Today I was able to take the time to walkthrough almost all of the classrooms at my school. I was particularly looking for evidence of 21st Century skills being taught. I saw some impressive things going on. Here are a few . . .
In Mrs. J's math classroom, two things stood out. First was the math word wall - its so important to bring that focus on literacy into every class! On a bulletin board I also noticed posters sharing the different responsibilities for student roles when working in cooperative groups. It is vital that our students learn to work in collaborative groups in order for them to be college and carreer ready, unfortunately this is a skill that doesn't come naturally and can be quite challanging. Setting up guidelines for the roles can help students begin to learn how in a collaborative group, every member has an important job and responsibility to the other members!
Mrs.T had some students working on their argument for a court case the class was working on. She discussed with a student how she would be the judge and they would have to convince her of their opinion. Such a powerful real life us of writing and speaking skills!
Mrs.S's Social Studies students were working in the Media Center on a project which Mrs.S had collaborated on with the Media Specialist. Students in her class got to see their teacher working cooperatively with other faculty, and at the same worked in groups with their peers to research and create a project focused on an aspect of life in Ancient Greece or Rome. The project allowed students to practice skills of finding information from multiple sources, and then creatively design a product to reflect their learning. It was so exciting to walk in the media center and see all the project materials out and in use! The learning environment was a polar opposite of the traditional read and be silent atmosphere of a library. Students were engaged and active in their learning which resulted in noise and mess, but most importatnly powerful learning for students!
Something I noticed was that our teachers have gotten very adept and comfortable at using our technology such as computers and Interactive White Boards to present instruction, which is great. To up the level of impact on student learning, now teachers need to get students engaged with the interactiveness of the technology -- a good goal for me to help the faculty to work on.
Who am I?
Sarah Allred is the Instructional Lead Teacher at Braxton Craven School, an all 6th grade middle school. She has 15 years of teaching experience at the middle school level. Her educational background includes a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education earned at the University of NC Greensboro, National Board Certification in Early Adolescent English Language Arts, and a Master of Arts in Education in Instructional Technology earned at East Carolina University. She has taught language arts, social studies, science, and technology. She serves her school in many leadership roles. Her passion is searching for new ways to use technology to improve student learning. Additional roles she fills are mother of two amazing kids, and wife of a police officer. She enjoys reading, gardening, and digital photography.