They say that the eyes are the windows to the soul. The same idea holds true in school where bulletin boards are the figurative windows into the classroom. Walk down the hallway of an elementary school building and it’s easy to see not just what’s taking place in the classrooms, but the culture of the school as well. Is the content rich with student created materials at all levels? Is there evidence of higher order thinking? Is technology being used in an innovative way? Do you see cross-curricular integration?
If you walked down the hallways of the Posnack Lower School, you would be able to answer a resounding YES to all of the above questions. The content of these bulletin boards is aligned with the framework for what is referred to as 21st Century Skills. Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21), a consortium of educators, businesses, and community leaders, believes that education must be transformed in such a way as to prepare students for the challenges they will face in the workplace ahead. This transformation is accomplished through the promotion and development of skills essential for success in the 21st century.
What are these skills and what are schools doing to move this idea from theory to reality? These crucial skills include the ability to reason and make decisions through the use of critical thinking and problem solving strategies, the management and evaluation of information using media and technology, the effective communication of ideas and concepts, and the application of learned knowledge and skills to real-world situations.
So, how do our bulletin boards reflect that Posnack students are on their way to developing these skills? Look closely and you’ll see something other than just pretty pictures. The Kindergarten penguin has a QR code which, when scanned, directs you to a site containing facts about penguins. First Grade is incorporating more than geography into their study of states – they are including math by counting and graphing state quarters, and encouraging the use of technology by videotaping class presentations. The Second Grade board features narrative writing about the type of trees students would like to create; a timely assignment coinciding with the upcoming celebration of Tu B’Shevat. Third and Fourth Grade classes are building communication and writing skills as they master the writing process through the development of persuasive and expository essays. Fifth Grade boards showcase Singapore Math bar models to explain the problem solving strategies of complex word problems.
All Posnack teachers are building a pathway to the 21st century. Every day they encourage students to discover new methods and strategies designed to take them on this journey towards excellence. This is an exciting time to be a part of the Posnack experience. The opportunities are endless and the rewards ahead will be plentiful. But the bulletin boards only capture a fraction of the tremendous learning taking place. Peek into the windows of Posnack and see for yourself.