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The other day, I walked into one of our primary multi-aged classroom communities. I noticed many wonderful things. It was clear the students were engaged in what they were doing. These young students were working on an inquiry unit related to force and motion. Other students were using their iPads to view videos related to force and motion.
Many of the students were recording notes on their iPads or on paper while watching the videos or reading. A few students were experimenting with different materials such as ramps, matchbox cars, marbles, etc. Later, students met in small groups and engaged in discussions related to what they learned or discovered through these activities.
Their conversations led the students to synthesize their new learning, reflect on the learning experiences they had, and make connections to how this new information relates to the essential question of their current inquiry unit.
It is clear that these students were working on thinking critically. For us, critical thinking happens when students analyze and evaluate evidence, arguments, claims and beliefs. They can then learn how to make judgments and decisions based on others' points of view, interpret information and draw conclusions.
Fostering Critical Thinking Four main approaches have made the biggest impact on our children's critical thinking: Inquiry "One way we try to foster critical thinking skills in our classroom is by allowing our students to be creative and to inquire about topics that are of interest to them.
The students work through the phases of immersion, investigation, coalescence and demonstration of learning. Throughout these phases the students are able to wonder, build background knowledge, develop questions, search for new information, synthesize information, demonstrate an understanding and share their new learning with others.
Throughout inquiry, the students tie everything together through an essential question which helps them probe for deeper meaning. These questions are open-ended, encourage collaboration and foster the development of critical thinking skills. Questioning "We push students to dig deeper in their learning by asking guiding questions and providing a variety of resources for students to independently find answers.
Throughout their learning, we encourage students to ask and answer their own questions through small group discussions, conferring, working on their Personalized Learning Plans and using graphic organizers.
Questioning models for students how they should think. Our professional educators use open-ended questions to encourage discussion and active learning.
We also incorporate questioning into our everyday discussions with students. Instead, we turn the problem onto them and ask how could they solve this problem. This allows the child opportunities to solve their problems independently. It is important that our students think for themselves.Critical thinking has been an important issue in education, and has become quite the buzzword around schools.
The Common Core State Standards specifically emphasize a thinking curriculum and thereby requires teachers to elevate their students’ mental workflow beyond just memorization—which is a really good step forward.
Critical thinking is an also a crucial component of the beginning reading curriculum (Fitzpatick, ), as it boosts reading comprehension and story knowledge.
Teaching Critical Thinking Skills to Fourth Grade Students Identified as Gifted and Talented; the following resources are among the most relevant to incorporating critical thinking concepts into the elementary classroom.
The Children's Guide Companion DVD was created from the Miniature Guide to Critical Thinking for Children. The teacher had the student use her critical thinking skills to turn around the situation into something more positive.
Getting students to dig deeper and really use higher-level thinking is a process. Questioning plays a critical role in cultivating critical thinking skills and deep learning. Questioning models for students how they should think. Our professional educators use open-ended questions to encourage discussion and active learning.
Critical thinking skills are an increasingly important element of elementary education, but teaching them can often be a challenge for elementary school teachers. From what critical thinking is to how to incorporate it into everyday lessons, we examine the essentials of .