Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Questions for Building Thinking Skills

Over the last years, I have participated in several discussions about what students really need to learn in school. As a Board of Education member, I helped to craft a new mission statement and a vision of the graduate for our district. As a graduate student, my professors structured several conversations and assignments around the necessary components of education. As teachers, Mel and I reflect often on how we can incorporate learning dispositions into our curriculum.

In addition to the core curriculum,  empathy, critical thinking, creativity, communication and collaboration are important parts of my vision for education. Therefore, Mel and I have begun to work on questions that we ask throughout the academic day that relate to these skills. Here are some that we have so far:

  • How does this book/event inspire us to act in our lives?
  • How do you think the character/person feels?
  • Why did the character/person behave this way?
  • What makes you think that this is what the character/person was thinking?
Critical Thinking
  • What part of this lesson/skill is difficult for you?  Say more about that...
  • Where do you become confused?
  • How have you revised your thinking?
  • What are you proud of about your work?
  • What do you think needs more development/work/attention?
  • What other ways could we solve this problem?
  • How can you connect these different ideas?
  • What presentations can we develop to relay this information?
Communication and Collaboration
  • How can you explain your thinking?
  • How did different input and ideas help you to solve the problem or develop your response?
  • How does another viewpoint change your opinion/thinking?
This list is far from complete and it is one that we will continue to develop. If anyone has suggestions and ideas for other questions within these categories, we'd love to include them. We're also working on developing activities and behaviors that foster these skills in elementary-aged students.

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