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5 Critical Thinking Activities

5 Critical Thinking Activities

Critical thinking...reflective, higher order, and independent thinking.  Applied to the classroom I think of it as teaching students to think on a deeper level, not just memorizing facts.  So I am sharing 5 great critical thinking activities with you today.

5 Critical Thinking Activities
This quote by Albert Einstein says it all.  He was one smart man!  

1.  Wondering Wall

5 Critical Thinking Activities

Have a Wondering Wall in your room and teach students to ask questions about the text they are reading.  This is a great way to begin to think deeper about the text.  

5 Critical Thinking Activities

At first, your students may come  up with wonderings or questions that are more surface level.  But after lots of modeling from you and hearing each other's questions, students will being to move towards thinking about questions that will help them to understand the text better.  They may go from questions like "why are the kids at the fairgrounds at night" to questions like "Aren't the kids missed at home by the parents and why haven't the parents gone out to find the kids since it is at night time".  

2. Which One Does Not Belong?

5 Critical Thinking Activities

 After teaching word work, I like to do a quick check with my students to see if they can apply the phonics or phonemic awareness skills we have just been working on in class.  Right before they walk out the door, I have them read the words on the Post It notes and jot down the word that does not belong with the group on another smaller Post It note.  You may think this is an easy task, but for some of my struggling readers this can be a difficult task.  You can use this in many different ways than just word families.

3.  Which Strategy Did You Use?


5 Critical Thinking Activities

Currently, we are working on learning different reading strategies to help us with tricky words.  But I don't want my students to memorize the strategies.  I want them to learn HOW to use them in the best way.

5 Critical Thinking Activities

Some strategies work better in some situations than others do.  Eagle Eye (check the picture) will not work for the word "before".  But Chunky Monkey (break the word into parts) would be a great way to figure that word out.  

5 Critical Thinking Activities

  When the student reads and comes to a tricky word, they write the word down and then check the strategy they found the most useful.  Some students wanted to write more than one tricky word on their sheet!

4.  The Answer Is...

5 Critical Thinking Activities

I love this backwards thinking strategy!  Give an answer and the students must come up with a question for it.  The more you model and encourage creative thinking for this strategy, the more the students will enjoy coming up with creative questions!  They enjoy thinking of questions that maybe no one else would think of to ask.  

5.  Agree/Disagree Boards

5 Critical Thinking Activities

When we get out our Agree/Disagree boards, my students love it!  These are wipe off boards that you can flip from front to back.  If you don't have these, you can just print agree on one side of yardstick and disagree on the other and glue to wide popsicle sticks.  Currently we are using them to prove character traits.  One student will say they believe the character is upset.  Then we vote whether we agree or disagree with the student.  The student finds the evidence in the text to prove their trait and anyone who disagrees finds their evidence to prove their thinking.  Great conversations come from Agree/Disagree!  One student discovered this past week that the character could feel one way at one time in the story, but feel differently later in the story.  It was great to lead into the skill that characters change in our stories.  Now this student wants to disagree all the time.  But that is okay..as long as he can prove his thinking!

5 critical thinking activities



What are some of your favorite activities to promote critical thinking in your classroom?



4 comments:

  1. I like "the answer is". I've never tried that so I think I'll give it a shot!

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    Replies
    1. Barb, the answer is is really a great way for students to think backwards through the problem.

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  2. These are all so great. I think I'd love to try Which One Does Not Belong. What a perfect formative assessment!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Tammy! I like Which One Does Not Belong because it can be a quick minute assessment on their way out the door.

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