Five Aspects used to Assess Results:
In the workshop manuals, there is a page entitled "Why Critical
Thinking" that has three sections called: "The Problem,"
'A Definition," and "The Result."
The Result section is what I refer to as "The Five Aspects."
It says, "A well-cultivated critical thinker: raises vital
questions...." We use these five aspects to evaluate the
quality of everything! I start off with reading a persuasive speech
about punishments for drunk driving. Then, the students write
a letter to the author using the Five Aspects as a guide. For
example, "Dear Author, I read you speech about drunk driving.
I can tell that you raised a vital question and it is What
can we do about drunk driving?" I see that you gathered
and assessed relevant information because you said "..." They must write down what they identify in the speech
as relevant information or, if the material ISN'T there,
they must say, "You didn"t gather and assess relevant
information." May I suggest you do the following, and give
some direction to the author. This lets me see where their weaknesses
are that I need to focus on. I chose drunk driving to make obvious
points and, again, I don't want to make this too complex
by using science content, yet, or having them try to assess themselves
before they really understand the rubric. I am confident that,
once they are clear about what is expected, having first been
the assessor, they will know better how to approach a situation
when it is their turn to turn out a product (and know what pitfalls
The other key component to my approach is that I have an all-or-none
grading policy with re-do"s as the only option. Either
you do REALLY GOOD work the first time and get 100% or else you
take a zero and do the work over and over until it meets the requirements.
I am very selective as to what I accept because I heard the quote,
"The worst paper that you accept becomes your highest standard."
After a time, laziness prevails and students do a nice job only
the first time. I hope to "corrupt" their brain with
this tendency permanently. I point out that you do not get paid
65% for a 65% effort at work, you just get fired. There are plenty
of people waiting in line for your job!- so get used to doing
your best all the time now. My classroom is the place to practice.
Engaging students to think deeply about content
How to teach students to read actively and analytically
Critical thinking as an integral part of teaching
Lesson Plan Redesign Format