21st Century Learning Skills – Classroom Activities Group Challenge
(returning to the classroom after COVID)
21st Century Skills Learning Skills – Classroom Activities UPDATE Sep 6, 2021:
The transition back to IN-PERSON learning in the classroom is tough. Change is hard!
Use this Back to School growth mindset activity during the first week of school when you return to the classroom after Covid!
Let’s remind our students how to learn in a classroom setting.
Do we really need to teach this?
Well, you know that saying, there’s nothing common about common sense?
It’s kind of like that. Students need to re-learn how to learn!
Why are 21st Century Skills and Competencies so important?
- Life can be unpredictable and ever changing. (Hello, Covid-19)
- Life can be unfair. (Hello, systemic racism)
- Life can throw you a curve ball. (Hello, unexpected challenge)
WHAT WE TEACH… is mandated by the government.
We call this the curriculum.
Every government and jurisdiction has one.
For example, If you’re in the US, you probably recognize the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts & Literacy.
But, it’s really not that different from the Ontario Language Arts curriculum in Canada.
What we teach is set for us…
But, HOW WE TEACH is up to us…
That’s where teachers do so much.
We shape the future not only in what we say, but how we say it.
And 21st Century learning skills provide a framework to think our students need to be successful in a changing world.
- The easy part is using this lesson plan package as a starting point to explicitly teach 21st Century Skills to students.
- The harder part is shifting our classroom programs to focus on getting students to develop these transferrable skills as they explore the curriculum…
This page is about using classroom activities to explore 21st Century Competencies (learning skills)
- Introduce 21st Century Competencies
- Give students an opportunity to use 21st Century Competencies.
- Students work in groups to co-create a rubric to assess 21st Century Learning skills (classroom activity)
If you’re looking for other 21st Century Lesson Plans…
The 21st century competencies have a lot of meat to them.
Here are some other 21st century lesson plans – each includes activities, videos and strategies to help students explore each of the 6 Cs separately:
- Character unit
- Citizenship unit
- Collaboration unit
- Communication unit
- Creativity and Innovation unit
- Critical Thinking unit
In this lesson…
Students work in groups:
- learn about each of the 6 Cs of Education
- create a rubric together for each of the 21st Century Skills
- find similarities and differences between these soft skills / 21st Century competencies.
Students develop a deeper understanding of the 6 Cs of Education by comparing and contrasting the 21st century skills.
But, they’re also getting an opportunity to use the 21st century competencies themselves. These are important soft skills that are transferrable between, school, life and work.
- So, students work in groups to compare the 6 Cs,
- while using the 6 Cs.
- Then, they get a chance to self-assess their ability to demonstrate 21st Century Competencies (using a rubric they helped to co-create)…
- while the teacher gets a chance to observe and assess their learning skills for report card magic.
It’s like looking at a mirror’s reflection in a mirror… It’s very meta.
Different ways to use these 21st Century skills lesson plans
Originally this lesson package was created as a culminating task for our unit on Exploring the 6 Cs.
But, this lesson plan works equally well as an introduction to the 6 Cs during back to school activities.
Sure, it’ll take a little longer to go through the slideshow with students if you’re introducing material for the first time, but this package works well as a stand-alone exploration of 21st Century Skills.
- You get handouts so students learn each of the 6 Cs, one by one
- You also get some of the key slides from each of our lesson packages on the 6Cs.
What are 21st Century Skills?
Well, it all depends on who you ask! ( This wikipedia article shows you some of the different thoughts around these 6Cs.)
Basically 21st Century skills are about preparing students to succeed in a changing global world.
We can teach these 21st Century competencies as we teach the curriculum to students.
HOW TO TEACH 21st Century Skills to students: Group Challenge Table of Contents
How do you teach 21st Century Skills / Competencies to your students if you’re not really sure what they are yourself?
Download this lesson package as a starting point to explore with our students!
We provide over 2 weeks of 21st century skills lesson plans to do with your class:
- Learn (or consolidate knowledge) about the 6Cs,
- Co-create a rubric to assess each of the 6 Cs,
- compare and contrast the 6 Cs… while using the 6 Cs
- assess student ability to demonstrate 21st Century Skills / Competencies.
- a Microsoft Powerpoint / Google Slideshow explaining all of the 6 Cs and teaching your students strategies and the process to co-create a rubric.
- a one page summary handout explaining each of the 6 Cs (Character, Citizenship, Collaboration, Communication, Creativity, and Critical Thinking)
- handouts to help students brainstorm and identify key aspects for each C.
- a small group / whole class collaboration task to create new knowledge and to evaluate what are the key success criteria for each of the 6 Cs.
- a small group / whole class collaboration task for students to demonstrate their ability to use the 6 Cs while trying to analyze the 6 Cs (compare and contrast)
- an optional summative performance task or written response assessment.
