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Posts: 76
Reply with quote  #31 

Yes, they are the most critical skills.  My problem is utilizing one at a time or placing importance on just one.  Again, I teach 1st grade.  My students are learning to read, improving writing skills, learning math concepts etc...  Therefore, I use all these critical areas all the time.  Having taught 3rd and 4th graders, I can see where one may be able to pinpoint one in particular.  I believe the different areas are part of what I love about elementary.  I can help those with attention issues focus but what I do or give them to do, I can break up our learning with a little dance in the middel etc...Critical thinking is so important.  It is the only way they will become productive adults later.  We simply can't "spoon feed" their education...they must do some of the work themselves by our guidance.

Tina M. Quiser

Posts: 9
Reply with quote  #32 

To teach critical thinking, I like to focus on questioning. I teach American History to new immigrants so we use questioning before many of the lessons to predict what they think will occur. They are engaged and processing. Often if they are wrong, they love the "AHA!" factor of finding out what really did occur.


Also, I give essay exams where students must explain an event or their explanation of why something occured or how history might have been differnet if something hadn't occured. I have found that these types of assignments really bring out the best thinking and writing in students that you may not have seen in a multiple-choice test.


Posts: 9
Reply with quote  #33 

Yes, I do agree on the four skills that are critical for achievement.  Most of my students have a combination of ADD/ADHD and a learning disablility.  The presence of ADD/ADHD affects memory and attentional capacity and the learning disabilities often affect processing speed and sequencing.  This combination can prove detrimental to achieving success. However, as their special education teacher, it is my job to teach them strategies to overcome or replace the tendencies that are presented from their "diagnosis".  I believe that all students can be successful.  To teach critical thinking I present a variety of situations with a variety of response methods to choose from.  Modeling and problem-solving are incredibly important in developing critical thinking. 

Jill Morris

Posts: 49
Reply with quote  #34 

My students perform best with small "chunks" of information rather than a constant bombardment of facts, data, etc.  However, my school emphasizes the importance of teaching "to the bell" with no breaks for movement, review, etc.  Result:  low benchmark testing scores, low performance on weekly math and reading quizzes, etc.  I have decided to work with smaller bits of information that can be RETAINED rather than long-winded lectures that are forgotten shortly after they are said.


Posts: 62
Reply with quote  #35 

I do agree that these are very important skills to succeed in school. These are definitely characteristics of high achieving students.

I teach secondary math. We have so much to “cover” and there really doesn’t seem like all the extra time to add more things. I’ve studied about journaling in math class. That is very helpful for organizing thoughts and learning the materials. But we don’t really have time to sit down and write. I wish we could. Peer teaching seems to help them learn better, too. You really have to know the material in order to teach your classmates.

I agree that students’ attention span is very short. Even at secondary schools, they cannot be working on math for a whole hour. Breaking up the daily lesson into small segments is helpful.  This book has suggested about taking physical breaks in class and that is something I plan on doing.

I also plan on incorporating as many hands on learning opportunities as possible. When the students can “see” the math, they are more likely to understand better and they seems to retain their interest and attention and memory longer.


Posts: 53
Reply with quote  #36 
Yes, I do agree these skills are important in learning critical thinking. I have found my students can recall information quite readily when we sing songs about the information and by tying new information to previously learned info. I also try not overload students because once they've lost interest or because of a short attention span, learning ceases. I try to make learning novel by having students play games, and have students role play as the teacher. I ask the students to teach a concept to their peers, and each student is thrilled to help their friends learn. I also rotate my helper for the day , and the helper stands with me while we work during our circle time. The student leads the review of previously learned information. When we read stories, I try my best to ask students to predict or think about why a situation is occurring. During math calendar time, I work to include many sequencing activities and patterns.

Posts: 10
Reply with quote  #37 

I agree, these skills are needed in the classroom and in the real world. I try very hard not to push a lot of new info on my students in one day. They need to be kids to, so I try to make it about a game or teaching it to other students, or reading to other student younger and older. Which makes them pratice reading in front others and reviewing info. Sequencing is a big part of all the subjects because they have to understand the order of things.


Posts: 45
Reply with quote  #38 

I think these are the major parts of critical thinking.  I think a good way to teach critical thinking is to model by sharing the way you think critically outloud.  One workshop I attended called it think alouds.  Also getting students to share out loud how they reached a conclusion to help them go through the process.


Posts: 9
Reply with quote  #39 
The four skills mentioned are important for student achievement, but I feel that there is one vital skill which must be included:  motivation. Lack of student motivation is what I struggle with most in my classroom, and there are always a couple of students who seem uninterested in almost all that we do (lessons, activities, projects - including those that the majority of my students really enjoy). I do have my students write almost daily, even if it is just a short journal entry, so I was glad to read that this is the best way to teach critical writing.  I try to vary the journal topics from responding to literature to personal response questions.  They tend to prefer the personal response ones simply because they are easier, but I can see that responding to quotes really causes them to think.  By this time of the year, they are getting better at it and rarely say that they don't know how to respond.

