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21st Century Learning! What’s it All About?

Rio School District students and staff are working towards new learning goals. Like many Districts across the country we call them 21st century skills or practices. This acknowledges that we live in times that are rapidly changing and in many ways very different than just a few decades ago. Success and thriving in this century requires people to be excellent communicators, collaborators, critical thinkers, and creative problem solvers. These are the traditionally known 4Cs. At Rio we have added the 5th C, Caring which suggests that people also need to care about themselves, their families, their communities and perhaps most importantly at school, caring about their own learning.

In the last three years, we’ve been making changes to our classrooms and learning activities that support the development of these skills and practices.

Communication: We have encouraged more group work, more discussion, and students using writing, technology and creative making to present their learning.

Collaboration: We have encouraged a variety of ways to work together with others in face to face and virtual contexts.

Critical thinking: We have moved away from learning goals that ask for the “right” single answer to questions to inquiry processes, project and problem based learning that engage students in more complex and layered learning that requires learners to use multiple skills to demonstrate their learning and solve problems.

Creativity: We have created more opportunities for students to make and create to solve problems and to express their learning as well as encouraging them to have divergent thinking and innovative problem solutions.

Caring: We have encouraged students to engage in learning activities that allow them opportunities to demonstrate that they care about themselves, their peers, their family, their community and environment. We are also working to have students develop heightened caring about their own learning and futures as learners, workers, and citizens.

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