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Corner CAFE CoP #1: Next Generation Learning: Supporting 21st Century Skills Outside of School

Corner CAFE CoP #1: Next Generation Learning: Supporting 21st Century Skills Outside of School

Date of the Event: December 12, 2022 | Jenny Portillo, Nikevia Thomas
Show Notes:

Our first session in the Corner CAFE series was “Next Generation Learning: Supporting 21st Century Skills Outside of School” with Jenny Portillo-Nacu.


Together we explored how educators can build family and caregiver capacity around 21st century skills and project-based learning to support their children’s education. Why do these skills matter for students? Today’s K-12 students need 21st century skills to help them succeed in school and tackle real-world problems. Project-based learning is an educational approach that can support the development of 21st century skills while also empowering students to create authentic products.


Revisit other sessions in the Corner CAFE series:

Nikevia Thomas:

Okay, in the interest of time, let’s see. So I would like to introduce myself again. My name is Nikevia Thomas. I will be one of your facilitators for the Corner Cafe Community of Practice. My colleague Jessica Webster is a Senior Family Engagement Specialist. She will be joining us, she might be joining us a little later on, but she’s in travel right now. But she will be co-facilitating this community of practice with me.

So MAEC is ...

Nikevia Thomas:

Okay, in the interest of time, let’s see. So I would like to introduce myself again. My name is Nikevia Thomas. I will be one of your facilitators for the Corner Cafe Community of Practice. My colleague Jessica Webster is a Senior Family Engagement Specialist. She will be joining us, she might be joining us a little later on, but she’s in travel right now. But she will be co-facilitating this community of practice with me.

So MAEC is a champion of innovation, collaboration, and equity. And I just want to go over our agenda for today. So we are due welcomes and introductions. We will talk about what is a commu,nity of practice, and then we’ll have a presentation on the Next Generation Learning Supporting 21st Century Skills Outside of School with Jenny Portillo. And there’ll be a Q&A. And then we’ll have closing.

So some Zoom etiquette. Welcome Samantha. So some Zoom etiquette as we get go on. Use the chat box to engage with other participants. We recommend that you click on the chat icon at the bottom or top toolbar of your screen. And we’re not going to use the raise hand function for our community of practice. There will be Q&A throughout the community of practice. But please put your questions in the chat and in the “What I Wonder” section of the Padlet. Okay.

So close caption. Live auto caption should already be on your screen by default. To turn them off you can use the web controls at the bottom of your zoom window to select live caption or close caption button. If you want to hide those, you simply select hide subtitles. And then to view them again, you repeat step two and select show subtitles.

So as we to lay the groundwork about who we are before we get started today, I’d like to share a little bit about MAEC and then we’ll talk a little bit about CAFE. So MAEC was founded in 1992 as an education non-profit dedicated to increasing access to a high quality education for culturally diverse, linguistically and, economically diverse learners. We envision a day when all students have equitable opportunity to learn and achieve at high levels. Our mission is to promote excellence in equity and education to achieve social justice. And a little bit about CAFE. So CAFE or the Collaborative Action for Family Engagement is a project of MAEC. And we are a Statewide Family Engagement Center for Maryland and Pennsylvania. Actually, we are the only statewide engagement center for two states. We build sustainable infrastructure to support healthy family, student, and community. Community engagement. CAFE serves all educators from state agencies to school districts to school staff and early childcare providers and families to promote high impact, culturally responsive family engagement.

So now we’re, we’re going to lay the groundwork and talk a little bit about what a community of practice. So to get us started, we’ll look at two definitions of what community of practice are and then we’ll do an activity together. So let’s look at these definitions that we have here. So the first one says, communities of practices are groups of people who share a concern, a set of problems, or a passion about a topic and who deepened their knowledge and expertise in this area by interacting on an ongoing basis. And the other: different from team or work groups in that membership is voluntary. The goals of a community are less specific and more changeable. Results are not easily discerned or measured. The community exists as long as its members participate. And now I would like to place in the chat, we’re going to do an act activity related to this. I don’t think I pressed the link in the chat, but I will now. Where you… Oops, that’s the wrong link. We have a Mentimeter that we’d like for you to participate in. And the questions on the Mentimeter activity are, what are the two core principles of a community of practice?

Oh, oops. So that flip, let’s look at this and then we will share the Mentimeter question. The basic principles for communities of practice are participation, everyone in the community has a voice can be heard and can contribute to the practice. Difference explored. Commitment to practice – to uncovering what the work is, why we do it, how it’s done, and to reciprocity with others wanting to learn. So with that, we will click on the Mentimeter and answer this question, what important words stand out to you as essential for a successful community of practice? And you can place them in the Mentimeter and I will grab the link.

