Part Four: Ten Steps… Transforming Past Lessons For the 21st Century Digital Classroom

Welcome to Part Four of  this four part series devoted to bringing curriculum to the digital era. In this series of posts I have walked you through ten practical steps I have found helpful in transforming yesterday’s lessons into 21st century digital treasures! In this last post of the series I bring you some amazing resources and a document you will want to download and use in your planning.  Before bringing you another goldmine of resources… I want to  thank you for continuing to return and for continuing to share this blog with others. If you haven’t subscribed, please take a moment to do so. You will be guaranteed future posts by subscribing by either RSS or email. I also invite you to follow me on Twitter at mjgormans. I really do enjoy  networking with all of you! Now… on to Part Four of  that goldmine I promised you. Have a great week! – Mike Gorman (

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In the last three articles I introduced the first seven steps in this Ten Steps… Transforming Past Lessons for the 21st Century Classroom Series. If you missed it then make sure you check out the below links to posts that will provide practical information and great resources.

Read on and discover steps eight, nine and ten,  I have also included  a powerful downloadable document that will be helpful in planning for a lesson’s transformation. It is included at the end of this post.

Part Four: Steps Eight, Nine, and Ten

Step Eight –  The Final Product

The final outcome must be able to be assessed using a rubric, support the content standards, and facilitate 21stcentury skills. It could be large, but may also be small. Technology must be integrated in a useful manner while complementing the curriculum. Also, the final project must be understandable to students. If possible, it should have the ability to be shared beyond the audience of the students’ teacher. Last, there should be some authenticity to the product. In other words… keep it real.

  • Make the project authentic and provide student relevance
  • Provide audience
  • Collaborate and communicate with real community
  • Connect and show relationships with the STEM disciplines
  • Check out competitions
  • Demonstrate need to Know beyond curriculum
  • Investigate career and college pathways
Links to Help with Step Eight…. Ways for students to post work  …  (Some of the link  descriptions provided by host site)
  • Kidblog – Allows students to post and reply important learning while the teacher moderates all conversation.  Blog Link for Write Up.
  • Glogster – Students can create a glog which is a multimedia poster on the web. While this use to be free there is now a small fee.
  • Weebly – Your students just might want to make a web page with this amazing drag and drop application.
  • iPadio – You can have students make a phone blog… known as a phlog. Blog Link for Write Up
Step Nine –  Planning the time line
 Perhaps the lesson is one period or spans multiple periods. Create a timeline that includes major points including introduction, pre-organizers, lesson, work activities, formative assessment, tutorials to scaffold learning, and submission of the final work. The teacher should have an idea and it may even be appropriate to include student input. This time line can be made in increments of minutes, hours, or periods. It is also important that students be aware of the timeline and be held accountable. Once again technology can be used to support the timeline.
Links to Help with Nine….Ways to create time lines for teachers and students  … (Some of the link  descriptions provided by host site)
  • Time Line Program –  The Timeline Creator tool allows instructors, students and researchers without multimedia development skills to develop an interactive timeline for teaching or presentation purposes. The resulting timeline can be published on the World Wide Web or presented directly from a computer. The interface can display up to six simultaneous time lines to compare and contrast various “events” with descriptive text and media such as digital images, audio and video.
  • Online Timeline – This generator can be used to make time lines of up to 9 events of your choice. Time Lines can run horizontal or vertical. Choose the type of card you would like to make below.
  • Interactive Timeline – From the people at Read-Write-Think.
  • How To Create A Timeline in Excel – There are many ways to create a timeline in Excel, but most of the methods I have seen make use of the drawing tools or bar charts or a gantt chart for project timelines. I wrote an article about this a while back (see Timelines in Excel). Now, I am happy to say that I’ve finally found an easier way to create timelines quickly. Read below to find out how.
  • XTimeline –  Interactive timelines that include images and text
  • Timetoast An interactive tool for creating interactive timelines about people, events, or locations. You can add dates, type notes, and even add images for each event. When you mouse over a marker on the timeline, you can view the notes and image for that event. The link for the timeline can be shared or you you can embed the timeline into a web page.
  • Capzles Use Capzles to create classroom projects and lessons, with videos, photos, music, blogs and documents. Useful as a timeline tool. The completed Capzle can be embedded in your website. Getting Started With Capzles
  • Dipity Interactive timelines. Create, share, embed and collaborate on interactive, visually engaging timelines that integrate video, audio, images, text, links, social media, location and time stamps
Step Ten –  Assessment
The assessment rubric should include a measure of content and 21st century skills.  Decide on a percentage for each. Many teachers often use a 70% content and 30% 21st century skills. Remember when grading 21st century skills that the most appropriate skills to assess is critical thinking/problem solving, communication, and collaboration. I like to also include creativity. It may reflect individual and group work if appropriate. When working in a group it is effective to have individual component grades in the rubric. The rubric can also contain points of formative assessment including meta-cognitive activities.
Links to Help with Nine….Ways to create time lines for teachers and students  … (Some of the link  descriptions provided by host site)
 Tools to make Rubrics
  • Rubistar–  Want to make exemplary rubrics in a short amount of time? Try RubiStar out! Registered users can save and edit rubrics online. You can access them from home, school, or on the road. Registration and use of this tool is free, so click the Register link in the login area to the right to get started now. Be sure to Register for free and take a  Quick Tour while you are at it.
  • R Campus – This is a wonderful comprehensive rubric development, assessment, and sharing tool. Best of all,it is free to individual faculty and students.
  • Collections of Rubrics West Virginia – Great collection of PBL Rubrics covering all areas.
  1. Primary Grades
  2.  Intermediate Grades
  3. Secondary Rubrics
  4. All-Purpose Rubrics
  5.  WVDE Rubrics
  6. Peer and Self Assessment
  •  Rubrics –  Talledago Schools has this wonderful supply of rubrics for PBL  Check out the Rubric Section.

