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Creating and thinking critically


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Hi everyone!

 

Has anyone got any ideas to get my children creating and thinking critically?! Any innovative/ creative ideas that people have used that children love? Really trying to get my learners thinking critically!

 

Any ideas would be greatly appreciated! Thanks everyone!

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All of those statements from Shared Sustained Thinking or Conversations that Count

 

The following is from a paper given at a TACTYC conference in Austrailia:-

 

Tuning in listening carefully to what is being said, observing body language and what the child is doing.

 

Showing genuine interest: giving their whole attention to the child, maintaining eye contact, affirming, smiling, nodding.

 

Respecting children’s own decisions and choices by inviting children to elaborate saying things like ‘I really want to know more about this’ and

listening and engaging in the response.

 

Re-capping: ‘So you think that … ’

 

Offering the adult’s own experience: ‘I like to listen to music when I cook supper at home.’

 

Clarifying ideas: ‘Right Darren, so you think that this stone will melt if I boil it in water?’

 

Suggesting: ‘You might like to try doing it this way.’

 

Reminding: ‘Don’t forget that you said that this stone will melt if I boil it.’

 

Using encouragement to further thinking: ‘You have really thought hard about where to put this door in the palace – where will you put the windows?’

 

Offering an alternative viewpoint: ‘Maybe Goldilocks wasn’t naughty when she ate the porridge?’

 

Speculating: ‘Do you think the three bears would have liked Goldilocks to come to live with them as their friend?’

 

Reciprocating: ‘Thank goodness that you were wearing wellington boots when you jumped in those puddles Kwame. Look at my feet, they are soaking

wet!’

 

Asking open questions: ‘How did you … ?’ ‘Why does this ... ?’ ‘What happens next?’ ‘What do you think?’ ‘I wonder what would happen if … ?’

 

Modelling thinking: ‘I have to think hard about what I do this evening. I need to take my dog to the vet because he has a sore foot, take my library books

back to the library and buy some food for dinner tonight. But I just won’t have time to do all of these things.’

 

Using positive questioning

‘I don’t know, what do you think?’

‘That’s an interesting idea.’

‘I like what you have done there.’

‘Have you seen what X has done – why?’

‘I wondered why you had … ?’

‘I’ve never thought about that before.’

‘You’ve really made me think.’

‘What would happen if we did … ?’

 

Making-sense words

I think

I agree

I imagine

I disagree

I like

I don’t like

I wonder

 

This material comes from Professor Iram Siraj-Blatchford’s presentation on Quality Interactions in the Early Years

 

 

Other strategies used in the High/Scope program that can help support sustained shared conversations include:

 

Repeat/use children’s words – restate.

Be active about introducing new and interesting words to children.

Limit questioning – sometimes it makes children feel as if they are being quizzed.

Encourage children to describe their efforts, ideas and products.

Use encouragement rather than praise – too much praise can be insidious in that it can make children dependent on it.

 

When using praise, be specific – focus on children’s actions and what they are doing rather than whether the adult is pleased. Rather than saying ‘that’s

a lovely painting’ try something like ‘I wonder how you made all of the layers of colour in this corner’ – this sort of approach shows the teachers real

interest and leads to natural conversation.

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one of the things you might like to try is the secret parcel game to start the thinking process! you wrap something in paper and you pass it round. The children are encouraged to tell you something about it (its smooth/ heavy etc etc) then they have to guess what it is. The next time you play something is in a box wrapped up They have to ask you questions about it (you may have to model this with the adults first) you can add lots of critical thinking info into the process......so the it's an elephant answers, are answered with the ...really why do you think that? etc etc It's quite a good exercise for the adults to change the way they word questions so as not to stop the conversations. So the answer to the elephant question should not be Really but wouldn't he be too big...because the answer is likely to be yes and the conversation stops!

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