Thank you. Thank you. Jenny. You’re doing more. I appreciate it. So let me stop and share so I can grab access to the Mentimeter because it’s not showing for some reason. Here we go. Here we go. Okay. So the words that stand out are reciprocity, difference, commitment, voice, participation-voice, anything else? This is a very intimate group today, so it might not be more, we can certainly move on. Difference. Learn, yes, it is a place to learn, that is certain. Okay, contribute, support. These are great. Okay. I encourage you all to keep adding to the mentee meter. In the interest of time, we are going to move on.

Okay. So now that we have a definition for communities of practice, we are going to look at our definition for family engagement. And we are using a quote from our president, Susan Schaffer. So “Family engagement needs to be more than a series of random acts. It requires a systemic, integrated, and comprehensive approach to working with families in support of children’s learning.” And this is the framework that we are using for our community of practice. When we look at family engagement, we’re looking at systemic, integrated, and a comprehensive approach.

And so now I’ll talk a little bit more about the purpose of our family, of our Corner CAFE, family engagement, community of practice. We designed this to create a cross-state collaboration between Maryland and Pennsylvania. The two states that we serve. And we saw this as a networking opportunity to share resources and strategies. And this was designed for practitioners by practitioners. We have a steering committee of members who work at many levels, our principals, teachers, district office, community organizations. These are the voices that we have on the community of practice steering team. And we also, as I said before, we emphasize systemic, integrated, and comprehensive family engagement priorities. And these priorities are pulled from the Maryland State Department of Education and the Pennsylvania Department of Education with a focus on equity and inclusion.

So with that we’d like to hear from you, what are your goals for the community of practice? What are your goals for the community of practice? So with that, would you please go to the Padlet again and share with us your goals. I will place the link in the chat. Thank you Jenny. And again, the password is mochalatte, all one word. So please share with us what are your goals for the community of practice now that you’ve heard ours. We want to hear what yours are. So before, let’s see, we learned from fellow practitioners about culturally responsive family school community engagement practices. Someone wrote, my role is new, so I’m building out a multi-year strategy. Would love to know what others look like. I am new in a role. I am also in a role that is a new position. My goal for the community of practice is to learn how other people are integrating various emotional and behavioral supports in the school with our students. I work in a very depressed area with a school that is under receivership. So supporting this community as a whole to me is critical to the success. Anybody else would like to add? Nope. Somebody’s typing. I don’t see it though. Robert also wrote expanded network in the family engagement space and learn best practices.


Oh well I cannot enter to the page. It’s say I have trouble viewing this page and go to diagnostic and when I get click, it’s not there. So I will talk to you. I’m new with this program and also in the Department of Education in Pennsylvania. So my goal is to learn, to learn from all of you, so I can do better job communicating with the family and then community and all the agencies in the school.

Nikevia Thomas:

Hi Samantha. It was a bit garbled, but did you say you’re here to learn? Your position is new and you’re here to learn. That’s what I heard. Is that what you said Samantha? You’re here to learn more.

Jenny Portillo:

Yeah, she also mentioned just knowing how to communicate with families more and across different agencies.

Nikevia Thomas:

Okay. I’m going to put that, that’s important.

Jenny Portillo:

Thank you for sharing Samantha.

Nikevia Thomas:

Yes. Thank you. Anybody else? Anyone else would like to share? Not we will move on. You can certainly add your goals for the community of practice throughout. Okay, let’s go back to the slides and let’s go to the next slide.

So I want to share with you what a typical visit to our CAFE community to practice would look like. This is not… It’s a typical day. We will deviate sometimes, but this is what you could be sure to see on a typical day. So we meet for 90 minute or an hour and a half monthly gatherings. And the first part of the gathering is 30 to 45 minutes of a themed topic that aligns with our MSDE and PDE priorities. And it will compliment our CAFE podcast, which is currently in development. It would feature speakers or best practices from the leadership team and a discussion and then followed by that we would have a 45 minute ED-Camp model that we’re using for our community of practice. And, if you don’t know about ED-Camp, ED-Camp leverages the knowledge and expertise of attendees by allowing educators to collaboratively determine topics for discussion on the day of the event. So educators facilitate sessions by using their experiences to drive conversations with their peers and educators are encouraged to find ED-Camp sessions that meet their needs to maximize learning. And examples could be starting a parent advisory, how to support tech use with family communication resources for supporting refugee families and retooling parent conferences.

So now I would like to introduce the focus for today’s community of practice: Next Generation Learning Supporting 21st Century Skills Outside of School done by Jenny Portillo. And Jenny has done some amazing work at MAEC and I want to introduce you to her. So Jenny has over 10 years of experience with the public education sector. Currently, Jenny serves as a senior education equity specialist for MAEC. As a senior education equity specialist, Jenny supports the work of the Center for Education Equity or CEE. Jenny provides technical assistance and trainings for state departments of education districts and schools to improve instructional practice, student engagement, and family and community engagement to create supportive learning environments for all learners.

