Mindsets and Critical Thinking

Good morning!!  I hope that you have been enjoying our Mindsets in the Classroom study as much as we have!  It has been great to see you linking up with us too!  Don't forget you can go back and grab the frame HERE so you can link up with us!!  It's never too late to jump into this awesome book!!

With that, we are going to jump into chapter 4 today!!



Chapter 4 is all about critical thinking and giving our students the opportunity to think critically.  This doesn't mean in just one area once a day.  It means multiple times a day, and in ways that are challenging to your students.



Critical thinking is a process that we have to continue to work on and develop.  If we do not practice thinking critically then we will set expectations that are too low of ourselves and our students.  Mary explained how cooking is not a skill, but a PROCESS that requires many, many different skills.  Without these different skills you would not be able to cook.  If you could not measure then you would not be able to correctly make a cake.

Thinking critically is also a process where we have to practice many different skills.  We have to understand what is being asked, we have to interpret information that is given to us,  we have to reason, solve problems and make decisions.


We need to make sure that we provide our students with plenty of opportunities to use their critical thinking process!

When students are able to use their own reasoning skills, then they are able to figure things out and talk about why they arrived at a certain answer.  When we continuously give them the answer, or tell them there is only one way to do things, then we have a fixed mindset.  By allowing students to try different ways, we are showing them that it is okay to think outside the book, and sharing the ideas that we are allowing them to have a growth mindset.





Don't forget to add your link up if you would like to join us!!  We are almost half way done!!  Can you believe it!?!


23 comments :

  1. I love what she had to say about persistence and effort. I had a kiddo this year and there family motto is attitude and effort! She is an amazing student and works so hard...proof that a growth mindset makes all the difference!
    The Blessed Teacher

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  2. Wonderful chapter summary. So true, that critical thinking needs to be incorporated through out the day, not just in one area. I like the connection between critical thinking and a positive mindset. Also, love your graphics!
    Debbie

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  3. Great job and super cute graphics! I love the reminder to let the kids figure things out in multiple ways. I am definitely guilty of leading them on occasion and that will not help them develop a growth mindset.

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  4. Chapter 4: I enjoyed this chapter. Critical thinking is so important! I really liked the cooking analogy, it takes lots of skills to form a process. What kinds of things do you suggest to help develop critical thinking in students who are non-verbal. I already use games and puzzles for that, but are their other ideas that I haven't thought of?

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    1. I wonder if you might look at the complexity of the puzzles and push the critical thinking by pushing the difficulty. I know you have to be mindful of the frustration levels of some of your students, but I bet even they will surprise us!

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  5. In Chapter 4 we read about the importance of providing activities that require students to use critical
    thinking. Not only should students reason, problem solve, and make decisions, but they should be
    challenged to think deeply in each situation. Following a trip this year to observe Personalized Learning in another school district, I immediately began to focus on how I could better meet the needs of each of my students. Back to the section of this chapter where they were describing students' reactions in the
    project, they mentioned how some students asked for harder stuff to help their brain grow. I had this
    same experience this past school year as I began assigning more challenging activities to some students.
    They too began asking me on a regular basis for harder work and were eager to complete more difficult
    tasks that involved critical thinking! It was exciting to see the growth mindset among my kindergarten
    students!

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    1. I'll keep a look out for brain games for K students.

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  6. I really liked what the author said at the end of Chapter 4, "Critical thinking and a growth mindset culture go hand in hand. We can expect students to embrace challenge only if we make it available to them on a consistent basis." I think we kind of get in the frame of mind, especially with our struggling students, that we need to "water down" skills and not challenge them. If we don't challenge them, not to the point of frustration, and expect them to progress and achieve a higher standard then they will stay where they are at or regress. I also like the idea of explaining and teaching them about what the brain does. I loved how the students didn't want to quit and they wanted more challenging work because they knew the neurons were making connections in their brains.

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    1. I know you will get your first grade babies on board! They will learn to work hard to make connections.

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  7. The Ready to Use Resources for Mindsets in the Classroom gives a suggestion on how to use a GUESS BOX. This Guess Box strategy requires students to determine what item is in a box (the item is chosen because it relates to a content area in some way). A box in which the contents are unknown can be a powerful tool for thinking. Students are to ask questions about the object but the question can only be answered with a yes or no. The ultimate goal is for students to show growth in the way students ask questions and reason. This would be a great way to hook students!!

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    1. Thanks for checking out the resource guide.

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  8. I love the games she suggested too! Go to ThinkFun under Logic games. They are about $20.00 each so consider using your PTO money towards this. The games are mostly age 8 and up, but even our K students could work towards learning them.

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  9. I agree that "providing students many opportunities to develop their cognitive abilities through critical thinking experiences" will contribute to their growth mindset. I see it in my own children. I can't wait to check out some of these games.

