A Parent's Guide to Using Critical Thinking Tools at Home

A Parent's Guide to Using Critical Thinking Tools at Home

A Parents Guide to Understanding and Using Critical Thinking Tools at Home 7th Grade Humanities All of us do not have equal talent, but all of us should have an equal opportunity to develop our talent. - John F. KennedyUse of critical thinking tools in the classroom challenges students to learn at a deeper level. You can keep them challenged at home, too! READ ON

Time for Thinking We teach your children to think of themselves as SCHOLARS Scholars spend time pondering ideas and problems. Scholars consider the glass "half full. Scholars have both short and long term goals for themselves.

Scholars come prepared to learn. Scholars save ideas, documents, and unfinished work so that they may come back to them later. Scholars are curious, often asking thoughtful questions. Scholars look at a variety of resources.

Scholars exercise their intellect by challenging themselves. Scholars are risk-takers and are willing to attempt new and difficult tasks. S. Kaplan, USC Now, so that you are able to support your scholar at home take a look at the various THINKING TOOLS that we use in the

classroom! Ask your child how they are using the critical thinking tools in class. Depth & Complexity Support the use of the thinking tools in conversations at home. Blooms Taxonomy Universal Theme

Content Imperatives Origin Paradox Impact Think Like A Disciplinarian DEPTH Icons: Extending ones study of the class content Challenges advanced learners by directing them to extend their understanding of the area of study.

Challenges struggling learners without overwhelming them Depth has the following major components: Language of the Disciplines: Specialized vocabulary, names of skills or tasks, tools used

forces, direction Big Idea: Generalization, principle, theory Patterns: Repetition, Trends: Influences, Ethics: Points of view, different opinions, judging predictability

Rules: Structure, order, hierarchy, explanation Details: Attributes, parts, factors, variables Unanswered Questions: Missing parts, unclear ideas, incomplete ideas Thinking Tools-Depth (1) Language of What vocabulary terms are

the specific to the content or Discipline discipline? Details What are the defining features or characteristics? Find examples and evidence to support opinions and ideas. Patterns What are the reoccurring events? What elements, events, ideas, are repeated over time? What was the order of events? How can we

predict what will come next? Rules What structure underlies this subject? What guidelines or regulations affect it? What hierarchy or ordering principle is Thinking Tools-Depth (2) Trends Note factors (Social, Economic, Political, Scientific, Artistic, Geographic) that cause events to occur. Identify patterns of change over time.

Unanswere d Questions What do experts in the field still not understand about this area/topic/ study/discipline? What is yet unknown about this area/topic/study/ discipline? In what ways is the information incomplete or lacking in explanation? Big Ideas What theory or general statement applies to these ideas? How do these ideas relate to broad concepts such as change, systems, chaos vs. order, etc? What is the

main idea? Ethics What moral principles are involved in this subject? What controversies exist? Using Complexity Icons Includes making relationships, connecting other concepts, and layering. This is the why/how approach that

connects and bridges to other disciplines to enhance the meaning of a unit of study. Complexity encourages students to Relate concepts and ideas at a more sophisticated level See associations among diverse subjects, topics or levels Find multiple solutions from multiple points of view Complexity has three major dimensions: Relationships From Different

Points of View: Multiple Perspectives, opposing viewpoints, differing roles and knowledge Relationships Over Time: Between the past, present and future, and within a time period Interdisciplinary Relationships: With, between, and across the disciplines 13 Thinking Tools-Complexity

Across the Disciplines Apply it (tell how it can be used) How does it help you understand other subjects, branches of learning, fields of study, professions, jobs? Changes Over Time How are the ideas related between the past, present, future? How are these ideas related within or during a particular time period? How has time affected the information? How and why do things change or

remain the same? Different Perspective s How would others see the situation differently? Different roles and knowledge. Opposing viewpoints Students can use a single Depth/Complexity icon One at a time Depth To dig deeper Complexity Greater breadth of understanding

The thinking tool is like a magnifying glass. It gives greater dimension to For example, using one icon to understand a battle in history, students can study the rules, patterns, details, or ethics related to that battle. Patterns Rules Details

