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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Reading Thinking Stem Guide

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     The Math Thinking Stem Guide in my last post was so successful, I decided to create a guide for the Reading Thinking Stem as well.  As I have posted quite a bit about thinking stems already, I will not go into detail about them other than to say that my students have shown significant growth in their reading, their ability to use metacognition across all subjects...as well as vastly improving their writing skills! 

     I have two different rubrics for the reading thinking stem. One is a basic rubric to generate a reading grade. The other generates both a reading and writing grade. All of the rubrics and guides are available as free downloads in my TPT store.

     Give the thinking stems a try if you haven't already. We've got to get our kids thinking critically! For help in getting started, see my post here: How to Introduce Thinking Stems.
   
     Let me know if you have any questions or comments!

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Saturday, November 10, 2012

The Math Thinking Stem Guide

This poster is available for download in my TPT store.
Encouraging students to THINK is a large part of what I do in the classroom. I don't want my 2nd graders to recite facts back to me...I want them to think, analyze, infer, compare, contrast, etc. (I do, however, want them to remember their math facts!) It is relatively easy to facilitate higher level thinking in reading. I've blogged before about Thinking Stems in reading and social studies. But, what about math? Math seems rather cut and dried. There's only one correct answer, right? Well, yes...but there's more.

A high level of thinking is achieved by simply solving a complex math algorithm. However, we can take it a step further by including metacognition in the mix and having students articulate their thinking in writing. This brings me to the math thinking stem!

The Math Thinking Stem
The math thinking stem is similar to the reading stem in that it encourages students to use their thinking skills for a specific purpose. These skills include: schema, inferences, predictions, comparisons, visualizations, questioning, and more. In math, the thinking stem forces students to look closely at the math skill they are learning, and really pick it apart for analysis. Even 2nd graders can do it! Here is an example of a math thinking stem:

We are learning about place value. When you use place value, you break numbers down into hundreds, tens, and ones. You can use it to understand numbers. For example, 200+20+3 equals 223. That is the same as 2 hundreds, 2 tens, and 3 ones. I can visualize the base ten blocks showing 223. I predict it will help me when I add and subtract. I infer place value can show even bigger numbers because you can add more blocks. Place value is fun! 

The thinking stem not only encourages their higher level thinking, it exercises writing skills and helps students see that thinking and learning skills are applicable in all subjects!

With this in mind, I've created a math thinking stem guide for students and teachers. Follow this link if you would like the downloadable file at my TPT Store.  I use the thinking stem in math stations every week! Enjoy.