Critical thinking strategies

Critical thinking strategies
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This collection of posters provides teachers, from K-12, in regular and special education, with simple and effective strategies for helping students engage in strong reflective practices. The core idea is that students tend to respond quickly, intuitively, and without much reflection. To help them reflect on what they know, consider alternatives, evaluate the evidence, and make solid, rational decisions, I have created a family of strategies. There are four posters that can be printed at large scale to be posted as posters, or printed in smaller format to include in a student's handbook. The following describes each poster.
1. Confidence: this poster was already posted for free on TpT and is not included in the price of this package. The goal of this critical thinking strategy is to help students carefully evaluate the confidence of their answers or judgments. Each student votes on their confidence with 2 thumbs up (100% confident they are correct), 1 thumb up (fairly confident), or 1 thumb up and 1 thumb down (uncertain or don't know). Once every one votes, the teacher calls on the students. In using this technique in dozens of classrooms, I have seen students slow down, re-evaluate their decision, and make far more accurate judgments of what they know.

2. Know it: When asked a question, students raise 1, 2 or 3 fingers based on the depth of their understanding. 1 Finger is for just the answer; 2 Fingers for the answer and an explanation of why it is the correct or a defensible answer; 3 Fingers for the answer, explanation and another example of the same type of problem. The best way to use this technique is to have every student raise their finger choice before calling on anyone. The reason to do this is that students will vote, look at what others have decided, and sometimes revise their decisions. This will help students slow down and reflect on their understanding.

3. Mind debate: Ask students a question. Have them write down the first answer that comes to know, and then write down at least one other alternative answer. Then consider which is the best answer and why. When this process is finished, the student raises his or her hand and must provide both answers and the explanation. This will help students consider alternatives, and avoid favoring the first answer that comes to mind.

4. Answer chain: As students a question. Call on one student to come up to the board and write down their answer. Then ask the next student to come up and revise the previous student's answer, either adding to it, changing the wording, or providing a completely different answer. Repeat this process until the entire class agrees that they have the best answer. This technique allows all students to work together and consider different perspectives, from writing to explanation.
Total Pages
4 pages
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