Ethics Part to whole thinking or students can use Thinking Pairs Two thinking tools together joined with the word AND What are the details AND ethical issues surrounding the fall of the Roman Empire? Using two thinking tools changes the intellectual demand THE INTELLECTUAL WORK IS RIGOROUS Content Imperative Icons are another thinking tool They focus the investigation of a topic of study from a broad, general

area to a more structured and specific one. Content imperatives can be used as prompts to construct questions to stimulate the investigation the subject matter. Example: What are the CONTRIBUTIONS of weather to farming? Thinking ToolsContent Imperatives Parallels IDEAS OR EVENTS THAT ARE SIMILAR AND CAN BE COMPARED TO ONE ANOTHER Paradox


n THE SIGNIFICANT PART OR RESULT OF AN IDEA OR EVENT Examples of using Content Imperatives: critical thinking at its best What factors CONVERGED to bring about the fall of the Roman Empire? What PARALLELS do you find between the rise of Ghana and the rise of Mali? How parents can use these tools at home to support critical thinking

Movies and TV shows can stimulate questions. Ask your child What are some of the patterns of behavior you notice in a main character? What are some ethical issues facing a particular character? What are the multiple ways a characters actions might be viewed? Did you notice any trends in the evenings programming? relevant to your childs sports. Ask What patterns of play are apparent in your sport? What are the important rules in your sport? What trends or predictions can you make about your sport/team?

How has this sport changed over time? And Then There is the Critical Thinking Pyramid Known as Blooms Taxonomy In 1956, Benjamin Bloom headed a group of educational psychologists who developed a classification of levels of intellectual behavior important in learning. Would you believe that Bloom found that over 95 % of the test questions students encounter require them to THINK only at the lowest possible level, which is the recall (remember/knowledge) of information. Bloom identified six levels related to the cognitive domain, from simple recall or recognition of facts, as the lowest level, through increasingly more complex and abstract mental levels, to the highest order which is now classified as creating/synthesis.

Examples that represent intellectual activity on each level are listed on the following page. Students are asked to look at the content using Blooms Thinking Words Remembering (Knowledge): Can the student recall or remember the information? define, duplicate, list, memorize, recall, repeat, reproduce state Understanding (Comprehension): Can the student explain ideas or concepts? classify, describe, discuss, explain, identify, locate, recognize, report, select, translate, paraphrase Applying (Application): Can the student use the information in a new way? choose, demonstrate, dramatize, employ, illustrate, interpret, operate, schedule, sketch, solve, use, write. Analyzing (Analysis): Can the student distinguish between the different parts? appraise, compare, contrast, criticize, differentiate, discriminate, distinguish, examine, experiment, question, test. Evaluating (Evaluation): Can the student justify a stand or decision?

appraise, argue, defend, judge, select, support, value, evaluate. Creating (Synthesis): Can the student create new product or point of view? assemble, construct, create, design, develop, formulate, write. There are many other tools that stimulate critical thinking The use of the thinking terms on the following pages demands more thought and effort when students consider the content to be learned. They might be thought of as the ACTION that activates learning. Thinking Skills-(1) TERM DEFINITION Determine the relevance

Decide what is important or given priority. Define the cause and effect. Define the reasons why something happens and the consequences of that action or event. Prove with evidence Justify a stated idea or concept with details, facts, and characteristics, Judge with criteria

Make a decision and support it with why the decisions was made. Relate Associate or link information and state the rationale for the connection. Note the ambiguity Describe what is missing, unclear, or incongruous. Thinking Skills-(2) TERM DEFINITION

Differentiate fact from fiction Discern what is real from what is make-believe. Define Provide specific statements or facts to describe an idea, concept, or statement. Sequence Determine the order of the presentation of information.

Categorize Define the placement or group to which information belongs. Summarize Restate information in its most succinct form. When visiting new ideas with your child, develop questions using KEY words-ask What is/are the Kinds, characteristics, factors, features, types, attributes History/development of

Sequence of/steps to Origin of Pattern of. Purpose of Importance of Relationship of Trends of Value of Problems relating to Concepts/theories of Future of An important way to have students think critically is to have them Think Like A Disciplinarian LEARNING TO APPROACH SUBJECTS FROM NEW POINTS OF VIEW...

When students learn to "think like a disciplinarian" they are approaching problems and concepts from the point of view of a professional in a specific field. Examples are on the next pages Think Like a Disciplinarian Purpose: We are going to be Thinking Like A Disciplinarian --Anthropologist is an example of a disciplinarian --Economist is an example of a disciplinarian Questions: What is a discipline? How are these features related to a discipline: purpose language skills tools methodology deeds, and dates What do disciplinarians do? Who are the disciplinarians related to what we are studying?

