Friday, March 27, 2009

Partnership for 21st Century Skills

I have been exploring the Partnership for 21st Century Skills website (, and I am overwhelmed by all the information it contains! I looked at this site a couple of years ago, and I was surprised by how the site has grown.

My first stop was the Route 21 area ("Welcome to Route 21," 2007). I began by browsing their resources ("Browse resources," 2007). There are 568 items listed, and I quickly realized that it would take days to explore them all. The first one listed, the 21st Century Information Fluency Project (, is packed with ideas and lessons for teachers and students to improve their information literacy. The activities I explored are very engaging. I went to the Action Zone and tried a couple of Search Challenges. I gave up before I found what Kermit was saying, but I solved the Optical Illusion Challenge. I want to return to this site and explore the toolkits on searching, evaluating websites, and ethical use.

Another treasure I found was West Virginia's Teach 21 website ( They have created Instructional Guides (2009) that can be searched by subject and grade. The guides contain detailed lesson plans for units of study that incorporate 21st Century skills. This is another site that will take some time to explore.

I spent some looking through the articles and press releases on the home page. I agreed with many of the sentiments expressed there. Because I am very busy with graduate work, my job, and my family, I do not keep up with current events the way I should. I enjoyed reading the highlights ("The partnership’s statement on President Barack Obama’s education plan," 2009) and transcript (Montopoli, 2009) from President Obama's March 10, 2009, speech on education. I am not as informed about his education policies as I should be, but I thought he had some good ideas for education. Fully funding No Child Left Behind, rewarding teachers who make a difference, creating flexible schedules for students and teachers, removing bad teachers from the classroom, infusing 21st century skills, and expecting more from teachers, parents, and students all sound like a step in the right direction. I wonder how he is going to find funding for these ideas in today's economic crisis, but I am pleased with his emphasis on 21st century learning.

The information provided by the Partnership for 21st Century Skills is very practical for teachers and students. The online tools could form the framework for a teacher's professional development plan for several years. The activities can enhance teachers' knowledge of 21st Century Skills, but many activities are also appropriate for use with students. The only drawback to the site is the sheer magnitude of the resources. Teachers may turn their back on these resources because there is so much to wade through, especially if one is looking for some specifice resource. This is all the more reason that I should begin the very lengthy toolkit on effective searches!


Browse resources. (2007). Partnership for 21st Century Skills. Retrieved March 28, 2009 from

Instructional guides. (2009). West Virginia Department of Education. Retrieved March 29, 2009 from

Montopoli, B. (2009, March 10). Obama's remarks on education. CBS News Political Hotsheet. Retrieved March 28, 2009 from

The partnership’s statement on President Barack Obama’s education plan. (2009, March 11). Partnership for 21st Century Skills. Retrieved March 28, 2009 from

Welcome to Route 21. (2007). Partnership for 21st Century Skills. Retrieved March 28, 2009 from

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Welcome to the Blog

This blog is designed to connect with the math teachers that I serve through the Alabama Math, Science, and Technology Initiative (AMSTI). I am going to post math and technology lesson ideas, reflections on professional development I am attending and articles I am reading, conversation starters to prompt input from other teachers and AMSTI specialists, and possibly some general musings on education and technology.

Because I no longer work directly with students, this blog is not designed for student interaction. However, students are welcome to join the conversation if you stumble upon us! I would love for the conversation to center around math lessons. The posts could contain the lesson plan with uploaded files to support the lesson, and the comments section could include my comments on how the lesson went as it is taught by me or others. I model a lot of lessons for teachers, and it would be incredible if they would post their comments about the lesson!

I have a dilemma...Blogger may be blocked at some schools where I teach. The easiest way to get feedback from teachers would be for them to comment as I teach the lesson; however, they may not be able to access this site. Edublogs would be a safer bet for that type of interaction, but I like Blogger better. I really like how Google integrates my blog reader, dashboard, and email. I am going to have to think about this some more. Maybe I could ask teachers for written feedback that I could actually post to the blog. That would save time in class because I wouldn't have to show them how to post comments. I could create a form to guide their comments so that they were constructive. This blog could become a Lesson Study for 6-12 math....I could edit the lesson as suggestions are made and house them in a wiki...the wheels are turning in my mind as I write...I love blogging!