21st Century Learning in Kindergarten

14 Sep

Yesterday, I posted a 2nd grade example of 21st Century Learning in action. Today, I am providing a Kindergarten example. These teachers provide real world examples and experiences for their students, consequently creating life long learners.

18 Responses to “21st Century Learning in Kindergarten”

  1. Karena Cosgrove September 21, 2011 at 9:23 pm #

    I think given our fairly limited ethnic differences at Underhill, a discussion within most of our classrooms would be difficult. People do view kindness in different ways as you mentioned and this paticular unit is difficult conceptually for our grade levels. Guiding our students in this feeling/emotion presents its problems, but could be done in the ideas you put forth. I do believe that the best way to teach a concept like kindness is to find examples of it within your classroom as they happen and point them out to students. This also fosters great classroom atmospheres!

  2. Mary Lou Donahoe September 16, 2011 at 7:25 am #

    After reading Matt’s comment I had to watch the video again and reflect on what then constitutes 21st Century Learning. To answer Drew’s questions. How do we make it happen? The Principal from the Auburn schools talks about authentic activities. The goal is not having the kids create incredible art or elaborate plays if they were not the creators of those. They had to be the ones creating the dialogue on the play or discussing the dialogue, how do they think the background should look like so it makes sense to them and they understand the reason for the activity. Not just words to memorize or something to paint. They have to be researchers on any given activity/unit of study and decide before hand how the final product may look like. As the students did in Auburn when re-constructed the airport and airplane that took them to Brazil. They need to use their critical thinking skills to solve problems or find information, they need to be able to collaborate and brainstorm and finally be able to demonstrate and explain their final product. The argument could be made we have always done this and we have/are however I think, the difference is we are not telling them how the final product will/should look like (on a worksheet or shoebox), it is about allowing the student get there by themselves with our guidance/facilitating. Or so I think…

    • Karena Cosgrove September 19, 2011 at 7:55 pm #

      I would agree with this. Students need to think about the product that they are going to make. Engage in the activity. This makes the learning more authentic. Authenic learning leads to more critical thinking because they will make mistakes along the way and they will have to think about how to solve the real life problem they have. We should be facilitating that authentic learning.

      • Mary Lou Donahoe September 20, 2011 at 10:47 pm #

        Karena, glad you agree! This also makes me reflect on our Imagine It units. As I teach my students to further understand the content areas. For example, Kindness, how can we apply 21st century techniques to these units as Drew is asking? Perhaps by expanding the literature they are already reading? Perhaps adding literature to those already included in the unit to understand Kindness in other countries. How about expanding it with examples from how other cultures may show kindness.? Compare and contrast kindness in different situations/settings, cultures.? I think we may focus on kindness in a limited way, as being nice to each other. However, kindness is an act of love. To know when we ask something from someone else or expect something from someone else and forgetting their limitations? How do children view kindness.? A student from a war torn country may have a different take on kindness than a student from a peaceful society. Allowing students to tell us may enrich all of us and lead us to incredible discussions and learning experiences. Each Imagine it unit can be expanded to become 21st Century and does not necessarily involves a video or a movie. BUT can involve student’s discussion to expand the lesson. Any other ideas?

  3. Kimberly Newcomb September 15, 2011 at 8:57 pm #

    Annie and Karen
    Is there a way that we can intergrate our units more often? I loved the units we did last year, but would really like to have the opportunity to do this more often…..

    • Karen Landsman September 16, 2011 at 10:34 am #

      Absolutely! The meeting you, Shannon and I had this morning to begin planning your IIM Research unit is a great example. We can also do that in smaller but meaningful ways with other units throughout the year. Reach out to UA and we are happy to support you any way we can. This year’s Student Spotlight Assemblies and the purchase of a digital bulletin board will provide a ready-made audience for outcomes.

      • Caryl Pawlusiak September 17, 2011 at 11:54 am #

        A digital bulletin board? Where will it go and how is it used? I love the idea, and I’m interested to hear more…

      • Karena Cosgrove September 19, 2011 at 7:50 pm #

        I wish that this would happen more often. My students in particular benefit from intergration of subjects. I helps them make more connections to what they are learning and why they are learning it.

