Integral part of my teaching
I make them demonstrate the relationship between the elements
of reason and the scientific method. Making the comparison of
the elements of reason is a standing homework assignment that
they know to do without me telling them to. If they don't
know the purpose of the day, or the question at issue, or the
concepts we are covering they can't possibly be learning
anything! This way, they generate the value of what we are doing..they
are convincing me and not vice versa. Students cannot turn
in any laboratory report (or piece of writing) without having
an accompanying letter of evaluation (that is written in the format
of the five aspects of assessment.) In addition, they must also
turn in a letter to me that states that they have read their letter
of evaluation and already attended to the suggestions in there.
The rest depends a lot on the kind of content in a given class.
In Physical Science, we do a lot of math: manipulation of various
formulas and conversions between units. We also do a lot of chemistry.
These concepts are difficult for students and I want to send
them to higher classes with a solid base of understanding. So,
in these classes, we drill the essentials with students at the
board solving problems and explaining them as they go. No one
is immune and we do NOT move on until everyone (and I mean everyone!)
gets it and can explain it. What you generate, you KNOW. (They,
of course, also know why we learn each thing since they have applied
the elements of reason to the content on several occasions. The
pupose of learning to convert units is so that we can buy gas
in another country; modify a recipe when cooking, etc)
Students learn to ask questions and be persistent because they
know they might as well. They are accountable. By this time,
the students are comfortable with each other and at the board.
Physics is a bit more intuitive so we branch out to the students
teaching the entire semester. I jigsaw groups around so that we
begin by creating "experts" in nuclear power, electricity,
heat, magnetism, human impact on the environment, etc. During
this portion, we learn research techniques, etc. Then, we form
new groups that have one expert from each of the previous groups.
These second groups apply all the previous concepts they've
researched to a unifying theme like cars, houses, schools, factories,
communities,etc. (How do cars use/generate electricity, heat,
pollution, etc.) To present this data, they must fulfill a huge
list of requirements. They must bring in a car, guest speakers,
do demonstrations, set up related field trips, lead labs, etc.
This lets them learn a lot of life skills in addition to content.
It is quite daunting for them to call up the local heating and
cooling guy, or a college professor, to come in and speak to the
class! The final product, after the actual several day presentation,
is a term paper that conforms to all the standards- bibliography,
notecards, bib cards, title page, etc.
Integrating critical thinking into the curriculum is simply using
an approach that focuses on the individual being thoroughly engaged
in whatever activity is going on in the classroom. Critical thinking
can be inserted into the curriculum at several levels. The activity
described above lets the students do the critical thinking for
themselves. You can design activities that encourage the students
to practice critical thinking themselves, or, you can use critical
thinking strategies yourself in order to devise daily lesson plans,
as well as course-wide objectives, that encourage students to
think critically. Furthermore, the teacher models exemplary thinking
skills at all times during class. This is accomplished by reasoning
things through verbally, as well as modelling reading, listening,
questioning and discussing assignments with the class.
Engaging students to think deeply about content
Five Aspects used to Assess Results
How to teach students to read actively and analytically
Lesson Plan Redesign Format