The staff at Alexander Muir P.S. has been exploring strategies to help all of our students from kindergarten to grade eight become deep, critical thinkers. These strategies make students thinking visible through a variety of ways and allow teachers to see students’ ideas and understanding as they unfold during a lesson.
In order to help students think deeply as they seek to understand concepts and acquire skills, every teacher is working to create a culture of thinking in their classrooms. Teachers are doing this through their classroom set-up, group work and conversations, interactions with students and through the language that they use. You can help create a culture of thinking at home too. Here are some ideas you may want to try:
Model thinking. Talk about your own thinking. Make your thinking explicit. Share ideas. Wonder aloud. Explore with your children. Acknowledge that you don’t have all the answers and sometimes there are no right or wrong answers.
Show that you value thinking. Name and notice thinking. Make it clear that all thinking is acceptable. Acknowledge your child’s contribution but avoid praise for thinking. Instead engage and extend their own thinking by asking questions or ask for clarification and development of ideas.
Give them something worth thinking about. Find interesting information or problems to think about and discuss. Discuss local news or a topic that they’re passionate about. Build lego® with them and ask them to tell you why they chose the pieces they did. Read a story and discuss an issue related to it.
Let them do the thinking. As much as we want to help our children, sometimes the best thing we can do for them is to encourage them to think through their own challenges, problems and situations. So, next time they ask you to solve their problem, question them to help them think of a solution themselves.
If you’d like to do more thinking about thinking here are some online resources: