Hello again, Here we are for my final post. Throughout the course, we have been learning about the 21st century literacies, such as: character education, critical, environmental, financial, global, media, mental health, moral, multicultural, and technological literacies. (https://www.pinterest.com/pin/486881409691045181/)
We have also been following 3 blogs of teachers who have decided to document and share their experiences in their classroom. I chose to follow the blogs of Aviva Dunsiger, Kathy Cassidy, and Jocelyn Sutherland. Now we are nearing the end of the semester and we are to ask ourselves, “How will I incorporate the 21st century literacies into my own practice?” By following these blogs, as well as exploring Pinterest for new and interesting ways to incorporate the 21st century literacies into my own practice, I will try and show you the ways I intend to incorporate the 21st century literacies into my own practice.
Through this course, I have found critical, global, media, and technological literacy are the most applicable to almost any situation based on the advancements of technology. I think it would be useful as a teacher to devote a wall to the 21st century literacies and as they are learned be added to the board. This could also be personalized by the class by adding the class’ own personal learning about the different literacies, and developing them on their own.
Something that I have personally held close to me and what I want to be able to do as a teacher is to teach compassion. I feel that not enough people think about others when they act and it is a rarity to see someone act selflessly (i.e. random acts of kindness). For that reason, I think it is so important for children to learn and develop their theory of mind (Side note: For those who do not know what I mean when I refer to theory of mind). I think that compassion and empathy are two character traits that I would like to see in everyone and I feel as though this would go hand in hand with character education literacy (i.e. teaching students to be patient and responsible), I think that teaching compassion would also be a part of character education literacy. I made a connection to Aviva’s blog post when she discussed the things she was realized over her years of teaching to help her be a better teacher. She pointed out things of importance like teamwork, perseverance, compassion, acceptance, and reflection, all of which I agree with. I feel there are many ways you could incorporate the literacies just by the way you manage your classroom. I feel that Aviva has these guidelines to follow from the way she manages her classroom and I feel that through this list she has created, she has in some way incorporated character education, mental health, and moral literacy at least. I think by taking a more direct approach and discussing with the students why it is important to be compassionate (character education literacy), you could also incorporate critical literacy as well.
Jocelyn Sutherland is a teacher at a PYP school and in one of her blog posts, she discusses her role as a technology facilitator and how she is “constantly on the look out for engaging apps that enhance learning and don’t just replace what students could do with physical materials and tools”. She found an app called “Tell about this” which allowed teachers to document students’ work and thoughts more effectively. Pictures and voice recordings could be stored on the app. For example, it was used at one point to document students discussing their artwork after finishing and “provided authentic thoughts and feelings about the work they were doing” which I thought was particularly innovative. She discussed how easily it was able to be used in parent teacher conferences as well in having this type of documentation to share. I thought this was a very interesting way to encourage technological literacy and with the work in the earlier years, this could also begin the education of technological and media literacy with the use of the iPads becoming more frequent in the classroom. The video below shows an example of how the app is used that Jocelyn shared in her blog.
Miss Cassidy had a blog about one of her students who started her own business. In this blog, her student, Emmy, was on the radio in their hometown, and the students were able to pitch their story to CBC radio. I thought this blog post was particularly interesting because it engages students’ media literacy. From this experience, although it may not occur in my classroom, I would take the opportunity to teach students more about the media and how to be critical of some of the stories that are broadcasted. I think this would also be an interesting lesson for financial literacy as well as the radio show is a business that perhaps some students are interested in.
Another way I would incorporate the 21st century literacies into my own practice would be to implement Genius Hour. The first I’d heard about genius hour was in this course and I have written a blog post previously discussing genius hour. I believe that by implementing genius hour into my own practice, I would be able to incorporate many of the 21st century literacies but this would be dependent on the students’ topic of choice. However, as I said previously, I believe that critical, global, media, and technological literacy could be incorporated into almost any topic. Perhaps even beginning with introducing and educating students on these literacies, and then proceeding to help students make the connections between the literacies and their projects. Below is a video introducing Genius Hour.
