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16 July 2015

Learn Like a Pirate: 21st Century Skills

Our LLAP book study is rapidly coming to a close, but it will be just in time to start the school year! I've got so many ideas swimming around in my head right now, and I can't wait to implement *most* of them in my room this upcoming school year.

Today's talk is all about 21st century skills. I'm sure most of us aren't new to 21st century skills, but I know that I immediately think of problem solving, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration, even though I know it extends far beyond these. Here's the scary students are being taught to be a 21st century student by a teacher who definitely wasn't taught to be a 21st century student back in the day. Solarz even talks about how teachers "told [us] what to think about". Isn't it crazy how much the world has changed?

In LLAP, Solarz actually gives us insights into 34 different skills in 11 overarching categories that he wants his students to practice in his class. I won't delve into to all of them, but I do want to give you a snippet into some of my favorites that I am confident could be a focus in a second grade classroom.

Communication and Collaboration
  • assume shared responsibility for collaborative work without dominating or letting others do all the work
  • realize a group can accomplish more than an individual
  • listen to and strongly consider the ideas of others
  • be sensitive to the needs of your peers and do what you can to help them
Initiative and Self-Direction
  • be resilient if your risk-taking isn't successful. Don't worry what others think.
  • Know when risks are not worth taking
  • View failure as an opportunity to learn (my favorite one!)
  • stay focused on your task without distraction
  • if you can't figure out something, ask someone for help
Social and Cross-Cultural Skills
  • know when it is appropriate to listen and when to speak
  • be humble, not a know-it-all
  • be able to laugh at situations and yourself
  • be able to turn embarrassment into laughter (I think we ALL need this one!)
One more thing I want to touch on is the importance of reflection. Solarz stresses that students "need to learn how to analyze themselves and each other, identify weak areas, and make plans to improve." His class as a whole sets goals, and then they set individual goals. This is something they devote time to every week, and he even has a step-by-step process that they follow. If you get a chance, you should definitely check it out.

And don't forget to check out the other bloggers for more insights into this chapter. It was a BIG one, so I can't wait to read their thoughts!

Happy Thursday!

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