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Ways of Teaching Thinking
Thinking through Thinkpoints
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Action Guide for Thinking through ThinkPoints

  • Look for promising "Thinkpoints" in your curriculum - a place where a decision is made, evidence is evaluated, or a problem is identified. Use these opportunities to teach your students how to reason about the different kinds of points and topics.

  • Teach the skills of good thinking while helping students learn about the topic or issue at hand. Guide them by helping them to know what good thinkers do to think about the particular problem.

  • Occasionally, take time to explore thinkpoints that your students discover. It will encourage them to look for other thinkpoints.

  • Explore thinkpoints that are based on classroom interaction as well as those that are curriculum-based. It will help students see that opportunities for good thinking live all around them.

  • Choose thinkpoints that will deepen learning of topics that are most generative. For instance, a thinkpoint exploring a decision to emigrate to a new country or place or not is one that is faced in many contexts by many different people.

  • Vary the format for exploring thinkpoints. However, you probably will want to begin with a whole group exploration. At other times, you may wish to have students work in groups or individually.

  • It often helps to begin with the "big ideas" and then introduce connected issues as they arise. For instance, in decision-making with third graders, you might introduce open-ended wording of a question, or perhaps engage in seeking pro and con reasons. In the second exploration, you might introduce the concept of criteria, generate a useful and relevant set of decision making standards.

  • It's fine to come back to exploring a thinkpoint, either separating the exploration into parts or revisiting it as you learn new facts. You could assign one of the steps for homework.

  • Look for thinkpoints everywhere. Ask students to look for thinkpoints as they read novels, the newspaper, or their history text.


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© Al Andrade, Harvard Project Zero, 1999
The Thinking Classroom is based on the collective research
and ideas of the Cognitive Skills Group, Harvard Project Zero, 1999

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