4Cs TCEA

20 lessons that incorporate the 4Cs


A session at TCEA offers insight into how real teachers structure their lessons to support the 4Cs

By now, the 4Cs–communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity–are part of most educators’ vocabulary. But it isn’t always easy to put these concepts into practice, especially when the 4Cs can look vary depending on students’ age and ability.

At TCEA 2017, Donna Lusby, the K-6 instructional technology coordinator in the Lovejoy ISD shared how her district moved from what she characterized as “hesitant technology integration” to teachers embracing the 4Cs in their lessons.

“We discovered that we had the classroom access and teachers had the skills, but we were lacking in classroom use,” Lusby said. “Our instructional technology team analyzed the situation and discovered the district was lacking in the use of the 4Cs.”

So the team started with communication, and asked teachers to look at their lessons and identify just one element they could tweak to incorporate communication skills for students. Next, they did the same thing with collaboration, and continued with the other two elements.

Now, teachers submit their lessons for review by digital learning coaches, who then pass the lessons to content coordinators, who add the lesson to a website and link it back to curriculum, content standards, learning targets, and student examples.

Progress in developing the 4Cs will eventually appear on students’ report cards, Lusby said.

(Next page: 20 lessons using the 4Cs)

She also summarized 20 of the district’s top lessons incorporating the 4Cs.

1. 1st grade, Science, Communication: Students Skyped with a ranger at Yellowstone National Park to ask questions and identify natural water sources.

2. 5th grade English, Language Arts and Reading (ELAR), Collaboration: Students were given picture books and created a drama about the picture books with similarities and differences. They worked together on Google Docs, and the teacher said students assumed their own roles within the projects.

3. 6th grade, ELAR, Creativity: Students summarized elements of plot development, such as rising and falling action. Each student got to choose a book and chose how they wanted to display their product. Students used tools such as Google Draw and Google Slides.

4. 1st grade, Science, Collaboration: Students identified properties of an object through observations, organized it and recorded it using Kidspiration. Teachers said the lesson helped students discuss ways to organize their observations.

5. 2nd grade, ELAR, Communication: Students worked to recognize different purposes of media. They FaceTimed with a visual effects artist after watching a commercial he worked on while looking for color, sound, and different purposes of the media. Students were engaged and liked the way it tied to real life, Lusby said.

6. Kindergarten, Science, Critical Thinking: It snowed a bit one day, and students used winter-related vocabulary words to create charts focused on what they know, didn’t know, and wanted to learn about winter.  They observed and described weather changes and used a weather tool to develop critical thinking skills as they learned how icicles are formed. They created a winter scene on FeltBoard.

7. 1st grade, ELAR, Creativity: Students wrote brief stories with a beginning, middle and end. They had a choice of how they shared it and which tools they used, and some used tools such as Puppet Pals.

8. 3rd grade, Science, Communication: Students learned about sound energy. Each student created an instrument and showed how that instrument made sound. They communicated this to other students using Google Docs and detailing each step of the instrument’s creation step-by-step.

9. Kindergarten, Social Studies, Collaboration: Students described and compared their family and holiday traditions. Using Discovery Education’s Collaborative Projects, they looked at other traditions and holidays around the world and completed a survey about their favorite holiday. Then, they were able to see, globally, what others said about their favorite holiday. They also submitted pictures representing their most favorite holiday elements.

10. 4th grade, ELAR, Creativity: Students composed single sentences describing more than one action, and then used Stop Motion to illustrate that sentence.

11. 5th grade, Science, Communication: Students were tasked with creating 60-second iMovie videos explaining how to use various scientific tools and how those tools are used science-related purposes.

12. Kindergarten, Math, Collaboration: Students identified attributes of 2D shapes. They used ChatterPix Kids to illustrate the shapes. For instance, one student created a circle and animated the circle so it could talk about its shape and how it does not have sides.

13. 2nd grade, ELAR, Communication: Students used TeleStory to explain an author’s purpose in writing a book.

14. 6th grade, Math, Collaboration: Using ExplainEverything, students worked through 1- and 2-step equations to explain how to solve the equations using the correct steps.

15. 5th grade, ELAR, Critical Thinking: Students picked topics of their choice, researched those topics, and used Canva to create magazines explaining those topics. In particular, they learned how organizational patterns of text influenced the relationships among the ideas.

16. 2nd grade, ELAR, Creativity: Students examined persuasion and tools used to influence the attitudes and actions of audiences in media. One student used TeleStory to create a commercial about Pokemon cards.

17. 3rd grade, ELAR, Collaboration: With Google Slides, students identified the purpose of titles, photographs and captions, and other elements of books. They taught each other how these various elements can add to the literary experience.

18. 6th grade, Social Studies, Creativity: Students used Piktochart to create projects about different world cultures. They created infographics celebrating Latin America’s geographical and cultural diversity and used persuasion to convince tourists to visit the area.

19. 3rd grade, ELAR, Critical Thinking: Through Pic Collage, students illustrated how characters changed from the beginning of the story to the end. They incorporated vocabulary and focused on avoiding common words such as “happy” and “mad,” and they used text evidence to support their illustrations. One project demonstrated how the Peanuts character Lucy becomes more considerate at the end of “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.”

20. 6th grade, ELAR, Critical Thinking: Students read a book and researched information on two figures, one contemporary and one historical, to illustrate concepts gleaned from the novel. They used Piktochart to complete the projects.

Laura Ascione

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