The 3 R's always bothered me. Could it be that Arithmetic and Writing may have started with an "r" sound but not the letter "r"? Or could it be mainly that one of the "r's" was arithmetic and I am so horrible at math?
I propose a 21st Century set of 3-R's. It's 1:30 in the morning, I can't sleep because they are going through my head, so I have to share them with you. At a decent hour, you can tell me if I am totally off my rocker.
The new 3'rs as proposed by me:
Reading. Okay, so this one was already established. However, I would add "Reading a variety of texts." There is a huge difference in reading for pleasure and reading an academic journal. Skills change and we're not teaching our students how to read the variety of texts out there. Not just the academic vs. pleasure reading, but even the type of texts where students have to decide the credibility of the writing. I mean, if a student comes in tomorrow and swears the new 3 R's of school are what you read posted here -I'd question them. I am not the authority, just another brainstormer.
Researching. This is one of my favorites. There are two different science teachers in the world. One requires the students to remember the Periodic Table and all of the atoms, neutrons and electrons in any given element. The second one teaches the students what the numbers mean and how to find the element in question using the table. Students need to be able to research their answers for almost any given topic. They don't understand the algebraic equation you've given them with steps a million times? It's time for them to RESEARCH the answer on their own. Can they use the Internet? Do they know how to even use their text book they lug around for something more than a weight?
and the last R: Responding. This is very similar to writing, but responding means they are able to pull all of their reading and researching together and respond in various ways. This could mean in an Excel format, a blogline, an actual written text, a letter to some committee, a response in the form of a critical analysis of a novel, or even a PowerPoint response sharing their findings of the said research and reading. It could even be a response in the form of art or music. (Go watch Music and Lyrics and you'll see that music can be a great response to any given topic!) Teach them when they need to be brief in their language (PowerPoint) or when they can elaborate (written paper) or when they can even add their own personal views in a friendly conversation tone (blog). Or teach them to be creative (art).
Notice, they all actually start with the letter R!
And the new 3 R's address the 21st Century Learning Skills that were mentioned in the podcast from David Warlick that I never got back to listening to. Plus, with the tools that are available thanks to the Web 2.0 movement, it'll be easier than ever. Students have access to all sorts of resources through old favorites like netTrekker and pics4Learning, and now new favorites like Wikipedia, Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and more. Our students can even learn to be "prosumers" instead of just consumers in the classrooms, and eventually the world. (Read that in Wikinomics!)
If only I was using Inspiration right now, I could outline this for you even better with graphic maps and more. Instead, I think I'll run spell check and then try going to bed. I'll let you tell me how far off my rocker I am with my new proposed 3 R's: Reading a variety of texts, Researching a variety of resources, and Responding in different formats.