The Book Fort

Instructional Ideas for Immediate Implementation

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Week Twenty Three: Critical Thinking in the Common Core Era

Whether or not you are a fan of the Common Core Standards, they are a part of the national standardization initiative. Having been a KY Core Advocate with Student Achievement Partners, I saw the benefits of college and career readiness standards, but it took many hours of training, deconstruction, and collaboration to wrap my head around implementation of the standards work in my own classroom. I wish I had read this book during my time in the classroom!


Solution Tree offers three of its rock star writers and consultants in How to Teach Critical Thinking within the Common Core Standards; all three have very practical, rich educational backgrounds rooted in the classroom. The suggestions are based upon great educational thinkers and practitioners like Marzano & Vygotsky. As such, the three-phase approach presented by the writers is pragmatic and useful, but also research-based.


The Three-Phase Model (pp 5-8) is reminiscent of I do, We do, You do, but a bit more specific:

Phase One: Talk-Through - Explicit Teaching Lesson (5)


  • The teacher explicitly presents the focus thinking skill, say analysis, in a formal lesson.
  • The lesson focuses on a key idea, well-developed scaffolding, strategic integration, assessment, and adequate time for reflection and review.
  • Metacognition is key.


Phase Two: Walk-Through - Classroom Content Lesson (6)


  • Students practice the skill with a teacher-led walk-through of the content-based lesson.
  • Facilitation of application of the skill in a grade-appropriate guided lesson.


Phase Three: Drive-Through - CCSS Performance Task Lesson (6-7)


  • Students apply their skill and content-knowledge to a performance task first in groups, then individually, to demonstrate learning in authentic ways.
  • Rigorous tasks and complex texts are the focus.


The brief summaries that follow are taken from the first six sections of the text that focus on various skills, but the few shared below are truly only a few. I chose one from each section that doesn’t tend to get the most airtime. If this appeals to you, please purchase the book and reap the benefits of the strategic lessons that incorporate this three-phase model. There are elementary, middle, and high school lesson samples included in each.


How to teach critical thinking within the common core: 7 key proficiencies of the new national standards. Bellanca, J.A., Fogerty, R.J., & Pete, B.A. (2012). Solution Tree: Bloomington, IN.

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Website of the Week

LivBits

If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I am a huge fan of this delightful, mighty girl, Olivia Van Ledtje. A 5th grader from New Hampshire, Liv is the youngest member of the Wonderopolis team of Ambassadors and I appreciate all of her sparkle, pizzazz, and heart. Among other things, Liv produces podcasts on which she interviews authors, she compiles lists of books grouped in various themes, she travels around the country sharing her Internet safety tips, and blogs, Tweets, and shares widely. Liv has 40K followers on Twitter, so if you’re not following her, start today @TheLivBits! In addition, Liv’s newest project is a digital book club using Padlet. The first book is Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time...perfect! I haven’t read it many years, so I’ve joined the club with Liv’s permission. Check it out today and read up on her website!
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Tool of the Week

KY GoDigital Learning Channel

If you need some PD in your PJ's while the snow and ice threaten to drive you nuts, check out the KY Go Digital YouTube page. You can learn all kinds of cool and practical skills for implementing digital learning in the school and classroom. Recent videos and tutorials include: Google Hangouts for study sessions, an SBDM blog, the Marco Polo app, Deck Toys for Classroom Interactivity, and EdPuzzle. Fill your snow days with learning!
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What Students Are Reading

World Read Aloud Day

World Read Aloud Day was this week on February 1st. I hope you spread the #booklove in your own classrooms and homes, but if not, check out #WorldReadAloudDay on Twitter to catch up! You will surely smile at all of the photos of students, teachers, parents, and community members engaging in read-alouds across the world. It fed my soul for sure!
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Kristie Hofelich Ennis, NBCT

In an effort to systematically study relevant research and stay connected to the teachers I greatly respect and with whom I have worked for years to successfully implement independent reading, this newsletter came about. It will offer research and practical ideas for quick implementation and may prompt further discussion or study with your colleagues. I hope you'll find it useful and thought-provoking; I also hope you will stay in touch if you implement any of the ideas with your students. They are, after all, why I do what I do!