Monthly Archives: September 2020

The Impact of Critical Thinking on Society

 

This week’s Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT tackled the issue of the impact of critical thinking on society. Our guest was Colin Seale, founder of thinkLaw and author of Thinking like a Lawyer. Colin Seale is an educator, attorney, and critical thinking expert. He founded thinkLaw, an award-winning organization, to help educators leverage inquiry-based instructional strategies that can close the critical thinking gap and ensure they teach and reach all students. Colin is a contributor to Forbes, Education Post, and The 74.

Critical thinking embodies the ability to recognize and challenge assumptions, understand context in a given situation, a willingness to work through complexities and change when faced with evidence contrary to one’s own view. It encompasses compare and contrast; sequencing; and analysis and assessment of ideas. Critical thinking can be formed through Socratic questioning, PBL, identifying ‘big’ ideas, and by listening to student voice and then providing feedback.

We are living in unprecedented times where society is faced with complex problems, disinformation, anti-intellectualism, a lack of social justice, and inequitable laws; all over-shadowed by an uncontrolled, global Pandemic. Critical thinking skills provide greater problem-solving ability, increased rigor in classrooms that lead to higher test scores, self-discipline, ability to think clearly, and to deal effectively with change. Critical thinking skills lead to valuing and respecting the ideas of fellow citizens, empathy, more creativity, and a well-functioning democracy.

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If critical thinking is so important, why aren’t students exposed to it more in school? Critical thinking leads learners to independent thinking, questioning the status quo, consideration of opposing points of view, and the potential to adopt new ways of thinking. Change is hard. How we educate our children has changed little in over a century. Exposing students to critical thinking requires institutions to consider alternative ways of doing things. It requires not just change, but smart change. Today’s classrooms are generally viewed as authoritarian filled with students who complain of boredom and question the value of education. We need to move to a forum where students are cognitively challenged to facilitate critical thinking.

In “Thinking Like a Lawyer,” Colin argued access to critical thinking paves the road to equity and racial justice. How can schools improve access to critical thinking instruction? Schools should allow time for deep dives into topics and student reflection. Elimination of relentless repetition and requiring accuracy in outcomes would be especially beneficial for GT students. Improving teacher preparation at the undergraduate level and ongoing professional development on how to teach critical thinking skills could increase the number of students who gain these skills. The simple reduction in the amount of standardized testing prevalent in schools today will allow teachers the time to refocus learning away from rote memorization and teaching to the test.

Online resources that provide a forum for discussion, small group activities as well as peer review activities can aid in integrating critical thinking skills into the curriculum. Many of these forums are already in use for remote learning such as Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and Google Docs. Online tools that facilitate reflection activities such as Canvas are widely in current use by schools. Digital Storytelling tools include Weebly, Edublogs, and Storybird.

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How can parents help their children develop critical thinking skills? Parents are their child’s first teacher; the first line of defense of continuing societal norms. Critical thinking can be nurtured by engaging in deep, meaningful conversation with children accompanied by honest feedback. They should encourage their child to reflect on their own thoughts, to embrace experiences they may see as difficult, and to see failure as a pathway to growth.

A transcript of this chat can be found at Wakelet.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at Noon NZST/10 AM AEST/1 AM UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Wakelet. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Lisa Conrad About the authorLisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at  Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gmail.com

Resources:

Thinking Like a Lawyer: A Framework for Teaching Critical Thinking to All Students (book) | Colin Seale

Teaching Critical Thinking Skills to Fourth Grade Students Identified as Gifted and Talented (Google Doc)

Fostering Critical Thinking in Children and K-12 Students

A Deceptively Simple Strategy for Promoting Critical Thinking | Edutopia

Starting Critical Thinking and Collaboration Early (YouTube 4:01) | Edutopia

5 Ways to Boost Critical Thinking in World Language Classes | Edutopia

Preparing Social Studies Students to Think Critically in the Modern World | Edutopia

Help Students Develop Critical Thinking Online and in the Classroom (Webinar – free registration req’d) | Free Spirit Publishing

Teaching Critical Thinking Skills in the Online Classroom

Using Technology to Develop Students’ Critical Thinking Skills

26 Critical Thinking Tools Aligned With Bloom’s Taxonomy (pdf)

Copyright and Creativity for Ethical Digital Citizens: Resources for Teaching Copyright and Fair Use

