Learning for One and All

General Education, The Learner No Comments »

So tomorrow is a professional development day; students stay home to play, teachers go to school to learn.

And what will we be learning? The topic of the day is … critical thinking. We will be learning new strategies to help our students become more critical thinkers.

“And what does that mean?” you ask. It means that we want our students to be better decision makers, more capable of assessing the options presented to them. We want them to analyze and evaluate information, and to know that what they read is not always the truth. We want them to consider not just what is right in front of their eyes, but to extend their thoughts to that which they cannot see. We want them to learn these strategies now, and develop them over time, so that when they leave our doors they are ready to face the world.

Yes, we dream big.

So in the spirit of tomorrow’s day of learning, here are a few sites to help you begin your journey down the path of critical thinking.

The Critical Thinking Consortium – This is my favourite critical thinking site that I have found…so far. It has many different resources, course packs, and lesson plan. You can also sign up to receive a monthly digital digest full of strategies.

The Critical Thinking Community – I recently came upon this site, and have not explored it in full. It appears to have lesson ideas, professional development and conference information, and various suggestions for further reading on the topic.

If you know of other sites that are worth checking out, please share.

…and we’re back!

General Education, General Science No Comments »

January 24, 2011

Yes. I am actually writing something.

No excuses. It is what it is.

Today’s subject is science. Even before we had our Smartboards installed in our classrooms, I have always loved using interactive websites for teaching. I send the students home with instructions to complete an activity on a website, and they go home actually excited to do their homework. What a great way to learn.

One of my favourite science sites is the PhET Interactive Simulation lab, from the University of Colorado at Boulder. There are simulations for physics, biology, chemistry, earth science, and math, too. You can search by topic or by grade level. Click on the section for teachers, and there you can browse the activities that others have submitted – activities which incorporate the simulations. Brilliant. Feeling generous? You can submit your own activities, as well.

The one that I have most used is the Circuit Construction Kit for the Grade 6 Electricity unit. I have created a set of challenges with parallel and series circuits, and I have the students try them out on the website before building the circuits in class. I have attached the worksheets that I created.

Go ahead, give it a try.

Series and Parallel Circuits Worksheets

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