P21 standards

As we continue to examine the standards to which we should teach, there are also standards for the use and integration of technology into our learning skills. These are commonly known as the Partnership for 21st Century Learning Standards, or P21 Standards. These standards consist of four broad areas known as the 4 Cs of critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity. Utilizing technological resources should allow all of us, and in particular students, to take thinking to deeper levels. Gone are the days when we spend an inordinate amount of time looking through the appropriate book to find a certain set of foundational facts that will provide basic information about a topic. A quick internet search will likely provide this information to us.  Having this information will allow opportunities to better understand a topic based on verifiable, basic information and will also allow us the ability to think more critically about a topic. We need the will and interest to continue to critically think and continue to learn about a topic.

Tin pail tussles no more

So, the definitive workings of our school district will be guided now by a recently chosen superintendent.  More than overseeing the district’s budget of public money, choosing and maintaining programs that affect the future lives of thousands of students, hiring and keeping on board excellent teachers, and the responsibility of hiring someone who will make major decisions which are at the core of the age-old question, “What did you learn in school today?” measures the risk taken by board members when a new leader is chosen. Traveling into adulthood in a K-12 system of learning doesn’t mean that no setbacks will arrive in one’s future, but it surely eases some of the hurdles spaced here and there along the way. 

You think you have the answers

I had a teacher in high school who I, and seemingly everybody else, greatly admired. He was fun and made lessons exciting, and it seemed like he loved being an educator. He was a geography teacher, so that is really saying something. We became Facebook friends after I graduated, and little did I know (or really care at the time) that he was wildly active in politics. I am connected with him on Facebook, and I have found that he is so far left, he makes Bernie Sanders look like a moderate. Again, not a problem. He is a good person, and he likely always will be. But there was one day during the George Floyd fiasco that he went on a social media rampage about all the hot topics – Black Lives Matter, abortion, immigration, the coronavirus pandemic, LGBTQ issues, and so on.

Having core values

In his book, “Good to Great,” author Jim Collins examined companies that, according to a series of evaluative metrics, would be considered great companies and compared them against companies that, according to the same metrics, would be considered good companies. Among the elements possessed by great companies is they have a set of core values and adhere to those values with great discipline. Central to this concept is not what the core values are but that they have these values. Having core values during times of progress and relative ease will help keep the focus of the organization in the proper direction. 

Mining on my mind

When we were young admirers of Gene, Roy and/or Hopalong, the movie script often included strangers who rode into town asking the whereabouts of the lawmen and cowboys, our brave heroes. The answer was usually, “Out on the range.” They were probably hunting down bank robbers, cattle rustlers or someone who abandoned his family and left town with a pretty little barmaid. In Foley, we heard of people who were “up on the range,” the area where the iron mines provided jobs for a far reach of people, including men and boys from our locale, from outer Minnesota and from other states and thousands of incoming residents from Europe.