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Posts tagged ‘critical thinking’

Only Social Studies in the Building. Using podcasts as teaching tools

I know I’m not the only one who’s waiting to find out the ending to Season Two, Only Murders in the Building. A True Crime show about a True Crime podcast? With Steve Martin? What could be better?

Even if you’re not an #OMITB fan, I’m guessing that you’re probably following at least one or two actual podcasts. Perfect for anywhere, anytime learning and listening, podcasts can also be great additions to your social studies classroom.

Why podcasts?

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5 mistakes your kids make while thinking historically. (And how you can fix them.)

A big part of what I do every week involves spending time with teachers, especially social studies teachers, leading and having conversations around best practice, instruction, and assessment. And it’s almost always the best part of the week.

Think about it. I get the chance to sit and nerd out with other social studies people talking about our favorite history stuff. I know. It’s awesome.

A lot of our recent conversations have focused on the soon to be released Kansas state social studies assessment. At its most basic level, the assessment will ask kids to solve a problem using evidence and communicate the solution. This assumes, obviously, that the kid will have acquired some historical and critical thinking skills somewhere along the way.

And the more I get the chance to work with our current standards and the planned assessment, the more I realize that we need to do more than just train students to start thinking in certain ways. We also need to train them to stop thinking in other ways. We want them to be able to source and contextualize evidence. We want them to read and write effectively. These are useful skills.

But there are also ways of thinking that can slow that process down and even grow into habits that can lead to ineffective (and perhaps dangerous) citizens.

I recently ran across an article on my Flipboard feed that specifically addresses these ineffective and potentially dangerous habits. Posted by Lee Watanabe-Crockett over at the Global Digital Citizen, the article highlights both problems and solutions. You’ll want to head over there to get the full meal deal but because Lee focuses more on generalities than things specific to social studies and history, I’ve given you just a little taste below: Read more

Brainstorming is a waste of time. Try this instead

We’ve been a part of it. We’ve all used it. And we’ve probably all noticed that it really doesn’t work very well.

Brainstorming sounds like a good strategy. Generate new ideas. Encourage creativity. Engage lots of people all at once. In theory, it makes all sorts of sense.

But in practice, it usually falls flat.

Brainstorming was first introduced by Alex Osborn, an ad man in the 1950s. And it’s been used by millions of people, including educators. The problem?

There’s a ton of evidence that suggests that brainstorming actually harms creativity. A recent article by Jonah Lehrer in The New Yorker highlights study after study that found individuals generate more ideas on their own than in groups.

A meta-analytic review says that we’re more likely to develop better ideas when we don’t interact with others. Brainstorming is particularly more likely to limit creativity in larger groups, when teams are too closely supervised, and when performance is oral rather than written.

Why? Read more

Helping your kids find their bliss

It was the perfect storm this morning as print smacked head on into digital. The most recent issue of Wired magazine includes an article titled The Power of Boredom. And my Flipboard highlighted a post from Brain Pickings called How to Find Your Bliss: Joseph Campbell on What It Takes to Have a Fulfilling Life. I’ve written a bit about this before but the intersection of these two articles resurrected the idea that we need to intentionally plan time away from tech, to find a quiet space, to be bored every once in a while. Why? Because Read more