Let's Give Them Something to Think About

 

Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason why so few engage in it.

                                               -Henry Ford

 

WOW! That’s a hard pill to swallow but ironically, it does make you think! How many times in the past 24 hours have you said the word “think” either to yourself or to somebody else? Put your thinking cap on…, Think about it…, What was I thinking... Let me think about it and I’ll get back to you…, Let me think out loud… are just a few examples to get you to think!  We use the word “think” several times on a daily basis.  

 

I’ve had the opportunity to delve into the new English language arts & reading (ELAR) standards that will be fully implemented in our Texas public schools next school year, and one of the main words that stands out in the introductory paragraph is THINK!

The English language arts and reading Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) embody the interconnected nature of listening, speaking, reading, writing, and thinking… (Updated ELAR TEKS Introduction).

 

So knowing this, it is our responsibility to teach our children to be thinkers.

Step 3 of Powerful Interactions, discusses extending the learning, and one of the 10 strategies is to Help Children See Themselves as Thinkers. We do that by:

  • Making them more aware of their own thinking:

    •  When they are young, they are not always aware of what is going on in their brain, so ask: “What are you thinking?”, “What’s going on in your mind?”

  • Calling attention to the thinking of others:

    •  When you tell them what you are thinking or encourage other children to share their thinking, young children begin to learn that different people think in different ways. “Here’s what I think.”, "Let’s find out what Bobby thinks about that.”

  • Inviting them to explain their thinking out loud:

    • This helps clarify the thoughts and ideas that are floating around in their head. “Tell me what you are thinking.”, “Explain your thinking so we can understand your ideas.”

  • Encouraging them to think in new ways:                                                                

    • With adult guidance, children’s thinking will be more sophisticated and complex. “How did you figure that out?”, “What do you believe about that?”

By teaching this strategy at an early age, these children will be natural thinkers. Our hope is that even though thinking is hard work, our children will engage in it.

 

Dombro, A.L., Jablon, J. & Stetson, C. (2011). Powerful Interactions. Washington, DC: National Association for the Education of Young Children. 

 

 

 

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Training Spotlight

1st-3rd grade educators worked together to learn engaging ways to develop number sense. Students will develop fact fluency while playing games that use their number sense strategies. By learning their facts in this way, students are not merely memorizing, but rather learning to work with numbers flexibly.  “Low achievers are often low achievers not because they know less but because they don’t use numbers flexibly – they have been set on the wrong path, often from an early age, of trying to memorize methods instead of interacting with numbers flexibly.” Jo Boaler,  Stanford University, 2009

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