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Goochland’s Framework for
Developing 21st Century Skills

G21 Steps

G21 is Goochland County's effort to bring 21st century skill awareness into the culture of each school. We're doing this by replacing our previous initiative of individual technology goals for each teacher with a 21st century blueprint that serves as a model, high-quality lesson plan for teachers built around a project-based approach. The G21 framework builds upon the ideas for 21st century skills from a variety of resources, many listed in this document.

For the 2008-09 school year, Goochland required each teacher to complete a G21 lesson. Changing pedagogy and classroom practice is a long-term goal that must be done systematically. This approach builds upon the strengths of past-year’s technology goals by providing support for the teaching element rather than just the tool.

For the 2009-10 school year, G21 continues! 21st century skills are but one way to target H. E. A. T. in lessons (higher-order thinking, engaged learners, active, authentic learning, and technology use). For teachers, the development of their G21 goals in step with technology integration specialists models appropriate ways of integrating 21st century skills into teaching practices. The planning process, which begins each September with each individual teacher, combines the subject-matter expertise of the teacher with the technology pedagogy expertise of the instructional technologist (TPACK). Together, the G21 plan reflects the interests and professional development needs of the classroom teacher with a blueprint for engaging students with content in a rich, project-based approach.

G21 plan components

How it will work

Taking both a cue and a departure from our previous system of visiting each school to establish goals with each teacher, teachers this year will first be encouraged to think about their projects within collaborative groups at their schools: you will be working with your grade-level team or subject-area colleagues to think about feasible options.

Next, using both face-to-face and online means, we will meet to finalize your G21 plan. This will be your opportunity to get feedback, guidance, and ask questions.

Finally, we'll set a deadline for the plan that fits with our curriculum sequence. You will do the collaborative lesson in your classroom when it makes sense. The plan and its execution will be evaluated based on the particulars of your plan when we meet to finalize your project.

While just one G21 project-based lesson is required, teachers will have the opportunity to earn more re-certification points by completing more G21 projects. Additional project plans may be submitted at 5 points each, up to a total of 30 points (6 plans). Points will be awarded after the project is completed by students and evaluated.

The G21 Faire is our showcase of G21 projects teachers submit at the conclusion of the year. We evalute the submissions and the school board recognizes the “winning” project.

Framework Diagram

Core Areas

The beginning of the G21 framework begins with one or more subject areas and the standards associated with the learning experience. We start by identifying which subject areas are being targeted. Many great project-based lessons combine more than one subject area in their design.


The learning objective start with standards associated with each subject area. But for which level of cognition is this project designed? We check-off which Revised Bloom's Levels (RBT) are being targeted.


Every project, even the ones around your house, require tools. Here we're specifically listing resources that will be or can be implemented in the project. These might include software applications, specific devices (printers, iPods), or more "low-tech" tools such as crayons, brushes, or craft items. Better lessons will incorporate the use of real-world tools.


"Means" are "skills" required by students to see the project through. Is the project based upon real world interaction? Does it build upon information or technology literacies and fluencies? Does it involve working with others? Does the project force students to manage their time and/or resources? The blue "means" are really our opportunity to target the so-called 21st century skills.


What type of project is in store? Will students build a physical item together? Will they produce something with an audible component? Multimedia, including video? Or is the project based around producing original text? The red block is where we describe the project's parameters and what types of media are involved.

Your projects do not need to be groundbreaking or grandiose to be effective learning instruments. Start with a technology goal you did last year, or a project-based lesson you’ve done in the past. Projects can combine any number of “means” or 21st century skills, but above all, they should be engaging for students.

Great Lessons

Here’s a few “winners” that “light up” the G21 framework.

This lesson could be enhanced by collecting feedback through Moodle by the fourth graders working with first graders.

Students retell a story through their art that is posted on the wall. This could be enhanced with technology by posting photos of the stories on the teacher’s blog.

Stay tuned for more examples…

G21 Worksheet

Want to plan-out your G21 project? Download our new-and-improved G21 planning worksheet in PDF format.

Time to assess your G21 project? Download the G21 Assessment Worksheet in PDF format.