An Awesome Q&A with Laryssa Kramarchuk

In this Q&A with Laryssa Kramarchuk, the word “Awesome” is being used to represent the multitude of skills students have developed through receiving 21st century skills instruction. Therefore, the term “awesome” can be understood to mean, “more adept at practicing 21st  century skills.”

Laryssa Kramarchuk from Frank McCourt High School teaches Integrated Math and Science to 10th graders. The 21st century skill she focuses on is Personal Mindset, with an emphasis on “seeking assistance by asking questions.”

Question: Educators often build these 21st century skills implicitly into their work or curriculum with their students. Why is it important to be transparent to the students as they work to develop these skills?

Students need to see how the skills they use help them become more successful at acquiring, and more importantly better understanding the content.

Question: How does integrating 21st century skills into the classroom make their entire learning experience more “awesome”?

It allows students to feel recognized for their academic achievements, which creates a more authentic learning environment.

Question: What is the most rewarding aspect of integrating 21st century skills in your classroom?

It has been rewarding to hear students say they leave my class asking more questions and have to “google” it to determine the answers, because they cannot wait until we have time in the next class.

Question: How has the practice of these skills made your students more “awesome”?

Students have been able to conduct inquiry activities with more confidence and more successfully, without getting frustrated and giving up.

Question: What has been your most successful project with skills integration? What happened? What did the students do? What did the student achieve?

Students recently completed a socratic seminar about environmental awareness, and there was a noticeable change in the student’s ability to ask questions in real time as a way to challenge their peers thinking, in addition to their own thinking.