Critical Thinking Challenges

Critical Thinking Challenges-71
First-graders, for example, were recently tasked with re-telling a children’s-book story about a villainous spider by researching arachnids and creating new, positive stories of their own.

First-graders, for example, were recently tasked with re-telling a children’s-book story about a villainous spider by researching arachnids and creating new, positive stories of their own.A fourth-grade project had students studying the environmental challenges facing a nearby river, then coming up with ways to preserve a sense we were teaching kids critical thinking skills, but we didn’t have any way of defining, quantifying or even qualifying what those skills were,” Heyck-Williams recalls. Maybe we should be teaching that more explicitly.’”Starting five years ago, Two Rivers was given nonprofit funding to develop a critical thinking curriculum along with assessment tools.Finally, Sanchez revealed the full photo and answer: a seal.

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“It will not result in long-term success for students.

They need something more, and strong critical-thinking and problem-solving skills are part of what that more is.” Photo credit: Getty in Washington, D.

We recently had an interview with Scott Houston, an education consultant at Educators Cooperative.

Scott has played a part in the evolution of Classtime’s gamification solution (Collaborative Challenges), sharing insights from his years of experience working with teachers and schools to innovate the classroom and create a more personalized learning environment for students.

“Don’t waste time on recalculating the recipe,” Mancino told the class.

“Use your KWI.”Working at individual PCs, they were given six minutes to fill in the K, W and I columns in a Word doc. One girl, noting they’d not yet learned how to multiply or divide fractions, said, “We can convert fractions to decimals.” Another student shouted, “Multiplication is repeated addition.”Remembering those mathematical rules while working through the problem, Mancino hinted to her students, “is something that might be important.” She added that they’d have access to all the tools usually used in math lessons, including clipboards, white boards and fraction blocks.“We’re showing those students what thinking looks like,” Heyck-Williams explains.“What are those precursor skills that those kids are developing that they can utilize to think critically?First, it came up with a broad-ranging definition, which is on the school’s website: “We define critical thinking and problem solving as the broadly applicable cognitive skills that people use in constructing knowledge, identifying patterns, formulating arguments, and solving problems.”“Early on, teachers see ‘motivated reasoning,’ where a kid has a penchant for making whatever claim and then cherry-picks evidence to support it,” Heyck-Williams says. So how do we teach kids to slow down and evaluate the evidence with a more objective eye, and then make a claim based on the evidence?”Earlier that day, Meghan Sanchez began her kindergarten class with a CSQ.“We introduce it at the beginning of the year, but then it just becomes part of the shared language.The teachers use it over and over again in the context of the lessons they teach.”, believed about education—that hands-on experience is the best way to learn. Aside from engaging in classroom lessons, they spend 10 to 12 weeks on subject-specific projects, then share their findings in a “showcase” before classmates, teachers and parents.And while it was clear some students were struggling, Mancino knew exactly how to guide them.short assignments where a student takes on new content without previous knowledge of it and tries to figure it out using a thinking routine,” Heyck-Williams explains.They’re administered once or twice a Exactly how to use the tasks points to what Heyck-Williams sees as the challenge inherent in assessing critical thinking skills, which, he says, are often difficult to untangle from actual content skills.But actually, she was teaching critical thinking.“To practice what to do when we don’t know how to solve something,” one student said.Another added, “To solve real-world problems.” Yet another quipped, “To reach our common goal—make it to middle school.”At Two Rivers, a pre K-to-8 Expeditionary Learning, or EL, school founded in 2004, that business includes embedding critical thinking in the school’s culture—or as Jeff Heyck-Williams, director of curriculum and instruction, says, “making it a habit of mind.”“We don’t teach standalone lessons on critical thinking,” he adds.


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