Active Thinking Strategy

Discussion in 'General Education' started by time out, Jul 25, 2012.

  1. time out

    time out Comrade

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    Jul 25, 2012

    I took a training today that had a small segment on Active Thinking - I think that's what it's called. It's when you have students justify their thinking (in writing) on test questions, typically multiple choice.

    Here's an example:

    Which one below is living?
    a) rock doesn't move or breathe
    b) frog breathes, eats and grows
    c) water moves but doesn't eat or grow

    The orange would be what the student would write. Now, I don't think this is very practical to do on every test item but maybe you could tell the students to pick one problem to do active thinking on or you could specify which one. Even better, you could give students a small slip of paper with one multiple choice problem and use it as a formative assessment.

    On a quick side note, I do often have my students justify their thinking verbally but have never tried it this way.

    This could be a great test-taking strategy where hopefully if they do it often enough, they will begin to naturally justify their thinking in their heads. What do you think about this strategy?
     
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  3. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Jul 26, 2012

    I think that this is great! It aligns with the common core on having students justify their thinking and use writing across the curriculum. I think you could definitely use this for a few questions on a multiple choice test (I would specify which ones though).

    Did the presenters give you a sample direction statement to use?
     
  4. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    Jul 26, 2012

    That is great! I will definitely be implementing that this year. Thanks for sharing!
     
  5. time out

    time out Comrade

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    Jul 26, 2012

    No, they just gave a quick summary and two example questions that we had to practice on. I think the most important thing is to model how to do it first.

    For the directions though, maybe you could write or say, Show active thinking on starred items.
     
  6. teach42

    teach42 Comrade

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    Jul 26, 2012

    This is a great idea. I always have my students do it verbally in class any time they answer a question anyway. Now I can get feedback from all the students if I use this method.
     
  7. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    Jul 26, 2012

    I model this for my students at the beginning of the semester and as we prepare for the final exam. I never thought about having them do it themselves! Thanks for sharing.
     
  8. trulyunic

    trulyunic Rookie

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    Jul 26, 2012

    Wow I like that! I can def use this in my FL class as another tool to check comprehension with reading selections
     
  9. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Jul 26, 2012

    I love that you would have them justify their answer-- that is really important! I use student probes in my classroom for science experiments and at the end we go over the probes and I have them check over their work. I actually wrote a blog entry about this today about what exactly I do-- you can read about it here if you're interested: http://sciencetrailstricks.blogspot.com/2012/07/book-review-uncovering-student-ideas-in.html

    It's a great way to make sure they're ACTUALLY learning what they need to learn and that they can justify their thinking not just by explaining it (reasoning it out) but also describing what they've done in class to prove their answer is correct.
     
  10. queenie

    queenie Groupie

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    Jul 26, 2012

    Love it! Thanks for sharing! I'll be sharing this with my coworkers =)
     
  11. time out

    time out Comrade

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    Jul 27, 2012

    BioAngel, I commented on your blog =)

    I think it's also important that you model how to write quick, to-the-point, justifications. I don't think this is the time to write lengthy explanations because if the students decide to adopt this as a test-taking strategy and they want to write down their justifications, they need to be able to do so quickly and efficiently.
     
  12. BioAngel

    BioAngel Science Teacher - Grades 3-6

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    Jul 27, 2012

    Thanks for the comment :wub:

    And I agree-- students need to learn that writing skill of "get to the point already" but I think we've all become very good at learning how to "beat around the bush" and make it sound like we know something on the matter when we probably really have only bits and pieces. When I give feedback on my student's work, I will sometimes cross out stuff and write "fluff"-- they understand that this means it is something that either is not needed in the writing or has already be stated some where else in the writing.

    Side note... When giving feedback to students, I go through a whole speech about how proud I am of my student's hard work and that I'm here to help them get better-- so if they see a lot of red marks it does not mean I don't think they're awesome students or that they're doing well-- it just means that I want them to get better at what they can already do. I've found having this discussion lets them know its okay to make mistakes-- just make sure you're learning from them. And even if it takes all of elementary school, middle school, and high school for them to get something, I'm still really proud of my kiddos :)
     

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