Posts Tagged ‘critical thinking’

Critical Thinking in the Classroom

Something I really want to do better in my classroom is having respectful, thoughtful and passionate discussions about many varied topics. One way I want to do this is by having a Statement of the Week.

So each week you introduce a statement such as ‘Zoos are awesome’ or ‘Students should have to wear uniforms’ and based on the statement, your student have to go to one of the 4 corners. Each corner will be labeled with a piece of paper that says Strongly Agree, Agree, Disagree, or Strongly Disagree. In their corners they will discuss with the other students in that corner why they feel that way about the topic. They will go back to their desks and circle their point of view and write why they feel that way.

Then for the week, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday you read articles based on the statement with differing points of views. Each day your students will write down the name of the article and the key ideas in that article.

Friday, the students need to evaluate their initial viewpoint and then analyze their key learnings from each article. Then they need to choose a final viewpoint and defend why they are keeping the same point of view or why they changed it. Then they will have a discussion where they try to convince the other corners that their corners are right. Then they will have to fill in the sheet on their final verdict.

I have added a option of a pro and con list on the back so that if the students are stuck on their options, they can use that to decide which point of view is correct.

Click on either picture or here to get your own copy of the Statement of the week.


To find the best articles, use Newsela. Newsela is a site that has tons of articles on different subjects and can be sorted by age range and language. You can find an article about your statement and then choose Lexile levels to suit your students reading levels. This way you can differentiate easily but all your students will still be able to participate on the same statement.


21st Century Learning Skills

As I’m on Maternity Leave I’ve been reflecting about my teaching practice and how I can make it better. I really want to focus on and integrate in all my teaching is the 21st Century Learning Skills.

I’ve been reading about these essential skills but I wanted to figure out how we can, or already do use them in our classroom everyday. In order for me to really teach to these skills I wanted to really understand them.

I am going to introduce the topic of 21st Century Skills by having a discussion with my class about what they believe communication, collaboration, critical thinking, and creativity are. What do they already know about these skills and how do they already use them in their everyday lives? How can we use these skills in a better way?

Below, I have made the graphic brainstorming the ways I can teach these skills or how we use these skills already.

I would love your feedback about this graphic. What am I missing?

The importance of digital citizenship and character education

I saw this tweet and have obviously heard of Monica Lewinsky and the ‘scandal.’

Screen Shot 2014-10-21 at 7.55.30 PM

I was interested in what she would have to say and have never thought of her as the 1st victim of cyber bullying. When the ‘scandal’ happened I was 16 years old.  I don’t remember a lot but I do remember the infamous blue dress, the lying, hearing talk show hosts discuss and argue about it. Looking back on it, I didn’t doubt for a minute that it was Monica’s fault. The media, newspapers, and TV was blaming her, and Bill Clinton was THE PRESIDENT. Shouldn’t we be able to trust who is in charge?

After watching this amazing speech, it reminded me how important it is to teach critical thinking, to teach character education, and to teach digital citizenship to our students. To be completely honest, I was shocked at what Monica went through, and at what I didn’t know about the scandal. How does the media only show one side of the story? Oh wait. NOW, I know we have to look at the source, now I know we have to look at both sides of the story but when I was growing up, we didn’t talk about critical thinking. It is so dangerous to not talk about these issues.

As Educators, we must:

  • talk about age appropriate news stories
  • look at what the media is telling and teaching our students and kids
  • teach character education
  • teach digital citizenship