We commissioned a lit review of all the models of critical thinking out there, from Dewey to Design Thinking. With our founding scholars, we abstracted all the cognitive “moves” we could identify that made up a broader, commonsense definition of “critical thinking.” So far, we’ve defined just over 100 of these critical thinking moves. It’s probably too much to brag that we’ve “decoded the Critical Thinking Genome,” but we’re saying it anyway.
We designed the same kind of normal critical reading, thinking, and writing activities you’d see in regular textbooks. But: we designed them in such a way that doing them would necessarily lead students to enact certain of those moves.
These are two actual screenshots, set-side-by-side from Jim Miller’s “You Are Already Rhetorical.” You may not be able to read everything, but you can kind of see how it works.
At the end of the activity, students are asked to “Stop and Think“–to take just a little bit of time to reflect on what it was they did–what moves they made, and how.
We’re trying to get students to recognize and then name their cognitive moves so they can start to transfer them to other situations, and be more deliberate about their thinking.
At the end of every lesson, students put those moves to good use on a little piece of writing that challenges them to be deliberate in how they think.
A “lesson” is about one night’s-worth of work–in a three week unit, there will be around 8-10 lessons.
P.S.: I know that paper in the picture isn’t in English, but I just really like the idea of the student writing with the rainbow quill.
and then finally finally
All the work that students did throughout the unit–especially those end-of-lesson writing exercises will add up towards their final papers.