S. Kaplan, USC Think Like a Disciplinarian Example: Think Like An Anthropologist I study humanity and human culture. I focus on all societies and all aspects of human physical, social, and cultural life. I examine the characteristics that human beings share and the diverse ways that people live in different environments. I investigate culture, the strategies for living that people learn and share as members of social groups. I also analyze beliefs and values. I look for general patterns in human behavior. I try to determine how people who share a culture view their world. S. Kaplan, USC

In exploring a character in literature, we may ask our students to Think Like a Psychiatrist and ask the following questions What behavior is interesting about this character (good or bad)? (Ethics) What is the origin of this behavior? When did it start? Why did it start? What factors contribute to the behavior? What is making the behavior continue? What is making it worse? How do the characters thoughts and actions form a parallel or a paradox? Does the character mean to do what he does or does it go against his thoughts? (Ethics) Intelligences

or your SMARTS Dr. Howard Gardner claims that all human beings have multiple intelligences. These multiple intelligences can be nurtured and strengthened, or ignored and weakened. He believes each individual has nine intelligences, which are described on the following pages Multiple Intelligences or SMARTS continued Gardner believes that the NINE intelligences he has identified are independent, in that they develop at different times and to different degrees in different individuals. It is important to encourage children to explore and exercise all of their intelligences. Creating a rich and

stimulating environment filled with interesting materials, games, and books lays the foundation for healthier, happier, brighter children! Students who have these kinds of experiences know many ways to learn almost anything! or SMARTS (1) Verbal-Linguistic Intelligence -- welldeveloped verbal skills and sensitivity to the sounds, meanings and rhythms of words Mathematical-Logical Intelligence -- ability to think conceptually and abstractly, and capacity to discern logical or numerical patterns Musical Intelligence -- ability to produce and appreciate rhythm, pitch and timber Visual-Spatial Intelligence -- capacity to think in images and pictures, to visualize accurately and abstractly

FIND YOUR PREDOMINENT INTELLIGENCE: http://www.bgfl.org/bgfl/custom/resources_ ftp/client_ftp/ks3/ict/multiple_int/questions /choose_lang.cfm Multiple Intelligences or SMARTS (2) Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence -- ability to control one's body movements and to handle objects skillfully Interpersonal Intelligence -- capacity to detect and respond appropriately to the moods, motivations and desires of others. Intrapersonal Intelligence -- capacity to be selfaware and in tune with inner feelings, values, beliefs and thinking processes Naturalist Intelligence -- ability to recognize and categorize plants, animals and other objects in nature

Existential Intelligence -- sensitivity and capacity to tackle deep questions about human existence, such as the meaning of life, why do we die, and how did Understanding Universal Themes Our students learn best when they relate new information to ideas that are familiar. We help them with this by teaching universal themes/concepts. By using this technique, we help students to form big ideas that are transferred to future experiences. Universal themes can make the difference between knowledge and understanding learning many facts vs. being able to apply those facts to something meaningful, as in our case, to

social studies and literary concepts. We will use some of these themes throughout the year Conflict Structure Power Systems Change Generalizations: Within each universal theme are generalizations. For example, working with CONFLICT as a theme, students will investigate ideas such as Conflict is composed of opposing forces. Conflict may be natural or man-made. Conflict may allow for synthesis or change. Now you are ready to support your childs learning at home! First When reviewing your childs homework or

projects, ask questions such as: Tell me how you arrived at your answer. What evidence do you have to support that statement? Encourage students to practice skills at home. If students want to become better readers, they have to read morepractice is necessary to excel in any area Ask your children more questions about what they are studying ASKwhat is something you learned about today? How would you describe this idea? What details would you use? How is this idea related to something you already know?

What else would you like to know about this topic? S. Kaplan, USC Next, model academic humility Be willing to say, I dont know the answer to that. How can we find out? Let your child brainstorm with with you. Have family dinners together and discuss a controversial topic allowing everyone to give his or her perspective. Model at home how to have discussions with different opinions. Finally, help build your childs interests. Visit museums and cultural exhibits to provide outside experiences Instill a sense of discovery by asking your child

questions and then allowing them to investigate on their own. Show enthusiasm for reading and cultural experiences. Instill love for art, books, music, dance, and theater. AND PLEASE SHARE YOUR EXPERTISE IN OUR CLASSROOOM! References The work of Dr. Sandra Kaplan at USC is used throughout this presentation.

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