Jenny has extensive experience in working with English learners and developing curricular to support learners from diverse backgrounds. Throughout her career, she has worked as a dual language and general education teacher, teacher evaluator, instructional coach, professional development facilitator and curriculum designer. Jenny holds a master of education in school leadership from Harvard Graduate School of Education. While at Harvard, Jenny was awarded the equity and inclusion fellowship and the Intellectual Contribution Award for school leadership. Jenny also holds a master of arts in curriculum and teaching from Teachers College, Columbia University, and a Bachelor’s of Arts in English and history from Fordham University. It is a pleasure and honor to introduce you all to Jenny Portillo.

Jenny Portillo:

Thank you Nikevia. It’s always a little awkward to hear like your entire life story wrapped up in a paragraph, but I’m really happy to be here with all of you and very excited to present on today’s topic, which is very exciting and important for us to discuss, which is how do we support student learning at home in authentic ways that are really preparing them for next generation tasks, learning skills, occupations. So I want to start by group reflections. So if we could go to the next slide please. I’d love to hear about how your family members or caregivers supported your learning in school. And you can feel free to either unmute or drop that in the chat. So when I think about my own example, I am first generation American in this country. My parents both immigrated from their home countries in Latin America. And so the way they supported my learning was telling me to listen to my teachers and having me translate homework assignments so that they could try to support me with them and then translate them back. So homework help and telling me to listen to my teachers were two big ways that my parents really tried to support my learning in school. Would love to hear from others again. Feel free to unmute or just drop it in the chat.

Books in the home, reading at home. Yep. Homework help for sure. Promoting reading. Yep. Homework help. Yep. Reading at home, seeing some patterns here. Homework help, reading at home, making books available at home. Yeah. Any others? And again, feel free to unmute. Type in the chat. Supplemental activity books. Yeah, my mom saw any sort of workbook at the store, she would try to get it for me to see if it was something that would help me with either fast facts and math or again, reading comprehension books, anything she could find. Feel free to keep dropping those in. But I’d like to start here because many times a lot of the things that you all named, whether it’s reading at home, homework, help, those are some of the primary ways that parents feel that they can support learning at home, staying involved with school, parent-teacher conferences. Yep. Continue reading and math activities at home. These are a lot of the ways that parents feel that, that they’re limited to when it comes for helping. And so in today’s session, we’re really going to spend some time deep diving into other ways that families can authentically support student learning at home. All right, next slide please.

So again, our objectives for today, hopefully it will be able during this session to equip you all with resources on 21st century learning skills and project-based learning. We’re going to identify some strategies to support 21st century learning skills and project-based learning at home. And then our last goal for our time together is to support you all in building family and caregiver capacity around authentic learning experience and instructional support at home. That goes again beyond homework help, that goes again beyond just activity extensions of what’s happening in school and really digging deep into what it means to engage in authentic learning experiences. Next.

So this graphic is from the Flamboyant Foundation. They do a lot of really excellent work around family engagement. And so some of the things that we described as ways that our parents and caregivers supported our learning live in the lower impact of family engagement strategies where there might be some support, there can be help in the ways that parents interact, whether it’s fundraisers, attending conferences, and all of those things are great, there’s nothing wrong with them. However, what we really want to shift families towards and schools towards is higher impact family engagement, which as you can see is circled in that purple circle, which includes goal setting talks, regular personalized communication, positive phone calls, modeling of learning support strategies, which is one that we’re really going to hone in on today. And so ideally to have a really robust systemic approach to family engagement, you would want to have a balance across these because the higher impact activities and family engagement strategies can be really time demanding and resource demanding. Again, it’s it what we seek to get is a balance of the lower impact and the higher impact so that we’re reaching families in different ways that work best for them not. And that also suit the resources and capacity of a particular school or organization. So again, we’re really focusing on the higher impact strategies during our time together. Next.

Sessions like the one today are really meant to help families author and position their own engagement. And what that means is that we’re supporting families and caregivers and understanding how the school system works and helping them to understand that they can express what they know and want, that they can engage as framers, not just receivers of school structures and norms and that families and caregivers have a right to be listened to, to be valued, and to be understood. And so when we build family capacity, when we build their skills and their understanding of the school system, they have the agency and are empowered to do these things to make sure that their needs and wants are known and that they can engage in ways that are authentic to their backgrounds, cultures, and identities, not just in the ways that schools tell them they’re allowed to engage. Next.

And so the premise of the work that we’re going to engage in together today is really about how do we leverage families’, funds of knowledge and funds of knowledge is comprised of a couple of different things as you see here in this slide. Funds of knowledge are worldview structured by broader, historically and politically influenced social forces, a family or caregiver’s own academic and personal background knowledge, the resilience of families coming in and adapting to a new system and making it their own, there are a lot of things that can be leveraged within that resilience, skills and knowledge that they use to navigate everyday social con context, whether that’s going to the grocery store, engaging with people in their community and in general, accumulated life experiences. All of these things together equate to a lot of social, cultural, and historical capital. The families and caregivers really can use to teach children authentically at home and to meaningfully engage in their kids’ learning. But often these are not necessarily recognized by schools as ways that they can contribute to learning or the school community. And so we’re really going to talk about how to leverage these funds of knowledge to help families feel like they are also first teachers for their students and that they have the ability to really engage meaningfully with the education system. Next.

