What kinds of activities best prepare students for a changing and uncertain world? I would like to suggest that four powerful types of activities, each of which can also be used as assessments, should be part of an arsenal of tools that all teachers should develop in order to prepare students for their future. Each incorporates opportunities for students to develop key ideas and understandings, a critical knowledge base, and core reading, research, communication, thinking, and collaboration skills. Each can be adapted for all grade levels.
Open-ended assignments pose questions and offer activities that lead students to think and explain rather than give simple yes or no answers (Gardner, 2005). They can be used to provoke interest and curiosity in what is to be learned, to teach content and critical skills, and to provide opportunities for independent and deeper learning. They often provide students with writing opportunities and/or a chance to participate in discussions with multiple possible responses. They are also designed to create new ways of thinking about problems and challenges, allow for alternative possibilities and options, and enable students to be innovative and to think outside the box. Read more