Sunday, November 11, 2012
Blog Post #3 - 21st Century Literacies
Our 7th grade English Language Arts/Social Studies students frequently express their creativity in their course work by thinking creatively and working creatively with each other. The students my cooperating teacher and I instruct are frequently tasked with utilizing drawing to express their understanding. Most recently they used drawing to express their ideas of the novel they are reading and the sentences they formed during a grammar workshop.The students also showed creativity by forming these sentences from parts of speech gathered around a Halloween theme.
Our students frequently work in groups of three to elaborate, refine, and analyze their own ideas. By working collaboratively they learn to communicate, respect, and utilize each others' creative contributions. Through effective group work our students learn to compromise, build consensus, and take risks in a secure environment.
Our students exercise critical thinking and problem solving throughout their work with problem based learning. A problem based learning lesson is one where students work together to answer a question or solve a problem. We recently challenged our students to Jigsaw the Eightfold Noble Paths of Buddhism, develop a definition, real-world example, and non-example for their assigned path. The assignment was concluded with a presentation by all groups to the class.
Our students learn information literacy through strategies known as Power Literacy. Power Literacy places a focus on teaching strategies to read and comprehend a variety of texts and a variety of information sources. In Power Literacy they are taught a series of steps to analyze, synthesize, and evaluate text and other information.
Our students learn media literacy through lessons which teach students that most writing comes in four forms, narrative, expository, descriptive, and persuasive. When reading any piece of writing it is important for the reader to understand what form of writing he or she is reading, whether the source is reliable, and if the source may have a bias.
At least once a month technology is used in our class for student research. Once the information is obtained, it is analyzed, synthesized, and evaluated in writing.
Ownership over education is an important value that my cooperating teacher and I would like to instill in our students. The problem based learning teaching strategy engages students' interest and motivation to form their own ideas and opinions and make decisions that affect project outcomes. This week our students had a Tea Party activity that culminated in each group writing a letter of advise to a peer utilizing Confucian Analects as a guide. The groups concluded the exercise by presenting their letters to the class.
By teaching Power Literacy and utilizing problem based learning strategies our students are more literate in 21st century skills that emphasize their creativity, critical thinking, problem solving, and communication skills.