The Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21) has reenergized my work with teachers in New York City schools. I’m thrilled to be able to offer teachers and schools an opportunity to think within P21’s framework about how to teach the Common Core in a way that approaches the idea of college and career readiness with an interdisciplinary approach that has real potential to fuel transformation for educators and students alike.
I appreciate the emphasis on interdisciplinary themes as an organizing principal for reexamining what and how we teach.
Financial, Economic, Business, and Entrepreneurial Literacy
I am equally excited about reimagining what takes place inside of classrooms K-12…
Excerpts from P21 Common Core Toolkit
Using an open-ended inspiration for writing such as Chris Van Allsburg’s Mysteries of Harris Burdick, each student writes the beginning of a story and records it as a podcast. Students in other classes listen to the story, create the ensuing episodes, and record them as podcasts, until a final group writes and records the conclusions.
After completing a literature unit ont he American dream where students have read The Great Gatsby, Death of a Salesman, and A Raisin in the Sun, they explore what it means to have access to an American dream. Students are asked to create non-profit organizations that would help to meet the needs of their community by helping a group of people to meet their American dream without duplicating current services offered in the community. Students conceive of organizations, formulate extensive grant proposals that help them vie for funding from the fictions Society for the American Dream, and finally compete against each other for funding of up to $500,000. Students pitch their ideas and advocate for funding to the grant panel, comprised not of teachers, but of community representatives.
Students collaborate with senior citizens in a digital storytelling workshop. The teams bring to life a story from a senior’s history as they collaborate on writing and creating a video. Students will conduct interviews, perform research using nonfiction texts, write and record the script, and select images and music. The finished videos are presented in a school film festival. Each team designs criteria for evaluating their video in advance, and grades their work accordingly. Students demonstrate the ability to work effectively with diverse teams.
There is so much creative and deeply engaging intellectual space for educators within the P21 framework, and I think it will be a welcome and new context to continue working on brining the Common Core Standards to life within NYC classrooms.