Sunday, January 26, 2014

Critical thinking and questioning skills

Well 2014 has arrived and I am feeling pretty excited. I have been madly preparing wall displays and resources for an exciting year ahead.
This year our focus will be problem solving. To help develop our problem solving skills we will also need to develop our critical thinking and questioning skills.

A minion reasons to problem solve
I have created this minion problem solving display as a hook and am hoping the kids think it is as cool as I do. (Thanks to some of my 2013 students who contributed their minions for the display).

Burning questions
Throughout the year we will be using Kagan's questioning matrix to track our questions and assess the higher order thinking used. As students ask a question, it will be recorded on memo note paper with the student's name and bulldog clipped to the matrix. 

For those not familiar with Kagan's matrix - the questions with the blue pins use lower order thinking skills, as you move to the right as well as down the matrix the questions use  higher order thinking skills. 

Our class will also be using Bloom's taxonomy to focus and develop our thinking skills during class time.  Bloom views thinking skills as fitting several categories from lower order thinking, such as remembering, to higher order thinking such as creating. 

Google time
I will also be introducing Google Time this year. 
  Google Time will involve students writing down questions that require further research. We will then spend 10-15minutes during the day to Google these questions. The aim is to encourage students to make the link between questioning, research, an enquiring mind and the wonders of our world.  It will also provide an opportunity to demonstrate using key words for searches and discussing good questions. 

Genius hour
Later in the year I plan on introducing Genius Hour. Genius Hour is an opportunity for students to research and complete their own projects.  We will develop research and questioning skills in order that students can decide upon worthy projects, so they can plan and implement research, and will be able to create strong creative presentations of their findings.