So now we’re going to go and zoom in specifically on a publication I wrote, which is meant as a family capacity building publication to support student learning and it focuses on 21st century skills and project-based learning. Next. So I keep throwing these terms around, but in the chat I would love to hear or feel free to unmute, what images come to mind when you hear the terms 21st century skills or the term project-based learning? What comes to mind? What do these terms look like, sound like, like to you in your context? Oh, go back. So again, when you hear someone say 21st century skills, what images come to mind or when you hear project-based learning, and again, feel free to unmute or pop it in the chat. Technology, that one comes up a lot. STEM, mm-hmm. Those are two that I see a lot. Yep. Social skills, technology, STEAM or STEM, virtual, networking, critical thinking, yes. You’re really doing great with this.

Feel free to keep popping those in. But those are a lot of the same things that I heard and things that would come to my mind when I would hear these two terms. Great. Feel free to pop in more ideas in there. But technology is one of the ones that comes up the most and STEM more STEAM. So next, when we think about 21st century skills, there are four big key skills. They’re called the four Cs that were developed when thinking about what are truly those skills that students need as they move forward in this ever-changing world that we have. So the first is communication, and it doesn’t just mean talking to one another. Communication in this case means the general exchanging of ideas and information. And that can be done through listening, through speaking, writing, art, which is one that’s not always considered.

And technology, which is considered a lot. And many times we take for granted people’s ability to communicate and communicate effectively. But it’s really something that needs to be taught into and done in a variety of ways. I love that least included networking. Collaboration is one of those other 21st century skills, working cooperatively with families, friends, people in your community, not just your peers but everyone across your community.

Creativity. So creativity is one of those things that again, we sort of take for granted and often associate with abstract things like art or other things of that nature. But really creativity means coming up with new ideas or different solutions to problems that you face every day, which is a really great way to think about creativity and its usefulness in the modern day world. And the last, as you all said, critical thinking. Thank you Samantha for that.

Which means really understanding big ideas and being able to use strategies to solve problems. Now those strategies can look like analysis, synthesis, evaluating, even comparing and contrasting. Those are key critical thinking skills that we need to build in students and with adults as well. And we need to explicitly teach into these things in different ways. So again, these are the four big 21st century skills we’re going to be focusing on and that the publication we’re going to deep dive into focuses on next. Now project-based learning is often associated with those four 21st century skills. But really project-based learning is just an educational approach. It’s a way of teaching where really the goal is for kids to create authentic products that can be used or presented at home or with their communities. Now what that means authentic is that it exists outside of just the context of school.

So if a student is producing a slide deck for example, we might think that’s more of an authentic product, but if it’s not something that they would use outside of school, then again it’s just a school-based task that’s not as transferrable. Same thing with a worksheet. Now on the other hand, if students are creating things like brochures that they’re going to hand out in their local community, a cookbook that’ll be used in their home as a family artifact, it doesn’t have to be anything big, but the question is it something that others would be able to use in a real context? Then we’re engaging in project-based learning.

Project-based learning also helps children and families identify and solve real world problems, ask and answer questions, which is often if you have kids or have worked with kids, it can be a struggle to have them answer and ask questions, reflect on their thinking so that metacognition and experiment with new ways of thinking that they may not have encountered before. And the goal is that this isn’t something that happens at the end of learning where they just create a project to show their learning. They actually learn through the act of creating that product. Next.

So the question in all of this, of course why we’re all here is what role can families and caregivers play in really teaching into these skills and through project-based learning? Well, the first thing we have to consider is that L, that families and caregivers at home can support project-based learning by leveraging their family backgrounds, their home cultures and their home languages. And that’s where those funds of knowledge I mentioned at the start really come into play. Leveraging those accumulated life experiences, their common sense, background knowledge, social and cultural capital, family histories and stories, those are all things that families can leverage when really helping kids to engage in creating authentic products. Families can also provide different kinds of non-traditional support. And really what we mean by non-traditional support is supports that aren’t associated with a more traditional suburban white, middle class background school. And so many families, particularly newcomer families, families of different linguistic and cultural backgrounds often have ways of providing support that may not be recognized by a school because it doesn’t look the way that they’ve always been accustomed to seeing engagement look.

