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Updated by Samantha Stranko on Jun 14, 2018
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21st Century Students: Learning Resources

Many times students feel daunted by expectations of the future job market. Nonetheless, with the right skills students be equipped for continuous learning. These skills can be deemed as 21st century learning skills and consist of leadership, digital literacy, communication, emotional intelligence, entrepreneurship, global citizenship, problem solving, team-working, Here you will find a multitude of lesson plans and additional activities focused on developing these skills in 6th grade students.

Lesson 1: What Makes a Leader? |

In this lesson students will identify characteristics of leadership by researching the lives of great American leaders. This lesson is focused on student interest. Primarily, students will be instructed to brainstorm and research an American leader. During this research students will be instructed to answer guiding discussion questions and complete a graphic organizer. To extend this lesson students could create a poster or presentation to lead the class in sharing details related to their chosen example.

Lesson 1: Leadership-Building Activities for the Classroom

View these easy to implement activities for discovering and developing tomorrow’s leaders. For use an an early-finisher activity or lesson extension these fun and thought-provoking leadership activities are perfect for all aspiring leaders!

Lesson 2: Digital Literacy and Ethics

Part of digital literacy is learning how to use internet resources ethically, appropriately and legally. Students consistently discover new content online. Due to this prevalence students should be well versed on appropriate use of digital content. Through real-world examples and discussion with peers this lesson introduces students to digital ethics, including plagiarism and citations. Click on the Google Drive link above to access this PDF file.

Students are faced with communicating and sharing ideas daily. Nonetheless, it is often hard for students to develop effective communication skills without effective practice, and prompting. For this reason the PDF above includes a series of three lessons geared toward developing the communication skills of middle school students. In these lessons students will utilize group activities, discussion and technology to dive into the concepts of conflict resolution, digital communication, miscommunication, and forgiveness.

Lesson 4: Social-Emotional Skills | Scholastic

These series of quick lessons assist students in becoming socially-savvy through lessons on attitude, boundaries, and more. The first lesson in this series titled "Attitude Latitudes" will dive into various personalities, attitudes, and styles. In this lesson students incorporate mathematics as they graph their personal introversion/extroversion score on an X-Y Graph. Following this, in lesson two "Brain Freezers" where students will become introduced to the importance of emotional health and jumping to conclusions. Next, incorporating prior social studies knowledge of borders or boundaries students begin the lesson "Setting Boundaries" where students create and discuss physical, behavioral, and academic boundaries. For a technology component this lesson can be adapted for students to create a digital poster or list of classroom boundaries to post or share with the classes students. Moving forward, however, students are introduced to an additional lesson in this series "What Sets You Off?" where students are introduced to the importance of managing emotional responses and stress. Lastly, to incorporate other 21st century skills in "Resolving Conflicts" students will be asked to role play various scenarios relating to communication styles. As an additional technology component students may always record and share their skits to preview digitally with the class.

At first, entrepreneurship can seem like a somewhat 'adult' topic to introduce to young students. Nonetheless, as students mature and begin to set goals they become curious about the possibility of creating new material to share. Due to this, it is critical that students are exposed to the idea of entrepreneurship even in middle school years. In this lesson students will become emerged in the history behind famous entrepreneurs and learn the stories behind the Frisbee, the Slinky, and blue jeans. Through discussion, research, and accompanying worksheets students learn about the basics of entrepreneurship. Most importantly, to build a home-to-school connection this lesson includes a "Family Activity Sheet" to allow students the opportunity to bring 21st century learning skills home!

This lesson is geared toward active teachers and classrooms with a multitude of hands-on and community involved activities. This lesson starts out by introducing students to the popular television show Shark Tank and the entrepreneurs commonly seen on this show. Following the premise of "Shark Tank" and to excite students in the realm of product creation students will be allowed to plan, research, and design their own product to share with a class of "sharks." This lesson plan is all encompassing as it contains all worksheets, digital links, and prompting for discussions. Additionally, this lesson plan includes extension resources with a large technology component, and family support letters to once again bring home the importance of 21st century learning skills.

At first, the issues relating to human rights may seem a bit abstract to students. While many students may have not had direct contact with issues relating to human rights this does not mean that this topic is not a critical discussion point when relating to global citizenship. In fact, human rights and the communication among human beings is an issue deep-rooted in global citizenship. In short, by understanding the basics behind human rights, community respect and how to treat others students can become well-versed global citizens who care about our global as well as personal communities. This document contains seven alternative lessons plans utilizing various strategies such as discussion, role-playing, digital research, and writing. Lastly, on top of these detailed resources, the teacher is provided with an additional assessment guide to ensure the full understanding of all students.

Lesson 7: Developing Problem-Solving Skills

This lesson is focused on everyday activities in the life on an average middle school students. As an example in this lesson, many middle school students navigate the school lunch-line yet put little to no thought into the design and creativity behind this activity. In this lesson students will learn the importance of problem-solving to find creative, practical solutions inside their own school building. Students will first read about the design of the average lunch-line as they become introduced to exercising problem solving skills and asking questions. Following this, students will then be tasked with the challenge of solving everyday problems in their school, such as overcrowding or technology use. Through this lesson and the guiding support of three steps "Understand the Problem," "Collect Data," and "Devise a Plan" students will be problem solving professionals in no time!

Today, Google Docs can be deemed as one of the most popular applications for team-working in middle schools. With Google Docs, students can seamlessly extend the collaboration and team-working efforts of the average classroom. In fact, whether it’s collaboration, ease-of-use, or even compatibility, Google Docs is a powerful tool that today’s students need to know to digitally work together. Nonetheless, new technology often leaves educators anxious on how to teach and introduce the appropriate use of tools such as Google Docs. Thankfully, for continued use of Google Docs this easy to follow lesson plan leaves the guess-work out of beginning technology incorporation. In total, this lesson plan explains how to create a Google account for students as well as models the basics of creating, sharing, and editing to take classroom team-work, or group projects to the next level. Additionally, this lesson give students the opportunity to utilize Google Docs with teacher prompting and support, as well as provides reminders, and relevant tips for student use. To summarize, this lesson is a great conclusion to a 21st century skills unit where students can take the skills of leadership, digital literacy, communication, emotional intelligence, entrepreneurship, global citizenship, and problem solving to showcase team-working with peers.