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  10. I thought it was interesting when the author wrote about us reasoning, problem solving, and making decisions daily that are not necessarily critical thinking. I hate to say it, but this part made me think about the evaluation rubric a little bit. I tried to think about whether I try to plan reasoning, problem solving and decision making opportunities for my students daily to get those checked off or do I plan them to be true challenges to my students? Now I know that the difference in a 3 and 5, but I think it is very important to create challenging situations everyday in our classrooms for the benefit of our students' growth in mindset. I'll be thinking and planning ways to truly make every student think critically daily.

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  11. I love how games were used to promote critical thinking. What a great idea where kids can try out reasoning skills, problem solving, and build stamina with approaching a challenge. I like the quote at the end, "We can expect students to embrace challenge only if we make it available to them on a consistent basis." What a great reminder to keep this in the forefront of our mind during lesson planning.

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  12. Love this, "Every day we reason, problem solve, and make decisions, but they do not always require critical thought." We as educators now know that every day our students are reasoning, problem solving, and making decisions, but now we need to step our game up and require them to think deeper, utilizing critical thinking. Their critical thinking has to be infused with content, that its not easy to critically think.

    I want these games!!! I want some of these games from thinkfun to promote critical thinking!! Not only does it increase critical thinking but it also increases motivation.

    I really like what Jessica had to say about the evaluation rubric and planning to hit a checklist or truly implementing skills that help my students better understand and utilize critical thinking. Having challenging situations everyday is a must do, simply because its creating the thin layer of acceleration and enrichment for our students. Critical thinking will definitely help build every students growth mindset.

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  13. It's so true that critical thinking and a growth mindset go hand in hand. When faced with a tough challenge (where you'll have to think critically) you first have to believe you can solve it before you even begin. Without that belief that you can try then you won't ever get to the critical thinking. Oftentimes,when faced with a task that's more difficult you have to have those growth mindset characteristics of persistence and effort to master it.
    I love where Ricci stated that critical thinking is a process. It's not a skill that we can check off the list. It's ever evolving, expanding and changing.
    I've definitely dog-eared the page that lists the nonverbal reasoning games! I can't wait to use these in my classroom. I loved how it was an expectation for the students to track the games they played and their levels as well. Maybe that is something that could be included in the data binder?

    It was wonderful at the end of the chapter where it says the students perspective was changed! Instead of seeing a difficult task and saying they couldn't do it they would talk about determination, motivation and persistence! That makes my heart happy to know these kids learned to believe in themselves!

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  14. These games look like a they could benefit our critical thinking environment. Critical thinking embraces three areas of focus, reasoning, making judgements/decisions, and problem solving. I loved the concept of critical thinking being embedded. We are all faced daily with situations that require critical thinking. Therefore, we need to provide strategies, skills, and opportunities to broaden critical thinking. On page 60 they talked about a teacher that would never had noticed the skill level of some of the students without the games, and motivation increased. I loved that the students were asking for harder stuff. Talking about setting their on goals, desires, and expectations.

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  15. The games sound great and could even provide the opportunity for students to record data as discussed on page 59 where students kept track of the games played and the levels attained using a game tracker:). What a great opportunity for PD in leaning "more instructional strategies to develop reasoning skills across all content areas," to assist us in embedding opportunities to reason within all of our lessons.

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  16. Games have always been a great way to motivate and encourage students to participate. I want these games mentioned because they moved it up several notches and brought in the critical thinking as well. Are there other games or companies like Thinkfun. Always nice to not have to reinvent the wheel.
    I keep recalling other brain research that may be old but I have used consistently in discussions with kids. Using the building of dendrites by connecting prior knowledge and connecting left side and ride side of brain through movement has included telling my students that they were strengthening their brain. I never said it or thought of it as getting "smarter" or changing "IQ". When we learned a math songs with movements we discussed that it was fun, yet also helped the brain strengthen connections. I see some better terminology and ways that will inspire kids to growth mindset rather than just learning a song and knowing it makes the brain stronger.

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  17. I loved the idea of tying the games in with the idea of growth mindset to really show the students how they were progressing. I will definitely be looking at the website to see what games I can utilize in my teacher as well as indoor recess. The examples of students being able to identify how they were making connections along with the games and using that as an anchor for teaching is a great way to motivate and have that solid connection.
    I also liked the idea of the non-verbal connections, students learning other ways to make connections and solve problems. I like using non-verbal games at the beginning of the year as team building activities.

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  18. I can't wait to check out the games! Chapter 4 made me think back to the students I taught at SMG- I would ask my students when they came to a part in an activity or solving a word problem that they felt was to hard and they wanted to opt out and quit trying was this question-how would you eat an elephant? Of course I would get some wild and crazy answers but the one answer I was looking for was - one bite at a time! And over the course of the year when we wanted to throw in the towel, this question and answer always came back around. I had to teach my first grade students how persevere and they amazed me with their, "Grit," every time!

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  19. Loved the games to increase mindset and motivation. Students are aware of brain connections!! "Neurons sticking together." After implementation of a growth mindset culture, teachers heard much less "I can't" and more "I'll keep trying." The tables with scores before critical thinking growth mindset vs. after are amazing.

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