Friday, April 28, 2017

A Teacher's View of "Skills For Today"

April 24th - 28th is P21’s "Skills for Today" Week, sponsored by the Partnership for 21st Century Learning (P21).  The celebratory week was designed to showcase how the P21 Framework for 21st Century Learning and the 4Cs — Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking, & Creativity — can empower all learners to gain the skills they need for success.

“If we want to set our children up for success in college, career, and life, opportunities to learn 21st century skills are essential,” says David Ross, CEO of P21. “The "Skills for Today" week will not only help shine a national spotlight on the importance of these skills for our students but also highlight the critical elements of a successful education in the 21st century and the resources, research, and best practices that bring these skills to the classroom.”

Bullis Charter School is one of 79 schools and school districts nationwide to be named a P21 Exemplar School. All BCS students are given numerous opportunities to develop the 4Cs and acquire the 21st Century skills they need to thrive in a world where change is constant and learning never stops.

In honor of P21’s “Skills For Today” week, BCS 5th grade teacher Jessica Morgan shared the following observations of her students exhibiting the 4Cs in the classroom, as well as her belief in the value of 21st Century skills for all students:

I had a moment this week that emphasized how much I love the creativity and drive in our students. I was doing one circle of the classroom toward the end of an assessment period in order to check how many students were still working on the test and to monitor the choices students were making if they finished early. In that one period, I saw:
  • one student silently rehearsing percussion patterns for the “BCS Fight Song” and some other music he had to memorize for band
  • one student studying lines for an upcoming musical performance
  • two students practicing drawing for personal FLGs
  • one student crafting an email to a parent to take responsibility for something that happened that day
  • one student working on a Math exemplar to practice critical thinking and multi-step problem solving before tomorrow’s test
  • one student writing up Spanish notes for practice

All of these students were completing these tasks without any prompting from me. They were thinking carefully about what they needed to do as individuals to keep making progress, and they took steps to make it happen. This is a priceless skill that will inevitably help them in all areas of life!

-- Jessica Morgan (@jessreedmorgan), April 26, 2017