Thursday, August 16, 2012

Coach B's Facebook Course One lesson two

You probably know by now that this past weekend Coach B started posting Lessons for his first of many Whole Brain Thinking Facebook Courses. The first course is all about critical thinking. On Monday I posted my responses and thoughts on Lesson One, and today I present to you:

LESSON TWO:
Images are from the Whole Brain Teaching Facebook page.
Photo: Lesson 2 Question:  What is the simplest form of critical thinking?
The lovely thing about the answer to this question, as you will see, is that it provides a powerful, easy to implement tool for every grade level.  Yes, every grade level. Of course, we have to wait until we have lots of comments below indicating a big crowd of Wibbeteers is assembled, eager and deeply attentive.
My initial response was:
Learning to ask questions?

As we waited for more people to post their guesses, Coach B replied:
Several people are remarkably close to the answer.

Am I? Let's wait and see!

AND on Monday evening, the answer was finally posted. I of course discovered that I was WAY off.
Photo: Lesson 2 Answer:  The simplest form of critical thinking is where the teacher does half the critical thinking for the student.  "Fill in this blank as many times as you can: Rule 1 is a good rule because _____."  "Fill in this blank as many times as you can.  This is an interesting story because _____."  "Nine is the right answer to this problem because ____."  
When students use "because" they are connecting opinion (idea, position, view) with evidence: opinion because evidence.  "It will be hot tomorrow..."  (Opinion) "because we are in the middle of a heat wave."  (Evicence) 

Begin by giving students an opinion and let them come up with the evidence!  Also, use the "because clapper."  Students should clap once whenever they say "because" to add fun and to emphasize that "because" is the key critical thinking link.
Lesson 2 Answer: The simplest form of critical thinking is where the teacher does half the critical thinking for the student. "Fill in this blank as many times as you can: Rule 1 is a good rule because _____." "Fill in this blank as many times as you can. This is an interesting story because _____." "Nine is the right answer to this problem because ____." 
When students use "because" they are connecting opinion (idea, position, view) with evidence: opinion because evidence. "It will be hot tomorrow..." (Opinion) "because we are in the middle of a heat wave." (Evicence) 

Begin by giving students an opinion and let them come up with the evidence! Also, use the "because clapper." Students should clap once whenever they say "because" to add fun and to emphasize that "because" is the key critical thinking link.

I love how the answer to this question connects and directly weaves itself into Lesson one's definition of Critical thinking. “Critic
al thinking is supporting your opinion with lots of strong evidence.” 
That's how we need to teach, with scaffolding! In university I was told to scaffold my lessons when building unit plans, but it is so easy to forget that when trying to get every curriculum component into the unit. Everything needs to be built on top of previous learned concepts, and by having students use their previously acquired knowledge to prove their statements, they will be able to show they have learned the concept.

By prompting the students with an opinion and "because" to in a way force them to use evidence, students are automatically thinking critically! It won't be long before they are answering questions for themselves by using because statements without being prompted. The hard part will be getting over their initial fear of getting things wrong and therefore giving answers such as "because it is." We need to make sure we've helped to guide them already towards the answers they already have in one form or another, or can infer it from what we have learned together as a class.

I look forward to students becoming better whole brain thinkers because of their own learning, not because of what they've been told.


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