Her charts name the components of each routine and has a place for students to record when they've used it and what they have figured out about the routine.
By using this structure with a chart that can be added to throughout the year, students see the routines as broadly applicable across disciplines and are able to refine their application over time.
While the idea of teaching critical thinking has been bandied around in education circles since at least the time of John Dewey, it has taken greater prominence in the education debates with the advent of the term "21st century skills" and discussions of deeper learning.
There is increasing agreement among education reformers that critical thinking is an essential ingredient for long-term success for all of our students.
They are not intended to be high stakes accountability measures.
Instead, they are designed to give students, teachers, and school leaders discrete formative data on hard to measure skills.The flexibility of the routine has allowed us to apply it from preschool through 8th grade and across disciplines from science to economics and from math to literacy.Kathryn Mancino, a 5th grade teacher at Two Rivers, has deliberately taught three of our thinking routines to students using the anchor charts above (click to view a larger size of each image).The second criticism is that critical thinking skills are always highly contextual.In this argument, the critics make the point that the types of thinking that students do in history is categorically different from the types of thinking students do in science or math.Meaning that a student cannot think critically if they don't have something substantive about which to think. Students do need a robust foundation of core content knowledge to effectively think critically.Schools still have a responsibility for building students' content knowledge.Consequently, we have found that to teach a set of cognitive skills, we needed thinking routines that defined the regular application of these critical thinking and problem-solving skills across domains.Building on Harvard's Project Zero Visible Thinking work, we have named routines aligned with each of our constructs. Teachers then were able to teach students that whenever they were making an argument, the norm in the class was to use the routine in constructing their claim and support.With this in mind, we have developed a series of short performance tasks around novel discipline-neutral contexts in which students can apply the constructs of thinking.Through these tasks, we have been able to provide an opportunity for students to demonstrate their ability to transfer the types of thinking beyond the original classroom setting.