Posts Tagged ‘creativity’

21st Century Learning Skills

As I’m on Maternity Leave I’ve been reflecting about my teaching practice and how I can make it better. I really want to focus on and integrate in all my teaching is the 21st Century Learning Skills.

I’ve been reading about these essential skills but I wanted to figure out how we can, or already do use them in our classroom everyday. In order for me to really teach to these skills I wanted to really understand them.

I am going to introduce the topic of 21st Century Skills by having a discussion with my class about what they believe communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity are. What do they already know about these skills and how do they already use them in their everyday lives? How can we use these skills in a better way?

Below, I have made the graphic brainstorming the ways I can teach these skills or how we use these skills already.

I would love your feedback about this graphic. What am I missing?

Kid Tech Coach 

Recently I became a Google Education Trainer (GET). I honestly felt so excited to be listed among all of these amazing educators and I knew that my connection to the trainer community would inspire me to be better and more creative.

I’m pretty involved in the Ottawa education community. I have planned Edcamp Ottawa, Playdate Ottawa, am a co-founder of ONEdchat and Think Tank Ottawa. I love to plan events and create spaces for people to learn from each other. When I became a GET I wanted to do something bigger. I kept on thinking about what the education community needed. I am always trying to inspire non-techy teachers to get involved and try something new. I love Google Apps for Education (GAFE) and know how empowering it is for students. I wanted to make it easy for non-techy teachers to teach their students GAFE. I first thought of making step by step videos that teachers could play in their classroom and learn with the students. But then I realized, students do not want to listen to another teacher, they want to listen to their peers. Students listen more and learn better when their peers explain something than when teachers do, so I created Kid Tech Coach.

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This website is to provide training for GAFE and other technology for students using videos made by other students. This is a way that students can share their expertise in technology and show their learning.

As an educator, this is a great way for our students to create a positive digital footprint, and it teaches our students collaboration, communication, technology skills and creativity. It also encourages students to learn digital media principles, such as engaging with an audience, production principles, etc.

Please follow us on facebook, twitter, and check out our blog (still in it’s early production).

If you have any videos of students that are already created giving tutorials on technology, you can submit the videos here.

New Teaching Rules

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Whenever you work in a job, there are rules. Teaching of course, is no exception.
When I read these rules for teaching from 1872, I’m so happy that I live now. You had to clean chimneys and couldn’t be married? I wouldn’t have lasted long.

So much has changed in teaching and the world from 1872 to 2014, I thought it was time to create some new rules for teachers.

There are so many ways to collaborate nowadays. Skype, Twitter, letters, emails, Google Hangout, planning time with other teachers, professional development and voxer. Whether you are technologically inclined or not, there are many ways to collaborate. It allows us to plan better lessons, effectively differentiate our students learning, and try new teaching techniques.

Share what you are learning, what you are doing in your classrooms, what is working for you and what isn’t. Whether you do this online via Twitter, blogging or just in your staff room. Do it! While I walk down the hall or am on lunch duty, I am constantly noticing neat tricks or cool art projects that I want to try out. We are not working in a one roomed school house anymore. Step outside your classroom and share your ideas and ask other teachers questions about what they are doing in their classroom. Sharing helps  us create a sense of working together, and shows that every teacher has successes and failures but sharing them encourage us all to keep on trying.

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Less Homework, More Purpose:
We want our students to love learning and school. We need to only send home homework that is purposeful. I don’t believe in sending reading homework home since I want my students to love reading and not make it a chore or work.

Hands On Learning:
Students learn more more when they do and make. Use manipulatives in your classroom no matter what grade you teach. Students need to create, visualize and see what they are learning. They will retain so much more of the learning if you teach with manipulatives.

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Real World Lessons:

In the real world, we learn not just about math or reading. Everything is intermingled and we learn it all at once.


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Let’s focus on making more integrated lessons that teach many different subjects at once instead of just one at a time. Let’s prepare our students for the real world by using real world problems, not like the one below.

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Try New Things:
There are so many new ideas, ways of teaching, and technologies to try. Step out of your comfort zone from time to time and try something new. We ask our students to learn something new daily, why shouldn’t we continue to learn too?

Some new ideas, ways of teaching and technology you can try out:

  • Maker movement
  • Project based learning
  • Explain everything app
  • GAFE
  • Skype in the classroom
  • Google hangouts in the classroom
  • Kidblogs
  • Taking photos and videos of students learning process
  • Hour of code

Build Creativity:

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We need to let students to use their creativity. The more they use their creativity, the more creative they will be. Our workforce is constantly changing and evolving. Our students will probably be working in jobs that are not even created yet. We need to build their creativity so that they can find a job that they are passionate about. Isn’t that what we all want for our students?

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Ask more questions:

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As students use technology more, we need to teach them critical thinking skills, character education and digital citizenship. All of these topics can be covered by asking your students more questions. Get them to really dig deep with their reasoning, providing examples, making connections and show their deep understanding of their learning.

Please let me know what you think about these rules. Did I forget to include some? Did I include some that I shouldn’t have? Let me know in the comments below!