Monday, October 27, 2014

Creating a 4Cs Culture

We know we are living in a world where routine and repetitive tasks are becoming more automated. Because of this, we must develop the capacity in our students to innovate and work together in an effort to prepare them for jobs, problems, environments, and lifestyles that do not yet exist. How do we do this? We need to encourage students to try something new. We need to create environments where students are free to have ideas, to act on those ideas, and to feel comfortable with those ideas being either fantastically successful or fantastically unsuccessful.

We also know that we cannot create these environments for students before creating them for teachers and staff. Showing them that the first attempt should necessarily be the final attempt. Modeling risk taking, creativity, and collaboration in our schools and classrooms is the important first step to encouraging our students to do the same.

So, how do we know when we have done it well? How do we help students “see” a goal of being creative? How do we encourage them to dig deeper and demand the cycle of feedback and revision? Below is a graphic depicting some of the behaviors of Creativity, Collaboration, Communication, and Critical Thinking. These help us to identify specific student behaviors as the standard to achieve by the end of high school.
(Image Used with permission from Henry County Public Schools)

The snapshot in the previous image is a great “end in mind” but we need more specific indicators for teachers and students to identify their current level of application and next steps. Bismarck Schools is using the EdLeader21 rubrics. The following link is to a portal page for the 4Cs. Please note that the K-2 level is currently being finalize.  The linked information in the resource below is only accessible to BPS staff via their Moodle login.

Please note that these 4 Cs standards are now available in Powerschool. A special thank you to the teachers who will be using and providing feedback to students and to us using these standards.

Monday, October 13, 2014

I "C" You "C"

As educators, we will be having more and more discussions about the Cs.  Depending on which book you read or who you talk to, there can be any number of Cs.

At the core of the Cs are critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, and communication.  There is broad reaching consensus around the importance the Cs for our students’ futures.  On the surface it is easy to brush off the Cs thinking that, “Of course our students practice these competencies.”   The question is really at what level and with what kind of rigor or intentionality.

Our district is currently looking at 4Cs work from EdLeader21 (  EdLeader21 is a professional learning community providing leading work on designing rubrics for the 4Cs.

As an entry point, below are the Cs and the performance areas associated with them. We will link up the full rubrics in the next post.

Critical Thinking

  • Information and discovery

  • Interpretation and analysis

  • Reasoning

  • Problem solving/solution finding

  • Constructing arguments

  • Self-regulation/reflection


  • Idea generation

  • Idea design and refinement

  • Openness and courage to explore

  • Work creatively with others

  • Creative production and innovation

  • Self-regulation/reflection


  • Leadership and initiative

  • Cooperation

  • Flexibility

  • Responsibility and productivity

  • Use of technology tools for synchronous and asynchronous collaboration

  • Responsiveness

  • Self-regulation/reflection


  • Engaging in conversations and discussions

  • Using 21st Century communication tools

  • Listening

  • Communicating in diverse environments

  • Delivering oral presentations

  • Self-regulation/reflection

Image C Mosaic CC BY Leo Reynolds

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Teaching and Learning @ BPS

Teaching and Learning @ BPS

We are thrilled to connect our Bismarck Public School community to thinking and collaboration resources through the Teaching and Learning Blog site.  This site offers a portal to conversations and thinking that comes in a variety of formats all in one spot.  Read feature blogs on teaching and learning topics, learn about our informal “latte” learning events, review some of the academic research staff have completed, or follow the  #learnbps twitter chat.