My daughter Holly and I will be presenting at the NAEYC Conference today and our topic is “21st Century Skills: It’s a Song and a Game.” I totally endorse the 21st Century Skills because they add balance to the cognitive focus of the CCSS. The Partnership for the 21st Century Skills (21stcenturyskills.org) suggests centers, field trips, providing children with choices, working in small groups, multi-sensory learning, discovery based learning, authentic play activities, multi-cultural education, oral language, connecting emotionally with the child… EVERYTHING that we have traditionally done in early childhood!
Since most of you will not be attending the Conference, over the next few days I’ll share activities from our presentation. How about that? And, when I get home next week I hope to have TONS of new information for you!
Self-Direction and Social Responsibility
Learning to monitor one’s own behavior (executive function), delay gratification, and support the larger group are essential personal skills and employability skills.
Classroom Jobs – Assign classroom jobs weekly. Title the jobs by real careers.
Supervisor – Calls the roll.
Maintenance – Picks up the classroom.
Police Officer – Makes sure everyone walks slowly in the hall.
Mail Carrier – Passes out papers.
Librarian – Cleans the classroom library.
Gardener – Waters the plants.
Meteorologist – Gives the morning weather report.
Accountant – Does the lunch count.
UPS – Takes reports to the office.
President of the Day – Let children take turns being the “President of the Day.” They can act like a “leader” and perform simple routines.
Cheers and Goals – Each month have children fold a sheet of paper in half. On the left side ask them to draw a picture and dictate or write a sentence of something they have learned and want to cheer about. On the right side ask them to draw a goal that they have for the following month. Date, save, and evaluate how they are doing.
What Is a Good Student? Have children discuss what it means to be a good student. What characteristics describe a good student? Act out being responsible, respectful, polite, etc. Write behaviors children suggest on index cards and pin one to each child. Call them by that word throughout the day. If they are not behaving appropriately ask, “Polite, are you actually being polite? Do I need to take your word away?”
Organization – Create checklists, weekly homework assignments, and visual organizational aids to help children stay on task.
*Have a job called “five more minutes.” Let that person walk around holding up five fingers to warn classmates when there are five more minutes to complete tasks.
Career Education – Have children interview their parents about their jobs. What do they like best about their job? How did they train for their job? Do they need special clothing or tools?
*Invite parents to come talk to the class about their profession.
*Let children dress up for the career they’d like to have when they are grown. Have them tell why they selected that career and how they plan to accomplish their goal.