The GAP Stopper is a kid-friendly, adaptable process that teaches students to think logically and critically. The ideas in this resource are not intended to be one-shot, short-term activities. Instead, GAP Stopper is designed to be a routine that is consistently applied across the contents throughout the year until this thinking process becomes a habit that transforms the way students make decisions in their work.
I originally created the GAP Stopper to teach reluctant fourth grade writers how to generate meaningful information to support their topic. However, it was so successful in improving both their competence and their confidence that I began asking myself, "Why wait until students struggle to teach this simple thinking process?"
For the next few years I began trying the GAP Stopper routine in younger grades. Students at each grade level experienced the same success. It became clear that if students were taught this routine when they first started writing, they would learn to think more logically and more critically about their ideas. That's because the GAP Stopper routine mimics the authentic way writers apply writing processes in their personal and professional lives.
Over time I discovered that even before students were writing, they could begin learning this thinking process by using GAP Stopper as a drawing routine and a reading routine. This simple, flexible, three-step routine helps them develop the skills necessary for clear communication.