Monday, 17 February 2020

Gathering Data - The Plan

For this year's inquiry to be effective, I want a really strong way of measuring any increases in ability to think critically.

1. Get all children in the class to comment on our class blog.
2. The rubric below is a development of the one from the previous blog post. Using the rubric below, mark each blog comment.

(click to enlarge)

3. I want to focus on any children who are working at level 1-2 on the critical thinking rubric above. Children at level 3 and above are already showing an ability to think critically. Those in level 1 and 2 have not yet made the jump to thinking critically.
4. Once I have found those children who are working at level 1-2 of the rubric, I will make these children my focus group. I will look at their reading and writing levels.
5. Through reading and writing, I will encourage the children to be more critical in their responses (written or spoken).

Some critical thinking strategies:
- Some good critical thinking prompts
- Critical thinking texts
- Tips for Teachers
- Depth of Knowledge Diagram

Resources to look into:
- The kid should see this
- Critical thinking brain boosters
- The critical thinking companion
- 40 lessons to get children thinking
- The If Machine

Monday, 10 February 2020

Inquiry for 2020!

This year, I want to continue focussing on critical thinking and interpersonal skills. Last year, the focus was on teaching children to be cybersmart. Through this, my class and I created a cybersmart clips site.

This year, I want to take a different approach to this focus in response to some interesting data which arose. In the two graphs below, you can see a clear correlation between reading level and the level of interpersonal skills and critical thinking in blog comments AND a between writing level and the level of interpersonal skills and critical thinking in blog comments. Children with higher reading or writing levels are also more able to show interpersonal skills and critical thinking in their blog comments.

What are my hunches/hypotheses?

A focus on teaching interpersonal skills and critical thinking through reading and writing, will result in an increase in levels of interpersonal skills and critical thinking when children comment on each others blogs online.

How might I test this?

I will need to do reading and writing tests during term 1 and then reading and writing tests during term 4.
I will need to get children commenting on each other's blogs throughout the whole year. I will need a consistent assessment tool to assess the quality of blog comments. I could use this rubric which I created last year as a start to my assessment tool. I think I will need to split this rubric to assess interpersonal skills and critical thinking separately.

What might teaching of critical thinking and interpersonal skills through reading and writing look like?

- Discussions around how characters or people might feel at different times throughout the text.
- Discussions around how students might respond at different times throughout the text - how might different actions cause different responses/outcomes?
- Letter writing to characters in texts; responding to letters written by characters from the text.
- Reading texts which might counteract each other/ create different view points.

- Adding detail in writing - getting the children consciously thinking about the detail they can add to their texts to support understanding on their audience - thinking about purpose and audience.
- Writing from different view points.
- Giving children provocations to discuss/ debate

Resources which might support this:
- Well thought out follow up tasks in reading
- Exciting, provocative writing tasks which encourage children to show empathy/thought towards others.
- Always beginning reading and writing by getting the children thinking about audience and purpose.

This website could be used to support children in a number of reading strategies.
TedEd is a young people's version of TedTalks. I haven't yet explored it in depth however, it does encourage young people to think deeply about what they see and read. Some topics will not be suitable for my children so I would be required to choose a topic for the children.
Behind the news
How stuff works