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Group Project Reflection: 21st Century School. Week 16 (final) post


This past week in class we reviewed our final group project and presented to the class. It was a fun and interesting way to see how my classmates put together all of the important information we learned over the past 16 weeks and create a project that reflected their ideas of an ideal 21st century school. As I mentioned in a previous blog post, the key skills of an effective 21st century school are 1) Traditional academic knowledge and skills: Reading, Writing, and Mathematics, 2) Authentic, real world application: The ability to apply what they learn in school to real life situations and 3) Broader competencies: critical thinking, collaboration, interpersonal skills, and creativity. (http://www.centerforpubliceducation.org/Learn-About/21st-Century). It was interesting to me to notice that every group, in some way, felt that these skills were important to their 21st century school. The groups each focused on having authentic learning experiences so that students may take their education and apply it to life outside of the classroom. One group focused on the guiding principle of an eco-friendly school and classroom. I thought it was really cool that this class decided to do a year round school in order to support the garden they were tending. The use of gardening and farmers market can teach children in Middle school a lot about real world situations such as math, environmental science, marketing and management. It is also a really fun way for the students to interact with their community. Another school one group came up with was a secondary school that focused on elective classes that let students try out various vocational work. I also like the idea from one group to incorporate working a legitimate job during the 12th grade year as part of the curriculum. This gives students hands on experience and a chance to try out what they think they want to do when they graduate high school. Some other ideas groups came up with for their project that I really liked include hands-on, activity based learning, ongoing assessment, the removal of standardized tests (although, I do realize that as a public school, those tests do come with the territory, and are good for data collection), and fun and comfortable places to think and read within the classroom. Overall, it seemed that every group was interested in a progressive approach to education, an approach that engages students in the classroom through fun and creative projects and one that focused on the need to have an authentic curriculum that students can take with them after graduating at the high school level.

My group 21st century school was most definitely a progressive elementary school. Our school focused primarily on getting children involved and engaged with learning to propel them into the more academic oriented lessons of middle and high school. Here is the video we produced:

I felt as if the group project was a really fun and interesting way to present to our peers what we learned all semester, and the things we felt to be the most important as a teacher.  Each group had variations on what they wanted most out of their school, however it is clear to me that every one of them put time and effort into finding out what meant most to them.

The Foundations of American Education was an extremely informative and relevant course to my journey of becoming a teacher. I learned so much from this class and I know that I will take my newly found philosophy of education and continue to add and develop it as time passes and I learn about new ideas of education.  I am very happy that I was able to take this class during the first semester of my teaching program because it most certainly laid a strong foundation for me to build my own educational ideas upon and integrate one day into my own classroom.

~ by hgluchow on .


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