YOUR CHILD IS A BRAINIAC ! A Parent Guide for Building Thinking Skills

Your curious child is SSSSSSSSSSSSOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO eager to learn something NEW and enjoys accepting new responsibilities~YAY!!!!

Although s/he is beginning to display independence when attempting to solve problems and making decisions about choices, your youngster continues to need some guidance and prefers some structure in activities. S/he wants to be doing things “The Right Way”!

Continue to ask open-ended questions to satisfy her/his ongoing curiosity about EVERYTHING!!!!! (see & click on  A Short List of CT Questions) 

Occasionally, frustration may be an issue if “things don’t go as planned….”  However, invention & imagination are becoming strong partners in the Problem Solving arena. Encourage this skill for fewer “following the rules & regulations” meltdowns. You know….lemonade from lemons…..

Helping your child’s growth & development in learning & critical thinking skills will provide him/her with a valuable, life-long tool for creating many solutions to  life’s perplexing complexities.

A Few Teaching Strategies

Marlana Martinelli from weareteachers.com & Janelle Cox @ teachhub.com offer quite a few teaching strategies for promoting Critical Thinking skills. Although these ideas are meant for classroom teachers, your home environment, as your child’s first (and ongoing) classroom can utilize some of these suggestions quite effectively. You have probably been threading them informally during your interactive conversations for years!

As a way to help encourage the use of these strategies, I’ve combined and attempted to sequence them. Mixing them up and/or omitting some of them might work for you as well.

  • Brainstorm : an easy and effective way to get your youngster(s) thinking & interacting before beginning any activity is to ask a lot of questions about its possibilities
  • Connect : further the discussion by asking how the activity is relatable to other real-life activities or situations to help identify patterns, if there are any
  •  Classify & Categorize : ask what parts of the activity should go where will help organize thoughts and set up “rules”
  • Compare & Contrast : similar to categorizing, discuss how the activity is the same as and/or different from other relatable activities from the past
  • Role Play : when challenges happen within the activity, identify them, brainstorm solutions, choose one & write an “action plan”
  • Turn Around : list the positive & negative traits of a solution to a challenge within the activity, then, debate them & switch “sides”
  • Creativity : encourage your problem solver(s) to use past solutions & sequences to create a unique answer to the challenge
  • Step Back : this one’s a biggie and, perhaps the hardest~give the solvers time to experiment, re-try & work through the solution-solo, but keep asking questions during the process when additional challenges happen (if they do….)

How About A Little Home Class Activity?

If you want to make a “Classroom Activity” , you can always:

  • Post a Question of the Day or Week
  • Make a Response Box
  • Hold a Problem Solver Session

I created a “little” PDF List of questions ~real-life, make-believe & riddles~to help you get started with some how-to ideas.

Just click on this link:  Questions for Brain Food Menu

Using Critical Thinking Skills in Everyday Life

Here are a few everyday-life family situations that can prompt some “critical thinking skills” during the planning stages:

  • New Sibling Arrival
  • Daily Routines
  • Chore Assignments
  • Menus
  • Food purchases
  • Field Trips
  • Vacations
  • Road trips
  • Celebrations
  • Gift purchases
  • Clothing & Toy purchases
  • Family & Friend(s) Visits

More “Critical” Info

When you visit your child(ren)’s classroom at school, you may notice a poster with a brain and a LOT of words on it. More than likely, it is a Bloom’s Taxonomy List of Critical Thinking words to act as vocabulary cues for the teacher to use during instruction. These words are expected to become familiar in your child’s academic experience. I created an info-graphic for you to read with just a few of the words used in the “taxonomy” you probably already use at home during interactive conversations.

Here’s a brief history of how this Critical “tool”  came into existence to be used in K-12 classrooms all over the world.

In 1956 a team led by Dr. Benjamin Bloom, an educational psychologist, created a classified grouping of thinking skills to “promote higher forms of thinking in education for analyzing & evaluating concepts, processes, procedures & principles.”

Bloom's Taxonomy
Bloom’s Taxonomy

Need more information? Just click on the link below for more : http://www.criticalthinking.org/pages/elementary-educators-k-3/802/

Well now, feel like you’ve been critically acclaimed…..sorry, I’m such a pun-lover. Let me hear from you with any comments, questions, and/or tips to share.

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