Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The Partnership for 21st Century Skills is a coalition of business, education leaders, community and government leaders focused on infusing 21st century skills into our system of education. The Partnership's vision is for every student to successfully face rigorous higher education coursework, career challenges and a globally competitive workforce. 

Within the Partnerhip's website, Route 21 captured most of my attention as an educator. Route 21 is the place to go for anything relating to 21st century skills. There were several areas within this site that I was impressed with. The first area I perused was the Resources for 21st Century Skills. Educators can browse this area of the site to locate resources related to 21st century skills. The database is the Partnership's first step in collecting 21st century-related materials in one place. I especially had an interest in this massive database because I recently collaborated with colleagues in an educational technology course to create a wiki. In our wiki, we also reviewed and rated a collection of technology in education resources. 
Resources for 21st Century Skills has three unique features:
Personal and Community Features - allows users to rate resources, add comments, and read what others have to say.
Tag Resources - users can add descriptions or categories to 'tag' resources. 
Personal Collection - users can create their own personal list by saving resources.
Inside the Resources fr 21st Century Skills, I found the Apple Learning Interchange. This site is a wealth of information and opportunities to collaborate with educators. Some special features of the site are:
Enjoy Great Content - educator created lessons and activities rich with movies, images and podcasts.
Meet Others - is a unique social network for educators to locate colleagues from around the globe across a variety of content areas.
Collaborate Online - use new Web 2.0 tools to engage with others. Create and manage your own custom groups to share content and conversations. 

Under the 21st Century Skills section, there is a category called Snapshots. Snapshots provide a detailed look at how 21st century skills are being taught and learned in innovative classrooms. The Snapshots feature video clips by Edutopia.

Another area of the the Partnership's web site I find useful on this journey of becoming an educator of 21st century skills, is the Press Kit located under Events and News.. Here you will find useful resources aimed at aiding your efforts to gain support for integrating 21st century skills in education. "How to Get Involved" and "Voter Attitudes Towards 21st Century Skills" can be presented to stakeholders and decision makers in the educational community.

Overall, I was impressed with the concentrated effort of the Partnership. They are to be commended for their seemingly endless effort. I was surprised by the extensive list of businesses that are board members. Unfortunately, I was equally surprised and disappointed by the list of participating states.  



Thursday, January 15, 2009

Blogging About History

I would use blogging in my classroom as a project based inquiry. I would have my third graders respond to events in history that helped shape the world we live in today. One example is to have my students blog about Martin Luther King, not that he was a peaceful leader and not that he gave a speech. I would have them blog about what it was like to live during this time in our history.
If You Lived at the Time of Martin Luther King is my favorite book to use when teaching students about Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights movement. This book has an engaging question-answer format that really builds background knowledge. Students begin to understand what it was like to participate in the Montgomery Bus Boycott, stage a sit-in at a segregated lunch counter, join the March on Washington, and so much more. I would use this resource as a springboard for blogging discussions. My students always have such genuine, authentic responses during the share aloud of this book, blogging will provide them an audience for collaborating and sharing ideas.  

Thursday, January 8, 2009

My daughters, Skylar and Winter, just finished performing in their first Nutcracker ballet.
Backstage at 'The Nutcracker'
Orange County's longest-running Christmas show motivates and gives young performers a taste of a classical ballet production.