Posts: 26
Reply with quote  #40 

I agree these four skills are critical for student achievement.  I have been an advocate of critical thinking skills since my kids were in elementary school.  I totally agree with Jensen that thinking is an essential skill necessary for success in today’s world.  I worked as a corporate trainer for several years and noticed that employees who are successful in the workplace are those who have the problem solving and critical thinking skills. 

To teach thinking in the classroom, Bloom’s Taxonomy has given me a lot of inspiration, especially those higher order domains-analysis, synthesis and evaluation.  I try to use verbs aligned to Bloom's Taxonomy to create discussion questions and lesson plans to ensure students' thinking progresses to higher levels.  For example, “How is ... similar to ...?”  “What would happen if...?”  “What do you think about...?”

In addition, real life math related word problems are a must in homework, tests and quizzes as they teach problem-solving skills that can be applied in everyday life.  For example, a project, “Which cell phone plan is a better deal?”, requires students to gather information, organize and analyze data, and then draw conclusion.


Posts: 67
Reply with quote  #41 

I do agree that those four skills are highly important.  Critical thinking skills definitely need to be taught.  I have a part-time job with a tutoring company whose focus is teaching those critical thinking skills and improving memory, attention capacity, and processing speed.  I learned through that experience that those things can be taught easily through enjoyable games and activities.  Realizing that made me remember how I’d learned those things as a child.  I always had teachers who provided logic/critical thinking games and puzzles.  I would very much like to do that with my students.  It’s something fun and beneficial to do during free time or to use in between content activities for a break.  Another thing I do with my students is model how to think through something.  I think through the problem/puzzle out loud, elaborating the different steps of my mental processes, so that they can see how to do that for themselves.  I try to include as many problem solving activities and challenges in each lesson as I can – both for groups and individuals. 


Posts: 22
Reply with quote  #42 

I do agree those four skills are important, but what I find that my most successful students have is, tremendous work ethic. My best readers are always reading....we all work harder at something we enjoy. The kids who draw the best are always drawing. I find the kids who enjoy a mental challenge love critical thinking. I do teach critical thinking skills and try to make it fun. I find cooperative groups work best here. Think alouds are something I use quite a bit and that seems to be helpful getting kids to voice their thinking as well. I do agree with the others. The way we are encouraged to teach now with the rapid introduction of concepts, and moving on according to a pacing calendar, kills most chances of spending quality time on concepts. I think attention capacity is the most important of the four skills listed. I have had a few successful conferences where I have convinced parents to stop the video gaming on school nights and we have seen big differences in the student's academics.


Posts: 10
Reply with quote  #43 
I agree that the 4 skills are critical for achievement.  However, I strongly feel that processing should be given some additional weight.  Students process information differently and at different rates.  I am a learner that can learn something new, but it may be quite a bit of time before I can apply the new information.  I certainly can memorize but to apply the newly acquired information, that takes time.  Students today are being raised and educated in a time where speed is the norm.  There is so much input and not much time to process and apply to show true understanding. 

I do think that good critical thinking can be taught and must be taught within context of classroom instruction.  I embed critical thinking into all subjects.  Teaching strategies, applying skills to learning, and providing opportunities to process are all necessary.  I am still learning and discovering ways to process and teaching the importance of processing information.  I have found more success when allowing more time to process before completing an activity.  I have asked students to spend some time reflecting on the material, pair share, write/draw all before completing an application activity.  

Melanie Perez

Posts: 9
Reply with quote  #44 
I do agree that these four are the most critical skills for student achievement. I have used many different methods while teaching and have seen different results with every child. In my class we talk through many questions and have class discussion. When it comes to sequencing especially when reading or writing a story I have my students stand in the order they go in while they hold the event written on paper in front of them. I find the more active they are and can literally see it and move things around the better. When analyzing literature I often have them form their own opinion and discuss with their peers.

Jill Morris

Posts: 9
Reply with quote  #45 
I believe that these are the 4 most critical skills needed for achievement.
I also believe that the factors that influence thinking cannot be overlooked. Our classroom environment that we create, the students' motivation, their life experiences, genes, and life choices all play a role in student learning.
I found it reaffirming to know that some of my class requirements in third grade are essential to developing those critical skills.
I routinely have my students write, use direct instruction, use quantitative word problems, hands-on activities in science, assign homework, and use quizzes and tests to promote critical thinking.
I also believe that I can improve on what I already do. I see much room for improvement in all the aforementioned areas.
I truly believe that sharing my personal experiences enhances student learning.
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