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21st Century Learners

Tomorrow is our first Kindergarten Field Trip day of the year!  We will be walking two blocks over to our local college - Murray State University.  MSU is a wonderful school! (And my Alma Mater!)  University professionals are involved community members who readily offer SO many options for free field trips and experiences for students in our region of the state... and we are close enough to walk which means no busing expense!
Murray State University
We are calling our field trip the "21st Century Learners" experience.  Using the Framework for 21st Century Learning Student Outcomes, our resident "field-trip-planner" and my awesome teammate, Mr. "B" has worked with university professors and community liaisons to put together an amazing line up of activities.  We will visit the school newspaper offices, school TV and radio stations, the robotics lab, the "Cyber Cave," and many other things.  The peak of the visit will be the opportunity to watch the university's 3D Printer in action!  WOW!  When I was in Kindergarten I remember the record player and the amazing film strip projector as our main sources of technology.
And there in lies one of my BIG professional goals... to help my 21st Century Learners reach their potential by giving them the tools they need and then getting out of their way! 
SO, since I am my teams resident "ambitious-curriculum-developer" I set to work on a new unitI used the 21st Century Framework to create reading, handwriting, vocabulary, and writing activities that introduce the major concepts for 21st Century Learning: problem solving, independent work, creativity, communication, goal-setting, and collaboration.  Take a look at my new unit!
Link to TPT
Link to TPT
I know what you are thinking - "That's WAY TOO out there for my kinders!"  But remember, these kinders are 21st Century Learners.  5-year-olds are not the same today as they were as recent as ten years ago.  They have the world at their fingertips and I firmly believe it's up to us to teach them how to take advantage of that in order to achieve any dream they can imagine.
I have had a fun time this week telling my students what school was like way back in the 20th Century when I was in Kindergarten.  Today when my small group discussed "communication" the conversation that unfolded was SO eye-opening!  It went something like this:
Mrs. S - So, what is communication?
Kinder T - It's when we talk to each other.
Kinder J - Like sometimes when I try to tell "Kinder A" what to do I have to show him with my hands.
Mrs. S - Right!  Because "Kinder A" is learning English so we can even use our bodies to communicate.  Can we use anything else to communicate?  Are there ways to communicate now, in the 21st Century, that we didn't use when I was younger?
Kinder J - Well, if you needed to tell somebody something you could send them a little email.
Kinder C - Or you could text them on your phone.  Because our phones are small and flat now and you can use the Internet.
Kinder M - You can Facetime, too!  Like when my parents were on vacation and they Facetimed me and my sister!
Kinder I - Or you could type on a blog!
THIS conversation really happened TODAY in my KINDERGARTEN classroom!  Students today are different and therefore have different needs, background experiences, and preferences.  I can't wait to see what else they have to teach me!  I can already tell this is going to be a wonderful school year!

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