And it’s really important for us to consider that. And the third thing that we need to do that’s related to this is shifting from a deficit to an asset-based form of instruction. And so when families are engaging authentically, they can provide access to authentic learning for students, especially students who are English or multilingual learners and students with special needs. And I highlight these two student groups because they are often the ones that are limited or barred access from what’s considered more rigorous, 21st century learning and project-based learning. As an English learner myself growing up, I was barred access from these courses because it was considered that I needed to learn English first before I could really engage, which is not the case at all. When we’re engaging in 21st century learning skills and project-based learning, we can leverage different languages, different cultural practices to really shift to seeing those as assets rather than deficits that we need to work around. Next.

So what we need to consider is that project-based learning and 21st century skills also help to develop students’ domains of language in authentic ways, speaking, listening, reading, writing. These are skills that students are learning every day in school, but it’s often taught in isolation or again through tasks that aren’t really authentic, which can make it challenging for students to then apply these language skills outside of the context of school. So it’s really important that we consider how 21st century skills and project-based learning really make learning transferrable. It allows students to take the learning at school and really apply it in their everyday life, which is ideally what we want because students won’t be in school forever and they need to know what to leverage from their schooling in order to be successful, whether it’s career and college readiness in a job, or even just in engaging with other people in their local community. Next.

Great. So I just threw a lot at you. So what I would love for you to do now is to sort of share out, now that I’ve given you sort of a baseline understanding of what we mean by 21st century skills and project-based learning in the chat. Or feel free to unmute. I would love to know if how and if you are currently supporting any of these skills or project-based learning in your context or if you’re not, you can also share how you think family engagement organizations or schools could support families in engaging with their children’s learning in general or in this way.

So again, feel free to unmute or pop in the chat. Feel free to answer either of those two questions. So again, how are you currently supporting these types of skills or project-based learning if you are? Or more generally, how else do you think that we could be? How supporting families and caregivers to really authentically support student learning, having children read a recipe and use their math skills as they’re adding ingredients. That’s great. Low lift and very authentic. Thank you for sharing that. Others? Purposefully working on systemic student-led IEPs, love that. To transfer communication, collaboration, creativity, critical thinking practices to real life and post-school practice and implementation. Yep.

Having students be a part of that IEP process is really critical and often not something that’s regularly practiced. Thank you for sharing that Erin. Family academies are another way that I’ve seen schools try to engage families and caregivers in their kids learning where they might choose a particular skill or particular set of skills that they do a teach-in around for families and often they have kids there present so families can actually get the practice in teaching and working with their kids. Even when it comes to homework, help many families and mine included, struggle with how to purposely help with homework without just giving a student the answers, right? Or teaching them a skill rather than answering just an isolated question. So family academy can be very, very helpful in that way. Anyone else?

If you think of any others, feel free to keep popping them in the chat and I hope that everyone is taking a moment to read some of the great ideas in the chat. Again, with this community of practice, it’s not just me or Nikevia or anyone else just telling you from our expertise, but really there’s a lot of shared and collective expertise in this space that we want to make sure you’re all engaging with and learning from. Great. All right, we can go ahead and shift to the next slide. So now we’re going to actually jump into a deep dive into the resource itself and think about how we can leverage it to build caregiver capacity. Next.

So this guide I developed is called 21st Century Learning at Home. It is available on our website. You can use the QR code there or the link, it’ll prompt you the web, the resource is completely free, it’s a PDF and I’ll go over what it contains in a moment, but feel free to download this and share it widely. Again, it’ll just ask you to input some information so we know a little bit more about you and the organization you represent. But we really do hope that this is a resource you take and use in your context. A little bit of the inspiration behind it, so I developed this in the midst of Covid-19 shutdowns for schools and hearing in general that families were struggling to have enough things to really support their children during the day, particularly if their virtual schooling was not happening for a full day.

Meaning that families had to find other things to fill space with and they wanted it to be purposeful. This is also mildly inspired by my own family. I have a nephew who is 10 and my brother is an English learner himself. So he was thinking of what are ways that I can support given that my English proficiency is not as strong as I would like it to be. And so this resource was really created with English learners, multilingual learners in mind. However, it is not exclusively for them, but it contains a lot of additional supports for language development. Next.

So a little bit about the content. It provides similar information to what I just gave you on what 21st Century skills are. What Project-Based Learning is because families are at different levels of understanding of what this could mean. And so some might need a little more information than others to get them started. The guide contains six different projects appropriate for different grade levels and ages. And the projects in this guide really leverage families and students funds of knowledge as we discussed in social capital. And they really help families and caregivers support children’s learning in a meaningful and authentic context. So they’re going to create real products and learn through that creation. For each one of these six products uh- six projects. Click next and the other box should appear, oh, there we go. One more. Click perfect. The components, each project contains these sections that I’m going to go over.

It contains a purpose section that describes the project and what the hope is that they’ll be able, what they’ll get out of it. It’ll have a guard, a getting started section, which again provides suggested materials, timelines, et cetera. Some families might not need this much scaffolding, but it’s really, they’re meant to support families depending on whatever level of understanding they have of how they can work with their kids. Questions for children. One piece of feedback I got when developing this guide is that sometimes families need to know what kinds of questions to ask to really get kids talking because oftentimes, and I think about my nephew in this case, if I ask a question as general as how is school today? What are you learning? I’m not going to get much conversation going. And again, communication is one of those key 21st century skills. So what we’ve included in the guide are questions and ideas to consider before you start the project and they can be used to prompt student thinking or to prompt adult thinking before they get started in the project as well.

Each project also contains instructions that outline the process to complete the projects. And they include scripts of example conversations so that a family or caregiver can take a look and have an idea of what the conversation should sound like as opposed to just letting the child go on their own. And there are some scaffolded handouts that do not have to be used, but again, some families need a little bit more guidance than others. And the last thing that every project includes is a list of additional activities and resources to keep the learning and the activities going next. So what I’m going to do now is give you all some time to actually dive into the publication. If you go into our Padlet that we’ve been using, there is a column that says handouts.

That very first link that’s there is a PDF that has handouts to it. If you click on it, you can download it. And it includes an excerpt from one of the projects from the guide. It is a project called Solving Problems at Home. And what I would like you to do during this time is to read through the project. It’s only about three pages, three or four pages. And it includes again, the steps. There are also other handouts for a different guide that’s included here, but we’ll talk about those momentarily. Nikevia if I could share my screen real quick. I can show folks what this looks like or if you want to show it that works. Can you give me permission?

Okay. Or if you could share it just on your end, what it looks like when you click on the PDF link from the Padlet. Because it looks like it’s not going to let me. Great. So it’s that very first box. When you click on it’ll pop up in a larger box. Just takes a moment to load because it’s a larger file. So there you see Nikevia is showing you what a page of the project looks like. Yep. If you scroll up, you’ll see there it says Solving Problems at Home. That is one of the projects from the guide. So I wanted to give you an excerpt that you could take a look at. And so again, what I would like for you to do is to read through the project and as you’re reading to think about, and I’ll put these prompts in the chat, how does this resource help families and caregivers support 21st century skills, project-based learning? And how might you leverage this resource to build caregiver and family capacity in your context? So right now, we’re going to take a few minutes just on our own to look through the project and we’ll come back together in a few minutes to go ahead and have this conversation around how might you use this resource? How do you think this supports student learning of 21st century skills?

And feel free to download it. You have the option to download it as well, or you can just stay on the viewer there. Like Nikevia has it. You’ll notice that it says recommended age. It doesn’t mean they’re restricted to that. Right underneath it gives you suggestions if you’re working with older children, younger children, if you’re working with more than one child potential things that families and caregivers should consider. You’ll notice the under each step of the instructions, there’s that example script that I included that helps you think through what the conversation should sound like. Again, those questions that you could use. And again, the idea with this is that parents don’t have to follow every single thing. Families caregivers don’t need to follow every single thing, but it’s there to provide them with additional support so that they don’t feel like they have to figure it all out on their own or that they can build off of these things.

And it’s only about four, four and a half pages long. And again, there’s always a step around reflecting and sharing. We think it’s very valuable for communication and collaboration for children to be able to share what they’ve created and to reflect on how they got there. And then you’ll see again, the additional activities and resources. And that’s the page where this project ends. What follows is something we’ll talk about in a moment and that’s where it ends. And we’ll talk about that page that says Edutopia in just a bit. You can scroll back up.

All right, let’s take about three more minutes and then we’ll come together to share and discuss. We’re doing great on time so far, and I want to make sure I leave you all time for action planning. Two more minutes, come back together right around like 2:06 my time. And again, the questions that we’re thinking about are in the chat. How does this resource help families or caregivers support 21st century skills, project-based learning or children’s learning in general? And then the second question, which is really about how you could use this resource is how might you leverage this resource to build parent or caregiver or family capacity in your particular job and context. All right, one more minute before we come back together.

All right, so let’s chat. And for this, I would really love to get some more voices in the room. So if you’re able to and would like to unmute to share, I think that’d be great. Otherwise, as usual, as you’re comfortable, feel free to pop in the chat. These two big ideas, how do you think this actually supports students learning these 21st century skills we talked about or they’re learning in general? And then that second question, which I think for this community of practice is especially important is how would you use a resource like this to build family-parent caregiver capacity in your context?

Speaker 4:

It helps to empower the parent to teach and something that they wouldn’t think of right off the bat.

Jenny Portillo:

Thank you for sharing.

Speaker 5:

To me, I see it as a communication away for the child and the parent to communicate with each. The parent will be able to hear the child’s side of the situation, vice versa.

