Motivation Key #4: Boost Critical Thinking with Digital Learning Resources

Dip into this list of digital learning resources for concept-based activities, exit slip templates, posters, 5-minute formative assessment strategies, ideas to boost critical thinking, and loads of problem-solving opportunities. ---> NOTE: This is one of several Digital Learning Tool resource collections designed to support the 6 critical conditions that MUST be present in our teaching and learning environments in order to counter student misbehavior, apathy, and rebellion. Contact to schedule a training seminar for your school.

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For learners to feel COMPETENT and CAPABLE [Key #4], we must create an environment that promotes critical thinking, problem solving, development of personal expertise, and respect of mastery.

  • QUESTIONING:  The Heart of Critical Thinking
  • 4 Online Tools to leverage students' critical thinking and allow students to make sense of the content 
    1. ANALYZE THE CONTENT:  Pose a specific [provocative] question to prompt students to analyze the content.  Help them unpack the question or prompt to understand what it really means.  A Persuasion Map [ReadWriteThink]  helps students to describe their side of an arguable viewpoint and clarify the points they are going to argue. They can use the mapping tool to document REASONS and gather evidence from the text to support their argument. 
    2. EVALUATE THE CONTENT:  Use online tools to scaffold thinking as it relates to the question or the argument.  For example,  ReadWriteThink's Compare & Contrast Map tool can be used to make Whole-to-Whole, Similarities-to-Differences, or Point-to-Point Compare/Contrast Maps. 
    3. REAL-LIFE APPLICATION:  Use current news sources [Ripped From the Headlines] to apply the content to a real-world problem. This Discussion Rubric [Edutopia/KIPP] can guide conversations.
  • Classroom Instruction that Works, by Marzano:  Download a free PDF.
  •  Quickly assess every student on ANY device!
  • What are the 3 levels of understanding?  Go to page 7 in the Learning Guide for My Personality Code for the answer.  Revisit the 3 steps above after reading page 7.  
  • Students can use Zondle to create, play and share games to support any subject, any level, any language, anywhere.  This is one way to blend problem solving opportunities [game creation] with surface level activities like identifying, naming, describing, or listing information from the text.  Remember, surface AND deep understanding lead to conceptual understanding.
  • "Exit slips are one of the easiest ways to obtain information about students' current levels of understanding." -Robert Marzano  NBSS offers tons of free template ideas for exit slips, entry slips, door tickets, and passports.
  • What would this list be without Web tools matched to every level of Bloom's Revised Digital Taxonomy?
  • How to Create the Ultimate STUDY Playlist.
  • 27 Quick Ways to Determine "Did My Students Learn Anything?"
  • One of the most important understandings we need to have about each student is his or her ways of thinking.  Before teachers can help students to ‘construct‘ knowledge and understanding, they need to know the different ways in which students think.  (-John Hattie, Visible Learning for Teachers)   
  • Go to the set of tools in the PODL Profile and click on My Learning Personality Code to assess your different ways of thinking. Personality traits deeply influence a person’s preferred ways of behaving in many aspects of academic life.  For example, when someone uses My Personality Code and chooses between the letters [S] or [N], they may be telling us one of two things:
    • [S]  "I have a tendency to pay close attention to the little details 
      and facts.  It is difficult for me to see the big picture." 
    • [N]  "It is easier for me to see the big picture, the theory behind 
      something, or broad concepts. I tend to miss the little details and skim over important facts."
  • What are 6 ways students need to THINK of themselves and THINK of school in order to want to learn and in order to learn successfully?



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