Poynter Institute – MediaWise: How to Sort Fact from Fiction Online

Book Excerpt: ‘Thinking Like a Lawyer’ Explores How to Close the Critical Thinking Gap for All Students |  Colin Seale

Why I Wrote ‘Thinking Like a Lawyer’: Because Teaching Critical Thinking to All Students Paves a Path to Racial Justice | Colin Seale

A Society with Poor Critical Thinking Skills: The Case for ‘Argument’ in Education

What are the Importance and Benefits of “Critical Thinking Skills”?

Thinking Critically and Critical Thinking: Integrating Online Tools to Promote Critical Thinking

Critical Thinking: What It Means and How to Foster it in Your Children | International School of Denver

Critical Thinking in Education

The Power of Critical Thinking: Effective Reasoning about Ordinary and Extraordinary Claims 6th Edition (book)

Critical Thinking in Everyday Life

Building Empathy Through Critical Thinking

Making Critical Thinking Matter – Prioritizing Higher Order Instruction in a World of Constraints

Strategies for Teaching Critical Thinking

How to Foster Critical and Creative Thinking

Thinking Like a Lawyer: A Framework for Teaching Critical Thinking to All Students (Webinar 39:51) | Vimeo

Cybraryman’s Critical Thinking Page

The Case For Critical Thinking: The COVID-19 Pandemic And An Urgent Call To Close The Critical Thinking Gap In Education | Forbes

Sometimes the Outcome Is the Equity: Why It’s Critical to Prepare Students of Color to Do Well on Standardized Tests — Even If You’re Not a Fan | Colin Seale

Richard Feynman on Education in Brazil

The Educational Equity Equation Series | thinkLaw

Image courtesy of Pixabay  Pixabay License

Images courtesy of Colin Seale and thinkLaw

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

 

Resources for Teaching GT Kids at Home

Traditional classrooms rarely meet the full needs of GT students. Parents may be surprised at how many hours their children spent in the back of the room reading during periods of remediation for others. Rather than try to recreate ‘school at home’, parents should strive to provide their children with a broad range of learning options beyond worksheets, book reports, and standardized tests. Parents should not shy away from considering opportunities for acceleration such as curriculum compacting (finishing work at their own pace), above grade-level work, and dual enrollment where available.

Virtual learning can be an excellent conduit for connecting students with intellectual peers and mentors via online opportunities. Parents can reach out to authors, scientists, and professionals in their child’s area of interest. Enrichment activities such as book clubs with other GT students, virtual field trips, and connecting globally with peers online will increase student engagement. Parents should seek their child’s input and encourage them to be self-directed/autonomous learners. Parents and mentors act as facilitators.

There is a certain amount of choice surrounding home learning that can be beneficial for GT students. When they’re able to complete assignments on their own schedule, it’s a great time to allow them to immerse themselves in their passions. When parents and/or mentors are available, GT students should be encouraged to ask questions (lots of questions!) and guided to resources that may answer them. Undertaking a collegiate approach to learning which encompasses the liberal arts is a way to help students gain additional benefits from their time out of the classroom.

Many of the tools used traditionally by schools can also be used at home. Cost may become an issue and should be factored into the decision about which tools to use. There are many free tech tools available to facilitate home learning such as Khan Academy, Google Meet, Zoom, and Microsoft Teams. Tech tools/websites that parents can use at home for their GT kids include Think Math, Wonderopolis, KenKen Puzzles, Brains On! (podcast), Scholastic Learning from Home, Smithsonian Learning Lab, and PBS LearningMedia.