Jenny Portillo:

Yeah, definitely. Right. Sometimes we think that it’s going to be easy to communicate with kids, especially if and whether they’re younger or older. But yeah, sometimes we need something to help us get started. Thank you for sharing that. We’d love to hear any thoughts that you might be percolating right now around how you might use a resource like this or other ways you think it helps in support kids’ learning, especially those 21st century skills? Oh, in the chat. Oh my. This is great. Thank you. Erin. Increases awareness that problems aren’t only on worksheets at school and they’re not, and things are not continually done to children. Yes, that’s so critical. We’re giving them some agency here that they get to be a part of the solution. Love that. Erin also mentioned to you, especially like the reframing of skills, that not everything will work, but that isn’t failure, it’s an option for further brainstorming.

All of this directly applies to my work with students, student-led IEPs for youth and families relating how writing goals, progress, monitoring, knowing effective accommodations or especially design instruction can affect their post-school work. Love that. And tying in these real life opportunities, obstacles. I’m so glad that you find that helpful. And again, every project ties into a different topic area and so we happen to show you this solving problems at home project. But again, there’s six different projects and they each tackle something different. But I really appreciate that you saw that, that we’re giving kids the agency to actually lead their learning, which is really awesome. Family is involved, but they’re not the ones that are fully leading the project. They’re prompting along the way. Nikevia, can we go back to the slides please?

Also, while we’re waiting. Any other thoughts? Not seeing those slides still. Great, thank you. Okay, so while you’re continuing to think about it, on the next slide, please, I’ll suggest some potential uses for how you might use this in your particular context. So if your school shifts into remote or hybrid learning again, which I know that that’s a reality for some schools. I’m based in New York currently, and for us, snow days are now a thing of the past in New York City, DOE. And so those will snow days will be days where students are expected to do remote learning. So this is a supplement that a family could use on a day when a kiddo is not in school in person and could use for that. These projects and this guide could also be used for afterschool enrichment opportunities, early childhood or preschool or enrichment or supplements.

Again, especially thinking about students who have only partial day schooling, community led organizations, if they leverage this resource to do, again, like I was mentioning something like a family or parent academy, they can use it to build family capacity. If schools or teachers take on this guide, they can also lead similar workshops or family unites that are really centered around a project. Family engagement webinars, if your organization or in your context you take on work like that, or it can also be used independently. It’s designed for a family to be able to take it and use it on their own, but it’s not the only way. It can also be part of a more robust systemic approach to family engagement. Any other thoughts on how you might use this resource? Because again, I’ve provided you some examples, but it’s not an exhaustive list.

If anything else comes to mind, feel free to put it in the chat for Sharon and I’ll be sure to highlight that. All right, let’s keep going next. I also wanted to highlight a couple of additional resources that I came across when developing this guide. So one of them that’s included in your handout packet is created by Edutopia and this guide to 21st century learning, I know we mentioned technology, really tries to leverage more of the technology side of it, but it touches on those four Cs of skills that we talked about earlier. And so it gives a glimpse of online resources, projects and they’re sorted by grade levels and they help give tips around 21st century skills at home. They also include organizations that offer more in-depth information and that ties into project-based learning, social emotional learning, and other strategies to improve education. So we’ve included the link in the chat to the full guide and you have an excerpt of the guide in your handout packet that if you keep scrolling after the project. In the handout packet, you’ll see Edutopia right there.

And then the next resource I want to highlight for you, next slide, is from PBS kids. PBS has developed a program called Family and Community Learning. And really what the aim of this program is to create a multi-generation engagement program for families designed to activate playful and collaborative science and literacy learning. And they leverage the media and shows that they create for PBS kids. But this is really meant as a community learning program where there is a facilitator that’s helping to build family capacity, kind of like those academies I keep mentioning and the program that they have posted online. And again, the website is there and we’ll post it in the chat in a moment, includes facilitator guides, overviews, materials, videos. It’s a really robust program. And again, it’s really meant to engage families and students together and build their capacity to then take on this sort of learning and project-based learning at home. And I actually wanted us to take just a quick moment to look at one of the videos that provides an overview of it. And so Nikevia if you go to that link, there is a carousel of videos on that page and it’s the third to last video that says supporting multi-generational learning or engagement. Sorry. So scroll down.

And then there’s that carousel if you click on the blue arrow and just keep going until you get to the end and it’ll be the third to last video at the very end that says supporting multi-generational engagement. Yep, that’s the one. And this is a very quick video, but again, touches on a lot of the same themes that we’ve been discussing and is another resource that’s available for free that often I didn’t even know about until I started developing this guide and so it’s really important to highlight these resources for families and for other folks that you might work with. All right. If we could just hit play, it’s a quick video.

Speaker 6:

In the design of the workshops, we are focusing on both the caregivers and the children because we want them to learn in partnership. It’s a very powerful experience for caregivers to sit with their children and actively learn and explore together.

Speaker 7:

The multi-generational idea is to bring the whole family unit into a session. These workshops are for anybody that works with young children or has young children in the home. Sometimes we do have the cousins and the aunties and uncles and grandparents.