      • Karen Landsman September 19, 2011 at 11:24 pm #

        Karena…What can we do to help your students benefit from more meaningful integration? They are the students might gain the most from 21st century learning/teaching. Creative use of technology, opportunities to express their understanding of concepts through less “traditional” means, and validation of learning styles might make a world of difference for them. Let’s chat…

      • Karena Cosgrove September 20, 2011 at 8:41 pm #

        Karen-
        I would love to talk with you about how my students could get some more integrated subjects. Maybe you have some resources I can use to help develop units that I can share with other teachers, or for my own classroom.

  4. Matt Woodrow September 15, 2011 at 3:12 pm #

    Drew, this is a good representation of personalizing the learning for students. They do use some 21st century learning tools but that’s not what makes it 21st century, its the type of questions that are asked to get the students to dig deeper. The students are all engaged in the activity.

    • Karen Landsman September 16, 2011 at 10:39 am #

      Matt, I’m so glad you posted about the “type of questions” that make a lesson 21st century learning. I am always most interested in helping students research, discover, analyze and apply what they learn in response to higher order questions (some teacher-generated, some student-generated). It is easy to “find five interesting facts” about a topic, but doesn’t lead to very meaningful learning.

  5. Mary Lou Donahoe September 14, 2011 at 11:34 pm #

    I share the views expressed by everyone before me. The importance of using technology to enhance learning as the student was spelling on the smart board. What a powerful moment when the student could place the “b and d” on top of each other for the student to see the difference. Annie also brought up a good point of integrating all the Arts, PE and music to enhance learning. Although we have done some of that in recent years but not with a culminating play. Karena also brought up the good point of making the children independent and responsible for their own learning by developing critical thinking skills. All the videos I have watched thus far talk about other cultures or the culture in their state. This helps students make connections to a larger world and think globally.

    • J. Andrew Bairstow September 15, 2011 at 5:05 am #

      Thank you to all of you engaging in this dialogue. It is important to begin talking about and exploring these examples. I wonder how we can include these techniques as regularly as possible at our school? How do we make it happen?

  6. Karena Cosgrove September 14, 2011 at 6:57 pm #

    I couldn’t get this video to download for me but I did read the article. I can tell you that my students know that there is a purpose to finding answers and thinking for themselves. This is because I remind them that I cannot follow them around for their whole lives. Granted my students are thinking about basic math and reading and I am trying to get them to access the knowledge that will help them find an answer, but that is what they need from me. Sometimes it is understanding how reading and math affects them as they get older that drives them to apply themselves to finding an answer. Let’s be honest, my students also don’t want Mrs. Cosgrove following them everywhere either!

  7. Annie W. September 14, 2011 at 3:52 pm #

    This example is a representation of exactly the way the third grade taught the regions of the United States many years ago. It was a totally integrated unit ( Art , Music, PE and the classroom teachers) with a culminating presentation attended by the entire school and parents. It would be wonderful to be able to provide these experiences for our students again.

    • Maryann September 21, 2011 at 5:05 am #

      Ditto Annie! I too thought our teaching and learning was far more connected and integrated years ago…we’ve moved so far away from that philosophy with the “structured curriculum texts” we use daily. LONG LIVE my recess lemonade stand- ahhhhh….so many skills tied into one experience- children remember experiences NOT dittos! ( The circus, the thanksgiving feast, the rainforest, The Patriotic show- The 3rd grade pageant- traveling across the USA- too many more to list- connected learning that is engaging for all children which fosters collaboration….

  8. Karen Landsman September 14, 2011 at 1:44 pm #

    Best quote: “What do you do when you want to find something out? You don’t just go to an adult and have them feed you the answer.” Authentic learning and problem-solving, even down to the smallest details. For example, I liked the way the teacher had the student move the “d” letter on top of the “b” letter on the SmartBoard to show him the difference between the two letters.

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