Links For Critical Thinking Evaluation

Critical – Wonderful place to learn more about critical thinking. Check out their Assessment and Testing Page filled with some great handouts such as  Criteria for critical thinking assignments. and  Rubrics for assessing student reasoning abilities .  Available from Route 21.

Catalina Foothills Critical Thinking Rubrics –  Catalina Foothills School District created a series of rubrics to assess student critical thinking skills. The rubrics measures critical thinking skills such as comparing, classifying, inductive and deductive reasoning, error analysis, and decision making.

Links For Creativity Assessment

A Different Place – This site has some wonderful ideas. Checkout their creativity rubric. Also there are rubrics on: [ deductivereasoning ]  [ goalsetting ] [ higherorderthinking ] [ divergentthinking ]

AACU Creativity Rubric – Another fine document from AACU

Links For Collaboration Assessment

New Tech High Collaboration Rubric – New Technology High School created a rubric to assess student collaboration and teamwork skills. The rubric measures collaboration and teamwork by students’ leadership and initiative, facilitation and support, and contributions and work ethic.. Available from Route 21.

BIE Collaboration Rubric – This rubric helps assess students’ collaboration skills in the categories of Responsibility for Oneself, Helping the Team, and Respect for Others.

Links For Communication Assessment

Rio Vista School Communication Rubric –  Rio Vista Elementary uses this rubric to to measure students’ communications skills. It offers strategies for clearly and easily evaluating oral and written communications, as well as the usage of presentation tools and technology. Available from Route 21.

BIE Presentation Rubric –   This rubrics helps assess students’ presentation skills in the categories of Eye Contact & Physical Presence, Speaking, Organization, Audio/Visual Aids, Response to Audience Questions.

Thank you for joining me in this series on Ten Step Lesson Transformation. I hope you have found new information for use in your school and to share with other educators.  As always , I invite you to follow me on twitter at  (@mjgormans).  Please give this post a retweet and pass it on to someone who will benefit.   As promised feel free to download, use, and share this special 10 step 4 page blog document designed to integrate with this series of posts and help you bring that special lesson into the 21st century. To ensure you do not miss the next  valuable post or any other resources covering PBL, STEM, 21st century learning, and technology integration please sign up for 21centuryedtech by email or RSS. Have a great week… enjoy the exciting process of transforming a valuable lesson! – Mike (


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6 responses to “Part Four: Ten Steps… Transforming Past Lessons For the 21st Century Digital Classroom

  1. PH

    Thank you so much for this series. I am a new teacher and these resources will help develop instruction. A have bookmarked each series.

  2. Thank you for the visit! – Mike

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