The 4 C’s has been introduced to me as the crucial skills that need to be a part of modern instruction to prepare students for the future. The 4 C’s are Communication, Collaboration, Critical Thinking and Creativity and students should be engaged in learning experiences that include these skills. The concept was introduced through professional development district wide.
The skills sounded great, but it was a very broad concept that did not provide me with a lot of direction about where to go to incorporate these skills better into my instruction. I have thought a lot about adding rigor, creative projects, cooperative learning and community based practices into my classroom, but I didn’t know how to pin point a certain activity or assessment that demonstrated that my students were accomplishing these goals. All of a sudden it hit me as I was reviewing student work on SeeSaw (a new digital tool that I have introduced into my classroom). My students are demonstrating all of these skills through our work on SeeSaw!
The first positive aspect that SeeSaw has added to my classroom is self-motivated students. With motivation and interest, students have been engaging in critical thinking activities. In knowing that they could post quality work on SeeSaw for students and parents to see, they put great effort into those tough higher order thinking questions when responding to their reading. I have been able to get so much great content out of my students. They are able to show their thinking and new learning through text, recordings, videos, drawings, etc. which makes the site accessible to a learners of all levels. It differentiates for itself!
I have really tried to let go and award students their own agency in learning that they deserve. I have gradually given them less and less direction on how to post their thinking on SeeSaw. In this way, students are problem solving and coming up with various types of posts. Some students have been taking pictures of the book or a page from the book they are reading and write a text response to a question about the characters. Some students have taken pictures of a fable we’ve read and recorded their voice to explain the lesson in the story and supported their response with details from the text. They are using all the new learning from my mini lessons in authentic experiences through this digital tool.
Along with posting individually, students have been collaborating and creating posts together. Recently, I had partners record each other when practicing election speeches in our character election project. In this process, students are practicing speaking skills and able to reflect on them and improve before completing the final speech. Other students paired together and recorded themselves comparing different cultural folktale videos that they had listened to in the Daily 5. They are creating scripts of what they are going to say and designing the best way to post their work on a digital platform.
Students collaborate further by viewing each others work. We do this as a class on the Smartboard as well as individually. This develops an authentic audience that motivates my students every day. I love being able to demonstrate super star work and show places where we made mistakes and learned from them. In our learning environment, students are comfortable thinking critically about their own work and their peer’s work. As I have modeled this and we have experienced this, students have learned how to make good comments on each other’s work. They can communicate these ideas with each other by commenting on posts and asking students to elaborate or clarify content from their posts.
There is creativity going on all over the place on this digital portfolio of my classroom! I like the 4 C’s model above, because through collaborating, communication and critical thinking, students are able to experience creativity and innovation. These broad buzz words (bolded) thrown around in professional education are really coming to life for my students and I through SeeSaw.