Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Entry Eight: Critical Thinking Skills

Critical thinking is such an important quality to foster in a 21st century learner.  We believe there are many ways to challenge students to look at problems and situations in a different way.  Here are a few ideas: 
--Encourage students to solve problems with multiple answers by explaining and demonstrating their thinking.
--Challenge students by offering critical thinking activities for kids.  Here is a great resource to get started Jumpstart.com
--Ask students to argue both sides of a given argument.  Being able to change perspective is challenging for students and adults.
--Don’t always be the one to ask the questions.  Make sure your students have the abilities to ask questions about literature, math, science, the world…
--Teach kids how to think and to reflect on their own thinking.  We like this resource as a starter tool Criticalthinking.org 
--Make it a daily routine in your class.  Check out this Morning meeting pack for suggestions on ways to include critical thinking questions.

Want more?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Entry Seven: 21st Century Learning in the Math Workshop

We have been privileged to work with some amazing educators in St. Vrain school district in northern Colorado this week on 21st century skills. Today’s focus was on 21st century learning in the math workshop.  Through using the 4Cs of 21st century education from the partnership for 21st century skills (critical thinking, collaboration, communication, and creativity) we have completely transformed our math workshop into a hands-on, technology driven, small group block of time.  
We divide each math block into three groups that rotate every 15-20 minutes:
1. One group works with a teacher in the With me group for direct instruction on a specific skill. This group is differentiated to meet the needs of our students. 
2. Another group works with math projects or games to help students extend their learning in a fun, hands-on way.
3. We call our last group the Show me group where students work with our classroom ipad as a digital teacher.   View more about using the ShowMe app in your instruction.

View this entire resource!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Entry Six: Edmodo

Edmodo is a safe social networking website for students and teachers and it's FREE! Teachers can upload assignments, resources, links and more for students to access with a simple log in and group code. Since so many people are visual learners, please see the short tutorial below for a snapshot of some of the amazing things Edmodo can do.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Entry Five: The Top Ten Ways to Connect and Learn

Summertime is finally here. While it’s so important to take time to relax and unplug, we also recognize it’s the only time of year teachers actually have time to explore, learn, and make connections. Check out our list of the top ten ways teachers can expand their learning and connect with educators from around the world.

1. Twitter. It’s a great way to learn new tips and tricks and get some great ideas for the school year. Not sure who to follow? Check out this link of  the top 60 educators on Twitter.

2. Teacher blogs. Teachers from all over the world share their best ideas and links. Check out this list of the top 100 teacher blogs to follow.

3. Pinterest. Think of this as an online bulliten board to pin ideas and things you love. Start by checking out the top 15 board to follow for teachers.
4. Classroon 2.0 is an online community of educators offering forums, links, and more.

5. Teachertube is an amazing resource of videos detailing lessons and professional development opportunities.

6. Teachers pay Teachers has a wealth of free and inexpensive lessons and teacher resources. If you choose to become a seller, the community forum is a great place to connect with other educators.

7. Looking to connect globally? Epals is the site for you. Take some time this summer to explore all this site has to offer including global projects, forums and even an opportunity to connect with pen pals for your class.

8. Youtube for teachers. Teachers from all over the world are posing lesson ideas and video tips on this safer version of Youtube.

9. Teachability is another teacher community website to help you connect with teachers across the nation and the world.

10. Want more? Check out the top 25 social media sites for teachers.