Speaker 8:

When families are invested in children’s learning, research tells us that they are better off academically, they’re better off socially and emotionally, and also they graduate high school at a higher rate. It builds the family’s confidence when they know that they can have an effect on children’s lives.

Nicole Hawthorne:

I think it makes the parents see a different light or a different side of learning. And when the parents are engaged with their own child, it makes it so much fun.

Speaker 10:

And this one more. Let’s try another one. And this one. Oh which one [inaudible 01:02:38]? Yeah. Good job.

Speaker 11:

So mommy’s, daddy’s, adults, feel free to ask your children, what were you doing? What cards did you use?

Jessica Russell:

The facilitator’s primary job is definitely modeling. They’re providing the adults with the kinds of questions that they can ask their children and they’re letting the families really guide their own learning.

Speaker 12:

Does this look big?

Speaker 13:

Yeah. Oh, what if you put the flashlight back? See, it looks smaller.

Speaker 14:

We encourage the families to take their own roof to use their own unique experiences and explore in a way that makes sense to them.

Speaker 15:

How can I do this?

Speaker 16:

So drag in. That’s it.

Tasha Weinstein:

It’s magical to see families connecting with each other and to be given that space where a parent’s not making dinner, running around and trying to do all this stuff. They have designated time and space to be with each other and learn from each other.

Jenny Portillo:

Great. Thanks. So I just shared with you these two additional resources in addition to our publication. And before we get ready to go into our last stretch of time, which is really giving you all some time to think about how you might use these resources, I’d love to hear just what are your general thoughts about the importance of programming like this and of supporting 21st century skills and in general, just building caregiver and family capacity to support their kids. Any thoughts around any of the resources or things that you’ve been learning so far in this space or any thoughts on how you might use this?

And again, feel free to unmute or drop ideas in the chat. Feel free to keep pondering that. Because actually if you go to the next slide, we’re going to actually give you some time to do some action planning. And so in the Padlet, if you go back to the Padlet, there is a handout after the packet that we were just looking at that says Action planning template. If you click on that, you can download it. And there are some prompts there to help you think about how you might…. Awesome. Thank you for sharing Samantha. I’m excited for the resources. It’s another way to look at learning and growing as a family. The more tools we have, the less we become bored and stagnant. Love that. So this template is not something that you have to worry about filling out in this moment, but I wanted you to look at the guiding questions because what it’s really prompting you to do is to think about what are the needs in your particular context when it comes to supporting children’s learning.

And maybe that’s 21st century skills. Maybe it’s project-based learning, maybe it’s something else. But what are the needs that caregivers have around supporting kids’ learning? The next prompt is what are some goals you have for building caregiver capacity around supporting kids’ learning? And again, this could include 21st century skills, project-based learning or other needs. In your context, which resources or practices can you incorporate into your support plan? Why did you select these? It’s really important. Yep. It educates and makes change from more than one generation. Yes. It’s so key. Shared learning. What would implementation look like? What supports will you need? So the goal of this action planning template again is to help you think about how do you take resources like these from that one and done isolated experience to an ongoing system for helping parents, families, caregivers. See you have a really active role you can play in supporting your kids’ learning. That goes beyond just the homework help. And there are ways that are authentically you and that matters.

So take some time with this sheet, feel free to download it, share it in your context. Think about which questions on this sheet are resonating with you right now and we have 10 minutes left together. So again, any closing questions or thoughts? And again, some time for you to just look at this sheet and think about how you might use this and the resources we’ve provided you today.

Thank you Erin. Appreciate all your input. So again, you have the template to look through, but from there we can go ahead and start shifting into closing out if there’s any questions or any just other reflections or thoughts that anyone has, we’d love to hear from you. Thank you Fonda. We appreciate your voice in the space. All right, Nikevia, I don’t know if you want to go ahead and jump into our last couple of closing to-do items.

Nikevia Thomas:

Hello. I do. Thank you Jenny. Thank you. That was pretty amazing and informative and thank you so much Jenny for presenting today at our first… Well, this is our first session. So with that we have a survey that we’d like for you to complete to give us feedback on what you thought of today. And let me place the link in the chat. It’s a very quick survey. Share with us your thoughts for today. We’ll give everybody a few minutes to look at that. And then we’ll close out. I can give you some final thoughts. I’ll share with the survey will look like when you open up. It’s a very simple survey.

Okay, so excuse me, I’m going to go to the next slide. I want to share with you our upcoming community of practice. It’s on January 23rd at 9:30 and the focus is on fostering positive, respectful, and empathetic relationships. And I will share the registration link to that. Hold on, all right here. If you haven’t signed up for that already, you can do so here. And please share with your colleagues as well and within your networks.

Okay, so here is our contact information if you need to get in touch with us. Jessica and myself, we’re here and we thank you so much for participating in our community of practice and we look forward to seeing you all at the upcoming sessions.

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