice and being heard is a good thing. But it's not enough. If we carry the flat earth metaphor to its logical conclusion, opinions freely rolling across a flattened sphere clatter, collide, and ultimately roll right off the edge. (I just had a flashback to playing Crossfire circa 1970.) Why settle for a random collision of opinions deciding which ideas carry the day? Not all opinions are equal. They need to be vetted for merit.

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Rich McKinney

Moving Beyond the Textbook: Closing the Book on the Textbook-Dependent Classroom

A few weeks ago I was watching my daughters as they were working through drills during their weekly tennis lessons. I observed a group of elementary kids dutifully take their places, hit the ball, and then move to the next station. It was simple, efficient, and monotonous. Though they were learning the basics of tennis, the kids simply weren't having much fun. Their coach must have noticed because he immediately changed pace and led all the kids to an adjoining field next to the courts for a lively game of freeze tag. All the kids were laughing and loving it, though I found that it bore little resemblance to anything even remotely related to tennis. I was wrong. What looked to me to be free play was really the development of skills such as acceleration, lateral speed, and footwork. This coach recognized that sometimes you can leave the court and have fun while accomplishing goals.

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Walter McKenzie

Education in Your Backyard

ASCD Annual Conference and Exhibit Show

As a director of Constituent Services at ASCD, I work with the best and the brightest educators leading our affiliates around the world. It is a sincere honor and privilege. And this time of year, as affiliate boards begin meeting, reflecting, and planning, I have the opportunity to work with them virtually and face-to-face and support them in their important work. Representing ASCD, I enjoy bringing the collective resources of the world's premier professional education association to our leaders in the field. What I enjoy the most, though, is learning from our affiliates as they share their successes and opportunities.

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Maria Hersey

What Is Missing in the Common Core Standards?

Life in the 21st century is evolving at a rapid and challenging pace, creating a renewed focus on the lack of fit between what education is and what it needs to be. In the United States, the most recent call for education reform is the implementation of the Common Core State Standards, which highlight the importance of curriculum alignment and integration, a respect for multiple perspectives, and the provision of a well-rounded education that prepares students for college and career readiness.

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ASCD Whole Child Bloggers

Our Top 10 Blog Posts in 2012

In the past year, experts and practitioners in the field, whole child partners, and ASCD staff have shared their stories, ideas, and resources to help you ensure that each child, in each school, in each community is healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged and prepared for success in higher education, employment, and civic life. These are the top 10 posts you read in 2012.

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Thom Markham

Ten Reasons Why Common Core Standards Require a Whole Teacher

When teachers and parents hear the term Common Core State Standards, many have a tendency to think of the new standards as a simple upgrade. In fact, the standards represent an entirely new operating system.

This is good news for the whole child movement. The Common Core standards focus on an inquiry approach to education. Inquiry can't be done through direct instruction alone; it requires student cooperation, engagement, and persistence—all attributes drawn from a pool of social and emotional resources. Without addressing this aspect of human performance, the standards will fail.

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Klea Scharberg

Free Webinar: Critical Strategies for Empowering 21st Century Teachers with Coaching and Capacity Building

Andrew Miller

Join ASCD Faculty member Andrew Miller for an exciting, free webinar to learn critical strategies for empowering teachers with coaching and capacity building.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012, 3:00 p.m. eastern time
Register now!

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Andrew Miller

Ensuring Critical Thinking in Project-Based Learning

Project-based learning (PBL) can create engaging learning for all students, but that depth of learning requires careful, specific design. Part of this engagement is the element of critical thinking. Complex problem solving and higher-order thinking skills, coupled with other elements such as authenticity, voice, and choice, create an engaging context for learning.

One of the essential elements of a PBL project is the teaching and assessing of 21st century skills, including collaboration, communication, and critical thinking. The key takeaway here is teaching AND assessing. You cannot assess something you do not teach. How do we teach critical thinking? Through intentional instruction and intentional experiences. Therefore we need to make sure that the overall PBL journey is one that has both.

Here are some elements of a PBL project that you can double- and triple-check to make sure your students are critically thinking.

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Klea Scharberg

Encourage Kids to Ask Questions and Have Fun

In this month's Educational Leadership magazine, McREL's Bryan Goodwin shares research that shows when students are engaged in learning and can connect it to real-world interests and goals—intrinsic and extrinsic motivation—both standardized curricula and child-development needs are being served. As teachers, we can personalize curriculum standards to student interests and tap into their need for autonomy.

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Celina Brennan

Student Learning Communities

Professional learning communities (PLCs) are the topic of many conversations within education: the culture that is imperative for success, the goals we choose to focus on, the protocols we should follow, the structure that must be in place, and the realities that we face. There is an abundance of research I have read to support how PLCs are necessary in improving students' learning. I myself belong to an amazing PLC (as well as many micro PLCs within my PLC). But my thoughts lately have been on how to take the characteristics of successful PLCs and apply them within the walls of the classroom for students.

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