Teaching Critical thinking skills is an important element to our children’s education. Dictionary.com defines critical thinking as the mental process of actively and skillfully conceptualizing, applying, analyzing, synthesizing, and evaluating information to reach an answer or conclusion. The ability to think critically is vital for test taking, problem solving, and general life skills. When your kids are faced with a problem, be it math, or situational, being able to look at it from all possible angles is constructive and beneficial to reaching a satisfying and appropriate resolution. So how do you teach kids to think critically?
One way to start your kids out early in this area is through Critical Thinking’s Building Thinking skills level 1. I have used this book with all 3 of my boys, and have found it a wonderful asset to our curriculum. The level 1workbook is over 300 pages and focuses on teaching critical thinking skills for reading, writing, math, and science. It contains higher order thinking activities such as logical thinking, similarities and differences, sequences, spatial awareness, vocabulary development, following directions, and much more.
You might think teaching this topic would be dry, but it’s anything but. Some of what you’ll find in this workbook is classifying and describing shapes. How is a rectangle look? Is it tall and narrow, short and wide? How many corners does a given shape have? How about following and giving directions – cross out the second and last square, or tic the second and fourth. How are shapes similar and different? How can shapes be classified? And that’s just shapes, there is a horde of fun activities that will help your child refine is higher level of thinking skills. One of our favorite sections is the name the animal/plant/place and occupation. A definition is given and the student must supply the answer. Example: This vehicle is used to take injured or sick people to the hospital, or this public worker delivers letters and packages to homes. Fairly easy to answer in the beginning, but gets more challenging as it progresses.
I believe this workbook combined with other critical thinking books I have used has helped my children considerably in both their test taking and communication skills.
I can highly recommend Building Thinking Skills and suggest you consider adding it to your curriculum package. The workbook can be purchased from the critical thinking website or through Amazon and retails for $29.99.