A transcript of this chat may be found at Wakelet.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at Noon NZST/10 AM AEST/1 AM UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Wakelet. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Lisa Conrad About the authorLisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at  Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gmail.com

 

Resources:

G/T Resources for School Closures | TAGT

Teaching Gifted Students at Home | WVU Today

Virtual Instruction for Gifted Students | NAGC

Profoundly Gifted Students’ Perceptions of Virtual Classrooms | Gifted Child Quarterly

The Impact of COVID-19, School Closure, and Social Isolation on Gifted Students’ Wellbeing and Attitudes toward Remote (Online) Learning

2020 AIG Remote Learning Resources | NC Department of Public Education

PreK-12 Enrichment & Educational Resources | NAGC

EU: Talent Point in Action: “Wind at the Back” (pdf) | European Talent Support Network

The Impact of Unplanned School Closure on Children’s Social Contact: Rapid Evidence Review

Online Learning – Supporting Gifted Children at Home | Arlington Public Schools

Support for Gifted Learners at Home during COVID-19 | Colorado Department of Education

Coping With the Stress of COVID-19: Tips for Families with Gifted Children (YouTube 9:13) | Dr. Ed Amend

At-home Learning Resources for Kids | MENSA for Kids

Five Essential Guidelines for Helping your Child during This Global Crisis (blog)| Gifted Challenges

Resources for Educators & Parents during COVID-19 | NAGC

3 Top Strategies for Helping Your Child Cope with Anxiety During Challenging Times (YouTube 20:09) | Michele Kane

COVID-19 and Anxiety in Gifted Children | NAGC

Teach from Anywhere – Families

Learning at Home Resources: Ideas for Teachers and Parents

Online G3

GHF Learners

Stanford Online Classes

Medieval Helpdesk with English Subtitles (YouTube 2:44)

OpenStax

UT- Austin: Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Life Moody College of Communication Speak Up Speak Out

MIT Open Courseware

MIT Open Courseware: OCW Educator Portal

National Archives: Educator Resources

United States Census Bureau: Statistics in School

PHET | University of Colorado – Boulder

Vizit Solutions: Gauss’s Law Concepts

Vizit Solutions: Visualization Catalog

Vizit Solutions: A Particle in a Box

Image courtesy of Pixabay Pixabay License

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad.

Transitioning to Blended (In-School/Remote) Learning

 

What does blended learning look like in the era of #COVID19? Schools are offering both in-school and online learning as well as full-time online options. Students may be separated into two or more groups to reduce in-person class size and each group attends class on alternate days of the week.

Many teachers have experienced feeling isolated due to remote learning. COVID 19 has affected everyone; disrupted the lives of students, teachers and parents. It needs a community response. No one can succeed alone. This school year must be kept in perspective; seeing opportunities to improve education for the future rather than lamenting the role coronavirus has played in changing how we educate children. Isolation can lead to loneliness. Teachers should make an effort to intentionally keep connected with colleagues, family and friends. Self-care and maintaining mental health should be a priority.

What strategies can be employed to engage reluctant remote learners? Before attempting to engage reluctant remote learners, educators need to address why a student has chosen to disengage. Similar to engaging students in the classroom, building relationships is the first step to engagement. It is also the beginning of individualizing and personalizing learning for the student. Relationships should go beyond teacher-student relationships and consider the importance of strong peer-relationships which will ultimately draw students in to participate more fully in class discussions and projects.

Unlike the disruptions that result from natural disasters or calls for social change, the unique challenge of a national health emergency requires specific initiatives directly related to the public health of students and staff. Response to the coronavirus requires a two-pronged approach directed at both the physical (social distancing, PPE, school nurses) and mental health (school psychologists, school counselors, social workers). It is of the upmost importance that schools take measures to deep-clean classrooms and all facilities on a periodic basis. Such things as ventilation systems and aging school buildings must be addressed.

The social-emotional needs of GT students during the era of #COVID19 can and must be given serious consideration. In many cases, it may even be easier than it was prior to the current crisis. Remote learning has actually been a better ‘fit’ for many GT students. It has become easier to interact with intellectual peers; provided time to work on passion projects; and opened opportunities to connect with mentors. Acceptance of asynchronous learning can boost a GT student’s ability to become a self-directed learner; to forego the boredom from tedious hours in a classroom that didn’t meet their academic needs.

Blended learning provides a flexible framework of differentiation for GT students. Instruction can be individualized, new material can be processed independently, and real academic growth can be assessed through mastery. Differentiation strategies can involve project-based learning, self-directed learning, and mastery-based learning.

A transcript of this chat can be found at Wakelet.

