Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Partnership for 21st Century Skills

The Partnership for 21st century skills ( is a remarkable resource for educators. It is a national organization that advocates for 21st century readiness for every student. I was pleasantly surprised to see that my state (New Jersey) participates in this endeavor ( Prior to this week, I had not heard the term P21 (Partnership for 21st century skills), and while browsing through their website realized the importance of getting students prepared to handle the technological advancements of the 21st century.

Reading about the Framework for 21st Century Learning ( has helped me develop a new understanding of the issues surrounding 21st - century skills. P21 outlines this framework in a graphic representation that is very easy to understand. It also provides tools and resources to help educators blend the three R’s and four C’s (critical thinking and problem solving, communication, collaboration, and creativity and innovation) into their teaching.

While browsing through the website I came across a video presentation by Sara Brown Wessling, National Teacher of the Year, 2010 ( I was very inspired by this video and sent a link to all my colleagues to view. Sara Wessling reiterates in her video the importance of teachers realizing the need for students to be ready for 21st century skills.

On their website, I found many resources to prepare students for 21st century skills. The information that I did not seem to find was strategies for the learning disabled and students who are struggling in their reading and writing skills. The Assessment of 21st Century Skills “outlines key principles and strategic recommendations for current and future efforts to develop 21st century learning assessments.” It talks about moving forward but has no guidelines for students who are struggling.

The implications for my students and for me as a contemporary educator will be to teach with the P21 framework in mind. Students today are much more technologically advanced than their teachers are. Keeping this in mind, teachers need to become contemporary educators and gear their instruction to match their student’s ability to relate better with technology.

I was very happy that New Jersey is one of the states involved in moving forward with participating in the 21st century learning. My only concern is that my district has not informed teachers about this participation. Prior to this week, I had never heard about P21. I believe this is an essential resource for teachers to be aware of, so that they are better equipped to get their students ready for the skills of the 21st century.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

To Blog or Not to Blog with Third Graders

Please, do not crash on me! I have homework due in a few hours!
I am a third grade teacher and my students have just started to learn the proper way to type in their computer class. I am encouraged that if I introduce them to Blogging, they will practice their typing everyday, and not just once a week when they have a computer class.

The purpose of a Blog in my class would be for students to interact with their teacher and peers outside the classroom. If they forget their homework or just want to comment on how tough or easy the homework is, this would be a good forum for them. If I introduce these third graders to a Blog now, by the time they reach high school they will be experts at doing more with Blogs.

The Blog will be an excellent place for students to interact about content. At first, I will start a kid friendly Blog like Edmodo ( or kidblog ( After the students try these blogs and get comfortable with them for a few months, I would graduate them to the Blog that I created in BlogSpot.

            The Blog would be a good place for them to showcase their work, and could become a library of exemplars for students to look at when they need to reference content matter. The experience of someone else, for example their Principal, commenting on their work could be very exciting for these third graders.

Initially I will not open the Blog to a larger community, but limit it to just the parents and teachers in the district. After a few months, when students are comfortable with their interactions and know the rules of being safe on the internet, I will let them share their thoughts with a larger community.

Using a Blog enhances the lesson because this generation of students loves technology. If I take the help of a blog to teach a concept or a skill, these students would be more involved and will grasp the content better. When I teach a lesson with the aid of a smart board, the students are more attentive because they want to be called upon to participate in an interactive activity on the smart board. I would use the blog for students to write just as if they were writing in a journal, and then their peers would comment on their writing. This would greatly enhance their writing skills and give them the confidence to interact with others.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Integrating Technology in the Classroom

The technologies that I use in my classroom are Smart Board, PowerPoint presentations, Videos from Brain Pop, United Streaming, and YouTube.

The two Blogs that I plan to use with my students are Edmodo ( and Kidblog ( I have set up the names of my students on both these sites. My only concern is whether I will be able to use this effectively with my third grade class, or will it frustrate them?

What type of technology do you use in your classroom? Are you “doing things differently” with technology or just “doing different things?”