1) Partnership for 21st Century Skills This national organization advocates for 21st Century readiness for all students. If you have not utilized their website www.p21.org, we highly recommend you doing so. The Framework is thought provoking and may change your perspective, and possibly even your philosophy.
2) Books Aside from the book 21st Century Skills: Rethinking How Students Learn, mentioned in our Shift #1 Post, there is a variety of literature that has been published within the last 5-10 years on this topic. Simply search your favorite bookstore with the key words 21st Century Skills, 21st Century Learning, or 21st Century Teaching. You will find treasures.
3) PLCs & PLNs Who do you network with? Our PLCs offer expertise right around the corner. Turn to them often and establish set collaboration time. Bring your favorite book or article to discuss. Launch Book Clubs that align to PLC goals. Stuff mailboxes (staff room and email) with inspiration. J PLNs offer an extension of learning that can cross buildings, cities, states, countries, and even continents. Browse websites, blogs, Facebook, and even Twitter. You can even find a variety of PLNs already formulated that are easy to join, like ASCD EDge or The Educator’sPLN. We have received some of our best inspiration from collaborating with people across the country. Connecting with like-minded people supports one’s growth mindset, and these conversations allow for a fresh perspective.
4) Students Your best resources are sitting right in front of you. They have the immediate answers to what is working and what is not. Sometimes their advice is even profound! Asking for feedback from students is empowering beyond words. It takes courage, but the results are extraordinary.
5) Blogging Reflection is essential when researching and applying new ideas. Blogging has been a great way to journal about our process. It allows us to recode information and make it our own, thus creating depth in our thinking. Through our joint blog we are able to process even further, compressing the information to just the good stuff! This continuous synthesis sparks new ideas and allows for authentic connections in and out of the classroom.
Hopefully these inspire you to shift your own thinking towards researching more often, by way of the many resources surrounding you. Time spent reading, conversing, or reflecting could be empowering and offer you the support you need to meet your professional goals. This personal growth in turn positively impacts your students and prepares them for the future they are facing.