Actively engage and create higher order thinking!
Guest Post by: The Teacher
All too often it is heard during the era of education that our students are not prepared to answer and handle questions or work that are of higher level thinking. Looking at Bloom’s taxonomy of questioning, you have six levels, the first three which are of lower level thinking, but the last three which are of higher order thinking (comes from Primary Education Oasis)
1. *Remembering: who, what, when, where, why, etc.
2. *Understanding: What statements support, what is the main idea, etc.
3. *Applying: How could you demonstrate, What example can you find, etc.
4. *Analyzing: What are the similarities between, can you make two or more categories, etc.
5. *Evaluating: What would the consequences be if, what will the influence of something be, etc.
6. *Creating: How many ways can you, can you compose a song, etc.
The common goal of most teachers in my general area is to have everything our students do be in the last 3-4 levels of questioning. A noble and great idea, but it can hamper the normal teaching and use of worksheets because they are mindless, require no actual thinking, and are very easy to just rush through and be unengaged. So how do you correct this?
It is very easy to adapt or create worksheets that are engaging, fun, and higher level thinking. There are three easy steps to Kick up your worksheet:
1. Involve some kinesthetic movement to your worksheet.
2. Make it totally creative instead of completive.
3. Make it fun! Would you enjoy doing this?
How do you add some kinesthetic movement into your worksheet? Well take a look at some pictures of what I have done in the past in my second grade classroom:
With this worksheet, the child has to cut, manipulate, read, and paste in order to complete this simple task which deals with Main idea and supporting details. By doing this you find more students can complete this easier because they can manipulate and place each choice in each main idea box and identify key words and use of higher level thinking.
How do you make an activity creative instead of completive? Well for starters instead of having the students read a story and then write a summary from a worksheet in the provided space, have the students read a book and create a summary organizer which allows for the student to draw a picture as well.
In this picture you can see you take the three major components in our curriculum that are needed for a narrative summary. Characters, problem, and solution by using 1 sheet of printer paper, fold it almost in half hotdog style. Fold into three equal parts, cut up on the top flap. Then write the students name, title of book and author and record the three components of a summary.
On the inside of the flap have the student draw a picture of what they recorded for character, problem and solution to help stick the information.
Lastly, have the students write the actual summary on the wide blank empty space.
Lastly, how do you make it fun? Well consider the following activity: organize your spelling words into ABC order and write a sentence for each word. Boring, but important for each child to complete and be competent to do. So instead of doing the above, try this:
Using a excel or other type of program to create a list of words side by side that students can cut apart, have them cut and paste their words in ABC order on the front side of the paper. On the back side of the paper have the students take half of the words on their list and write a sentence for those words. After they write the sentence have the students illustrate their sentence for a simple check of their understanding of the words.
In short, try to make your worksheets a bit more engaging, fun, and enjoyable so the students are better engaged and so that you can create a Thinksheet and not a worksheet.