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at Noon NZST/10 AM AEST/1 AM UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Wakelet. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Lisa Conrad About the authorLisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at  Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gmail.com

 

Additional Online/Tech Resources:

Learning Management Systems:

Google Classroom

Schoology

Canvas

Seesaw

Classcraft (supports gamification)

Blackboard

Video Conferencing:

Zoom

Microsoft Teams

Google Meet

Video Recording:

Screencast-O-Matic

Screencastify

General:

Teach from Anywhere

InferCabulary

Edutopia

 

Resources:

Blended Learning in the Age of COVID-19 | EdWeek

What Does Blended Learning Look Like in a Distance Learning Environment? | EdWeek

12 Of The Most Common Types Of Blended Learning

How to Make Teaching Online Feel Less Isolating | Edutopia

Connecting with Reluctant Remote Learners | Edutopia

What are the effects of remote, blended learning on kids?

How to Teach Online/Blended Learning – Grab & Go Resources | Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction

Finding Success in a Blended Learning Environment

8 Teachers Reflect on the Start of the New School Year | Edutopia

Creating Moments of Genuine Connection Online | Cult of Pedagogy

Distance Education: A Systems View 2nd Edition (book)

The Indicators of Instructor Presence that are Important to Students in Online Courses | Journal of Online Learning and Teaching

The Difference Between Emergency Remote Teaching and Online Learning

Award-Winning Faculty Online Teaching Practices: Elements of Award-Winning Courses | Online Learning Journal

Designing Digital Teaching Media for Millennial Teachers: Trends and Sense | Research Gate

K-12 Crowdsourced Resources (pdf)

Preface: Reflections on the Waves of Emerging Learning Technologies | Educational Technology Research and Development

3 Ways to Deepen Student Engagement in Online Discussions | Edutopia

5 Ways to Build Connections with Students Online | Edutopia

What is Blended Learning?

Cybraryman’s Blended/Hybrid Learning Page

Cybraryman’s SEL and More Page

Cybraryman’s Differentiation Page 

 

Photo courtesy of Pixabay  Pixabay License

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

Cultivating Intellectual Curiosity

 

Intellectual curiosity embodies a deep, persistent feeling of needing to know about what interests you. It helps to ensure the growth of our species; that we advance as a society. Intellectual curiosity leads to acquiring knowledge through observation and exploration. It can include curiosity about how systems work, mathematical relationships, the nature of language, and societal norms. A child’s intellectual curiosity is especially important for language and vocabulary development as they use it to describe what they are thinking. Curiosity helps children to understand the world around them.

To me, intellectual curiosity is the ability to ask “why,” and the constant desire to find the answer, and the general refusal to accept that there isn’t an answer. ~ David Walrod, a math and special education teacher with Fairfax, Virginia, and a PhD student at George Mason University-Educational Leadership.

Neuroscience has suggested that through evolution the brain responds to new experiences with the release of dopamine and other chemicals to create positive feelings about discovery of new things. Intellectual curiosity appears to make the brain more receptive to learning and thus an enjoyable experience. When intellectual curiosity leads to varied interests and how they interconnect, problem solving can be enhanced.

Intellectual curiosity is both a gift and a mindset. Babies are insatiably curious. Humans are wired for curiosity and learning. The trick is to keep that burning for knowledge and input alive and fanned throughout the lifespan. It’s a thirst for knowledge. ~ Jackie Drummer, Past President WI Association for Talented & Gifted, National SENG trainer, facilitator, online facilitator, certified coach, and Professional Development Specialist.

While most young children are naturally inquisitive and curious about the world around them; unfortunately many lose that curiosity as they grow older. It is particularly distressing when we see this in our GT kids. Oftentimes, loss of intellectual curiosity is not the result of factors within the individual’s control. Children who are unable to focus or stay on task are most vulnerable. It’s important for adults to understand that children’s intellectual curiosity can be extinguished by lack of encouragement to explore new things or through early criticism of being too curious.

“All thinking begins with wonder.” -Socrates

Intellectual curiosity looks like wonder, passion, and questioning, all of which are sometimes labeled as distractedness and daydreaming (and are too seldom celebrated in classrooms). ~ Kathryn Fishman-Weaver, Ph.D., Educator, Author, Interim Executive Director at Mizzou Academy, University of Missouri, College of Education.

