This type of learning is at the core of a 21st century classroom, prompting students to build off of each other’s ideas, create collaboratively and offer constructive feedback. In the process, kindergartners can form the basis for how they will approach issues and conflicts in their lives. And our educators have embraced the approach.
Through a Critical Friends exercise embedded in professional development, they show their peers what deeper learning, effective collaboration and rigorous problem-solving look like—and then all educators model the successful practices to their students.
Teachers make effective use of professional learning communities to build projects and share critical feedback. In 21st century, project-based instruction, it is critical to not only use the concrete measures of student achievement but also those qualitative assessments of school climate.
Conduct a YouthTruth Survey, which measures students’ perceptions of what they are learning, how they are challenged and their relationships with peers. These insights allow educators to adapt their instruction to support an innovative learning culture.
Broad investment in project-based learning and assessment produces a 21st century learning community that emphasizes application and collaboration. In this type of classroom, students as early as kindergarten use the four Cs to tackle complex problems and prepare for success in college and career.
As project-based learning gains traction—even in kindergarten—college and career readiness for our nation’s 5-year-olds may not seem like such a far-off proposition.