I explored further into Jocelyn’s blog and found a post which predominantly demonstrated the incorporation of global and multicultural literacy. In the post, she describes that the class had taken a trip to the Santi Rama School for the Deaf and had learned a song in Indonesian sign language to perform! The class discussed beforehand “some differences they might notice and appropriate ways to respond”. I think that global and multicultural literacy would be well incorporated into this experience because they are in a different part of the world and the students will be able to observe how things are different from where they live. I also believe multicultural literacy would be prominent in this experience, not only by meeting people who live in Indonesia, but also meeting a community of people who are deaf, which is in essence, a culture in its own. Although I may not travel the world with my classroom, I feel as though a similar experience of interacting with different classrooms around the world could be replicated through the use of Skype, which would bring in the use of technological literacy. (http://home.edweb.net/overcoming-challenges-to-global-connections/)
While I was looking for ways other teachers had incorporate the 21st century literacies, I found this image on Pinterest. (http://www.shelbiewitte.com/21st-century-literacies-resources.html) I felt it was a good representation of how technology should be integrated into the classroom. While it is interesting and innovative for students to be able to learn to use the new programs that are made available through technology and the internet, I feel as though the incorporation of technology should enhance students’ learning experiences as opposed to being the lesson, as is illustrated in the picture. The incorporation of technology would allow for the incorporation and the education of all the other 21st century literacies, as well as make things like Genius Hour possible, or being able to interact with other students around the world.
In November 2014, Jocelyn Sutherland posted a blog which related most to what I’m doing now. She decided to blog with her class of 6 year olds and she begins the blog with a list of the reasons why she decided to incorporate blogging and also provides this link: http://kidslearntoblog.com/. This would be an interesting way, if implemented near the start of the year, to see how students’ learning progresses, as well as to see how the literacies are incorporated throughout the year through lessons and units. If students write regularly about what they had learned, as the literacies get introduced, they may be able to start seeing and making the connections on their own. It would also be an opportunity to teach students about reflection. In relation to the literacies, technological literacy would be most prominent. It would be important to also discuss the concept of a digital citizenship. My classmate, Zein, shared a helpful video to explain and I believe that it would be important to get that point across for my students.
I enjoyed following Aviva because of the critical lens she takes with her own work, always reflecting. I feel that as a teacher, I should also be literate in all the 21st century literacies as it would be practicing what I teach. I feel that it would also make it easier to teach the literacies. Aviva’s blog post What I Learned After The “Pop!” was particularly interesting in that sense. She inquired about what it would be like for her classroom not to have a SMART board. I think Aviva brings up some interesting discussion points and I think it would be interesting to see what a group of young children would contribute to the conversation. I think that would contribute to their technological and critical literacy. Aviva also brought up the topic of financing these SMART boards and so financial literacy may also be discussed.
Aviva also made a blog post about “Persevering Positively” where she her students on a hike where they encountered some challenges while walking through the snow. And through this blog post, I saw the opportunity for environmental literacy from the hike, as well as character education literacy from the everyone persevering to get through the snow they were falling through. I feel that taking my students on a hike would be a good way to incorporate environmental literacy and also perhaps talk about critical literacy when it comes to the environment and educate the students on global climate change.
Finally, in Jocelyn Sutherland’s blog “Tell About This” as discussed previously, she discussed how her school takes a play-based Reggio Emilia approach and shared this link. It is described as “an innovative and inspiring approach to early childhood education which values the child as strong, capable and resilient; rich with wonder and knowledge” and I think that that is an excellent way to look at children. I remember when I would tell someone I was going to be a primary school teacher and they would make a comment about how “easy” it was going to be. I always disputed this response because I genuinely believe that children have an equal contribution to make in the learning process and that they are bright and can develop meaningful insights. This was the first I’d heard of the Reggio Emilia approach but I fully support it. I feel that as a teacher I will also take these same values and implement them into my classroom and I believe that it will help me to help children learn about the literacies. I believe that if I were to introduce the literacies, they may be able to make those connections or I will facilitate the making of those connections.
This blog post is only a very small sample of the ways which have been documented in order to incorporate 21st century literacies. By following these blogs, I have learned so much from others’ experiences in the classroom and I’ve learned that even an experience teacher, like Aviva, can still learn and improve her practice because she is still learning as well. I think that by continuing to follow these blogs and others, and through my own trial and error, I will learn and continue to learn new ways of how to incorporate the 21st century literacies into my own practice.
Thanks for reading,