When teachers model intellectual curiosity in the classroom, students learn the importance of asking questions and understand that it’s okay to admit they don’t know all the answers. This is especially important for GT students. Intellectual curiosity can be encouraged by asking questions which are thought provoking; questions that call for critical thinking; questions that aren’t covered on standardized tests. Intellectual curiosity should be valued and rewarded in the classroom. Students can be encouraged to be skeptical by questioning what they hear and see on social media. Strategies like PBL or Genius Hour can promote curiosity.

In the era of #COVID19, it’s critical that parents realize the importance of nurturing intellectual curiosity at home. With the overwhelming burdens faced by families, it’s easy to seek the least demanding forms of education. Even in the best of times, a child’s inquisitive nature can try a parent’s patience. However, it’s important to restrain from being dismissive of those ‘why’ and ‘how’ questions. Interests and passions should be encouraged at every turn. Parents can nurture their child’s intellectual curiosity by providing resources that help them discover their own answers. Availing library resources online, nature walks, and virtual field trips are inexpensive and productive.

How can intellectual curiosity contribute to success in life? Intellectual curiosity is a leading indicator of effective leadership, worker productivity, and level of career success. Cultivating intellectual curiosity increases career growth and development and the sooner this is realized, the greater the growth.

A transcript of this chat may be found at Wakelet.

TEMPO+ is now LIVE! TEMPO+ is your resource for gifted education articles, templates, lesson plans, video presentations, and more! Join the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented as a member or eSubscriber to get full access to member only content! tempo.txgifted.org

Global #gtchat Powered by the Texas Association for the Gifted and Talented  is a weekly chat on Twitter. Join us Thursdays at 8E/7C/6M/5P in the U.S. and Fridays at Noon NZST/10 AM AEST/1 AM UK  to discuss current topics in the gifted community and meet experts in the field. Transcripts of our weekly chats can be found at Wakelet. Our Facebook Page provides information on the chat and news and information regarding the gifted community. Also, checkout our Pinterest Page and Playlist on YouTube.

Lisa Conrad About the authorLisa Conrad is the Moderator of Global #gtchat Powered by TAGT and Social Media Manager of the Global #gtchat Community. She is a longtime  advocate for gifted children and also blogs at  Gifted Parenting Support. Lisa can be contacted at: gtchatmod@gmail.com

Resources:

4 Reasons Why Curiosity is Important and How to Develop It

Encouraging Intellectual Curiosity

Why Curiosity Enhances Learning | Edutopia

Curiosity is Critical to Academic Performance | Science Daily

The Hungry Mind — Intellectual Curiosity Is the Third Pillar of Academic Performance | ResearchGate

Curiosity Can Predict Employees’ Ability to Creatively Solve Problems | Science Daily

States of Curiosity Modulate Hippocampus-Dependent Learning via the Dopaminergic Circuit | Neuron

How Curiosity Changes the Brain to Enhance Learning | Science Daily

Encouraging Curiosity in Preschoolers: Here’s What to Know

Curiosity: The Force within a Hungry Mind | Edutopia

How Are Curious People Viewed and How Do They Behave in Social Situations? From the Perspectives of Self, Friends, Parents, and Unacquainted Observers | ResearchGate

Why Young Children Are Curious | Scholastic

Six Surprising Benefits of Curiosity

All Knowledge Starts with Curiosity | Thrive Global

Why Curiosity Matters | Harvard Business Review

How to Maximize Curiosity | Medium

Why Did the Wright Brothers Succeed When Others Failed? | Scientific American

Bill Gates: High Schoolers Should Cultivate 1 Skill to Thrive in 2030 and Beyond | Inc.

Tickling Curiosity | Byrdseed

Curiosity 1: Anticipation and Dopamine | Byrdseed

UK: Why? Why Not? The Magic of Intellectual Curiosity | Henley Business School Reading University

The Death of Intellectual Curiosity

5 Ways Cultivating Intellectual Curiosity Can Improve Your Elicitation Skills

Developing Intellectual Curiosity | Virginia Wesleyan University

The Power of Curiosity

Intellectual Curiosity | Psychology Today

Cybraryman’s Intellectual Curiosity Page

Cybraryman’s Questioning Techniques Page

Image courtesy of Pixabay  Pixabay License

Graphic courtesy of Lisa Conrad

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