YOU GET 311 SLIDES and PAGES in 13 21st Century Skills Lesson plans
- 147 slides in POWERPOINT and GOOGLE SLIDE format
- 80 page lesson plan PDF with 13 lessons (45-60 min each.)
- 6 page handout – 21st Century Skills – Notes “Show, Don’t Tell”
- 6 page handout – Look Fors / Success Criteria for each of the 21st Century Skills (6 Cs)
- 3 page handout – Compare and Contrast the 21st Century Skills
- Student self assessment handout (3 versions)
- Teacher class tracking sheet (4 versions)’
- a 3 page handout to Compare and Contrast (Question #2)
- another 3 page handout – Compare and Contrast (Question #3)
- Chapter Review – Question #3
Why yes, we did just save you an incredible amount of prep work!
And of the slides and handouts look fantastic and you get edit the Powerpoint, Google Slide, and the Microsoft Word files.
NOTE: Answer Key not provided as student answers will vary based on class discussions. The point of the Challenge Task is to have classes collaborate and generate new ideas based on their evolving understanding of 21st Century Skills / Competencies.
21st Century Learning Skills Classroom Activities unit outline
13 lessons to explore 21st Century Skills with your class
This unit is based on a 50 minute period schedule. I try to provide around 45-50 min of content per lesson.
Depending on your teaching style and classroom dynamics, you may find things go longer or shorter than the suggested times.
A detailed 80 page lesson plan is included in PDF format (as well as in the slide notes of the Powerpoint Presentation / Google Slides.)
PART 1. What are the 6 Cs / 21st Century Skills
DAY/LESSON 1 – What are the 6Cs / Notes – Show don’t tell (slides 1-48) – 60 MIN
- Introduction (slides 1-14) – 5 minutes
- Part 1. Notes – Show Don’t Tell
- Introduction Handout 4a Notes (Show dont tell) – 5 minutes
- Character – 25 minutes
- Citizenship – 25 minutes
DAY/LESSON 2 – Notes – Show don’t tell (slides 49-72) – 50 MIN
- Part 1. Notes – Show Don’t Tell (Continued)
- Collaboration – 25 minutes
- Communication – 25 minutes
DAY/LESSON 3 – Notes – Show don’t tell (slides 73-96) – 50 MIN
- Part 1. Notes – Show Don’t Tell (Continued)
- Creativity – 25 minutes
- Critical Thinking – 25 minutes
PART 2. Co-Creating Rubrics / Success Criteria
DAY/LESSON 4 – Look Fors Introduction / Co-Creating criteria – CHARACTER (slides 97-113) – 55 MIN
- Introduction (slides 97-103) – 10 minutes
- Co-creating assessment criteria for Character (slide 104-113) – 45 minutes
NOTE: Lessons 5-9 use the same slides to co-create criteria for the other 6 Cs
- You can either show the overview (slide 114) or go through each step to focus students
DAY/LESSON 5 – Co-Creating criteria – CITIZENSHIP (slides 114-118) – 45 MIN
- Co-creating assessment criteria for Citizenship – 45 minutes
DAY/LESSON 6 – Co-Creating criteria – COLLABORATION (slides 114-118) – 45 MIN
- Co-creating assessment criteria for Collaboration – 45 minutes
DAY/LESSON 7 – Co-Creating criteria – COMMUNICATION (slides 114-118) – 45 MIN
- Co-creating assessment criteria for Communication – 45 minutes
DAY/LESSON 8 – Look Fors/Co-Creating criteria – CREATIVITY (slides 114-118) – 45 MIN
- Co-creating assessment criteria for Creativity – 45 minutes
DAY/LESSON 9 – Look Fors/Co-Creating criteria – CRITICAL THINKING (slides 114-118) – 45 MIN
- Co-creating assessment criteria for Critical Thinking – 45 minutes
PART 3. Compare and Contrast the 6 Cs (21st Century Skills)
DAY/LESSON 10 – Compare and Contrast (slides 119-142) – 50 MIN
- Introduction: Thinking about the 6Cs – 10 minutes
- Heads up – You need to use the 6Cs as well – 10 minutes
- Wait! There’s more: Self Assessment / Teacher Assessment – 15 minutes
- Step 1. Independent Thinking (slide 141-142) – 15 minutes
DAY/LESSON 11 – Compare and Contrast – continued (slides 143-145) – 50 MIN
- Step 2. Small Group Collaboration (slide 143) – 30 minute
- Self Assessment (slide 144-145) – 20 minutes
DAY/LESSON 12 – Compare and Contrast – continued (slides 146; 144-145) – 50 MIN
- Step 3. Whole Class Collaboration (slide 146) – 30 minutes
- Update Self Assessment based on Whole Class Conversation (slide 144-145) – 20 minutes
PART 4. Optional Summative Assessment (performance task or individual written task)
DAY/LESSON 13 – OPTIONAL Assessment / Review – (slides 147) – 50 MIN
- Chapter Review Test (slide 147) – 50 min