"The hands-on approach ensures the students are not only listening to the information that is being taught, but they are retaining that information because they get the opportunity to learn through critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, and communication."
The 21st Century has brought many changes to the way we teach in our classroom. Educators are stepping away from traditional teaching (pen and paper, or teacher centered) and moving into hands-on learning. The 4 C’s of 21st Century skills are essential tools that students need in order to succeed in school, and throughout the rest of their lives. The reusable Wipebook Flipcharts gave students the chance to incorporate these skills in the classroom, and in the process, changed students' level of comprehension in the mathematics standards of area and perimeter.
C #1: Critical Thinking
The first of the 4 C’s of 21st Century skills is critical thinking. The students in my classroom were able to use this skill in our lesson by working through problems. Students had to measure different items in the classroom, draw them out on the graph side of their Flipchart, and find the area and perimeter of the rectangles or squares that their peers modeled on their Wipebooks. Critical thinking was used throughout the lesson because the students had to understand area, and perimeter in order to solve each of the problems. They also needed to understand how to transfer centimeters to square units on the graph paper. With the use of the Wipebooks, every student stayed engaged, and every student used their critical thinking skills to help their group finish each of their tasks.
C #2: Creativity
The students in my class really enjoyed being able to get creative and find their own material in the classroom to measure. There was so much excitement as the students went around, looking for rectangular objects throughout the room so that they could create their models on the Wipebooks.
When the students drew out their models, they were able to use different colors, shade the models in, make designs in the rectangles, and erase and start over if they made a mistake. The Wipebooks worked as a great tool to allow the students the freedom to get creative and not be afraid to mess up!
C #3 and #4: Collaboration and Communication
Having Wipebooks in my classroom made collaboration so much easier! I was able to give each group of students a separate page to draw out their models for our lesson. They had the opportunity to take turns leading their group, and each student was able to have their voice heard. It isn’t easy to give every student in my class the opportunity to have their voice heard because I have 27 students. Having them collaborate with each other and work in groups, while using the Wipebook flipcharts, really improved the way we listen to each other.
After using the Wipebook Flipcharts in my classroom, I don’t see how I can ever go back to the traditional way of teaching. The hands-on approach ensures the students are not only listening to the information that is being taught, but they are retaining that information because they get the opportunity to learn through critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, and communication. Wipebook Flipcharts are definitely an item that every educator needs to have!
Kyle Wisnom, Teacher, Alta Vista Elementary School
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