One way to emphasizing Thinking over mere Remembering is to consider the level of abstraction we’re asking students to use. You might think of abstraction as a spectrum from highly specific, concrete details to really big (but vague) ideas.
All AboutCritical Thinking
How Gallagher and Ascher’s Divergent Questions can ensure students are thinking rather than merely remembering.
A simple test for any task: does this make my students really think or merely remember? It sounds silly, but the more I consider it, the more interesting this distinction gets.
Here’s a reading assignment: Erika McWilliam’s “From Sage to Guide to Meddler.” This paper discuses how we can get in the middle of our students’ learning, creating productive struggle by allowing kids to sit in their own confusion longer than they might like.
You know you’re supposed to put your cart into a designated area in the parking lot, but you’d rather not take the effort since you’re in a hurry. And after all, one cart doesn’t make a difference! However, if we all take this mindset, soon the parking lot is impossible to park in, carts are slamming into cars, and businesses are raising prices to pay for all of the broken carts.
Moving from analysis to evaluation sure makes things more fun. Why? Check out these examples. Which would you rather answer?
If we expect gifted students to learn information at a more rigorous level than the general population, then we must also assess them at higher levels as well. How can you embed higher level thinking skills into an assessment (and ditch those “multiple choice” and “fill in the blank” sections)?
How many ways can you think of to use a gallery of one hundred video game systems in your gifted classroom?
We teach our gifted students to solve math problems, write fantastic essays, and read above grade level, but do we teach them to think? Edward Debono believes that thinking should be taught as a discrete subject. As I start the new school year, I’ve found a few books to help me embed quick “thinking lessons” into my day. These tools make great options for extension menus or creative differentiated products.
How often do you give your gifted students the opportunity to solve authentic, relevant problems? What is more authentic to a student than solving classroom problems? And what excites students more than having ownership over the classroom seating? Here’s an authentic problem solving idea that ties in public speaking skills, group work, and classroom ownership.