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The Other 21st Century Skills: Books for Kids

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I have been discussing and blogging about The Other 21st Century Skills

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Many have attempted to identify the skills important for a learner today in this era of the 21st century (I know it is an overused phrase).  I have an affinity towards the skills identified by Tony Wagner:

  • Critical thinking and problem-solving
  • Collaboration across networks and leading by influence
  • Agility and adaptability
  • Initiative and entrepreneurialism
  • Effective oral and written communication
  • Accessing and analyzing information
  • Curiosity and imagination   http://www.tonywagner.com/7-survival-skills

Some other ones that I believe important based on what I hear at conferences, read via blogs and other social networks include:

  • Grit
  • Resilience
  • Hope and Optimism
  • Vision
  • Self-Regulation
  • Empathy and Global Stewardship

This post lists children’s books to help teach children and youth about these concepts.  Some are even appropriate and applicable for adults. Children’s books, as they are written and presented as stories, have great potential to explain these often abstract concepts.  There is also evidence that the brain processes stories differently and more powerfully than facts and lectures.  I discuss this in Storytelling Is Not Lecturing; Lecturing is Not Storytelling

Stories are different. Stories have everything that facts wish they had but never will: color, action, characters, sights, smells, sounds, emotions–stuff that we can easily relate to. We can imagine ourselves doing, or not doing, or having already done, what the story describes. Stories put facts into a meaningful, and therefore memorable, context.  (http://www.forbes.com/sites/douglasmerrill/2013/03/08/a-story-about-stories/)

Brain Activity: Lecture versus Storytelling

It’s in fact quite simple. If we listen to a powerpoint presentation with boring bullet points, a certain part in the brain gets activated. Scientists call this Broca’s area and Wernicke’s area. Overall, it hits our language processing parts in the brain, where we decode words into meaning. And that’s it, nothing else happens.

When we are being told a story, things change dramatically. Not only are the language processing parts in our brain activated, but any other area in our brain that we would use when experiencing the events of the story are too.  (http://lifehacker.com/5965703/the-science-of-storytelling-why-telling-a-story-is-the-most-powerful-way-to-activate-our-brains)

Here is the list categorized by the skill or attribute:

Grit

Resilience

Hope and Optimism

Vision

Self-Regulation

Empathy and Global Awareness

The entire list can be found on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/lm/R2VU5OSVB73GOX/ref=cm_lm_pthnk_view?ie=UTF8&lm_bb=

Here are some suggestions for a few of the skills identified by Tony Wagner:

Critical Thinking and Problem Solving

Collaboration

Curiosity and Imagination

Written by Jackie Gerstein, Ed.D.

January 17, 2014 at 2:26 pm

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