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Assessing 21st Century Skills

Assessing 21st Century Skills
Recently, one of the teachers who is participating in our district’s 21st Century Learning grant project came to talk with me about assessing 21 century skills – one of the expectations for teachers in this project. Her observation was that students frequently practice the skills when engaged in research or project based learning. The thing she was struggling, with, though, was how to “grade it.” Assessing skills like collaboration, information literacy, creativity, self-direction, and critical thinking seems like a difficult task–when you think of assessment as “grading.” To understand what is meant by assessment of 21st century skills we need to examine the term “assessment.” So to effectively assess skills and habits of mind –we must design a performance task for the students. One of the most difficult tasks of designing an effective formative assessment tool for 21st century skills is deciding what criteria should be included.

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Write a Great Authentic Task Project-based Learning engages students in projects that allow them to construct their own knowledge and develop authentic products while dealing with real-world issues. In order to challenge students on this level, it is helpful to frame their work with an authentic task. Authentic tasks require students to demonstrate proficiency by applying existing knowledge to solve a real-world problem. Authentic tasks create a bridge between what is learned in the classroom and why this knowledge is important to the world outside of the classroom.

Why Every School Needs an 'Innovation Day' Google’s policy of 20 percent time—giving employees plenty of free time work on whatever they want—is world famous for being the birthplace of innovative products— most famously, Gmail. But what would happen if schools gave students a similar amount of unstructured free time and allowed them to take control of their own learning? This spring Matthew Bebbington, a high school physical education teacher in the U.K., decided to find out. He organized a school-wide "Innovation Day" that let 80 students between the ages of 11-15 choose what and how to learn. re-mediating assessment: Can We Really Measure "21st Century" Skills? The members of the 21st Century Assessment Project were asked a while ago to respond to four pressing questions regarding assessment of “21st Century Skills.” These questions had come via program officers at leading foundations, including Connie Yowell at MacArthur’s Digital Media and Learning Initiative, which funds our Project. I am going to launch my efforts to blog more during my much-needed sabbatical by answering the first question, with some help from my doctoral student Jenna McWilliams. As Dan Koretz nicely illustrated in the introduction to his 2008 book, , the answers to questions about educational testing are never simple. We embrace strongly situative and participatory view of knowing and learning, which is complicated to explain to those who do not embrace it.

Pearltrees Social Library – Collate and Collaborate Posted on September 2, 2013 by R Chambers So this holiday I have developed a new addiction! Pearltrees! Pearltrees is a fantastic visual and collaborative social library Initiative, Connection and Challenge: Hexagonal Learning For literacy this term our intermediate school has been learning and discovering all about significant moments in history. In particular, one of the main focuses has been racism and civil rights. As a whole, the students have been examining the impact of Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Rosa Parks and even Michael Jackson’s influence on race relations through song. The learning, overall, has been powerful and the students have been strongly engaged with the content. I’ve been thinking about thinking and reading more and more about hexagonal learning - via Chris Harte in particular. This model seems simple to implement, yet a fabulous means for getting the students to discuss, justify and even argue.

‘Philosophy for children’ isn’t real philosophy Surely the worst, most instrumental reason for doing philosophy is that it might improve your skills in other areas, like maths and reading, while also boosting ‘cognitive abilities’ and pupils’ self-esteem. And yet it is for precisely these reasons that philosophy for children — or P4C, as it’s known — was celebrated in a recent evaluation by the UK Education Endowment Foundation (EEF). P4C is a popular method of exploring concepts such as fairness or bullying in small group discussions.

Differentiate content in the classroom Essential Question: How can I use Pearltrees to differentiate content in the classroom? Using Pearltrees reminded me of making an interactive poster using Glogster. I could click anywhere in the poster and it would take me to a new video, picture, or note. Pearltrees does the same thing, but adds the extra element (I think, since I only made one interactive poster) of opening another webpage. Pearltree would give students a central spot to keep all of their resources in one place and therefore more organized.

Training Teachers to Teach Critical Thinking How KIPP educators instruct their colleagues to enhance their classroom practice. KIPP King Collegiate High School principal Jason Singer trains his teachers to lead Socratic discussions (above); Katie Kirkpatrick (right), dean of instruction, developed a step-by-step framework -- described below -- for teaching students basic critical-thinking skills. Credit: Zachary Fink 21 Simple Ideas To Improve Student Motivation - 21 Simple Ideas To Improve Student Motivation by TeachThought Staff The best lessons, books, and materials in the world won’t get students excited about learning and willing to work hard if they’re not motivated. Motivation, both intrinsic and extrinsic, is a key factor in the success of students at all stages of their education, and teachers can play a pivotal role in providing and encouraging that motivation in their students. Of course that’s much easier said than done, as all students are motivated differently and it takes time and a lot of effort to learn to get a classroom full of kids enthusiastic about learning, working hard, and pushing themselves to excel. Even the most well-intentioned and educated teachers sometimes lack the skills to keep kids on track, so whether you’re a new teacher or an experienced one, try using these methods to motivate your students and to encourage them to live up to their true potential.

CD19 - What does a culturally educated, design-literate 19 year old look like? I’ve always been a fan of a mixed metaphor. Puns have never done it for me, but the welding of two clichés to create an entirely new meaning, whether by accident or by design, has always tickled my juices. They are the perfect English alternative to those long multi-purpose German words. Whether you are clutching at hairs, a wolf in cheap clothing, or sticking out like a sore throat, bring them on. My all-time favourite, from a friend who was spending his twenties in various bits of bother, was when he told me one hungover Sunday morning that he had been ‘burning his bridges at both ends’.

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