Category Archives: Critical Thinking

Kids Philosophy Slam

It’s that time of year again – time for a new topic for the Kids Philosophy Slam.  The 2013 topic is, “Which is more powerful, love or hate?”  You can learn more about the Slam by visiting their site.  Be sure to watch the video on the home page, and take a look at the rules for this year’s Slam.  Also, you can visit the site weekly to learn about a new philosopher.  If you are interested in using more philosophy with your students, you might also want to take a look at this post from last year.

50 Riddles to Challenge Your Students

photo credit: Marco Bellucci via photopin cc

What goes around the world and stays in a corner?

For my Fun Friday Post this week, I direct you to this page on Edgalaxy.  50 Riddles to Challenge Your Students is a fun collection of short brain teasers that are sure to delight your students.  They are good for using during those “rare” periods during the day when you are in transition: lined up outside the bathroom or water fountain, waiting for class pictures, packing up for dismissal, etc…  Most of these are popular riddles that we have all probably heard, but it’s handy to have a list of them for reference.

Answer:  A stamp


Chart of Edward de Bono’s Six Thinking Hats

Edward de Bono created the idea of  “Six Thinking Hats”, developing a visual representation of the types of thinking that we do in various situations.  You can read more about de Bono’s concept in his book of the same title.  This simple chart briefly describes each Thinking Hat, and how it can be applied in a group problem-solving situation.

In our district’s gifted program, we begin teaching students who are in 2nd grade about the Thinking Hats.  Metacognition is an important skill, and we reinforce it throughout our elementary curriculum.

The “Six Thinking Hats” chart is available on, which has several other charts that could be good classroom resources.  My favorite chart is “Muppet Voices” – though I’m still trying to develop a way to connect it to something educational!

Fido Puzzle


Well, it’s Friday.  Time for our fun post of the week!  Today, I confound you with the Fido Puzzle.  It’s a cute interactive site which is seemingly able to read your mind.  Follow the directions carefully, and Fido’s clairvoyant owner will be able to guess your mystery number.  It’s fun to play, and you can challenge your class to figure out the secret behind the mathematical magic!

Codecademy After-School Club

Some of you may already be familiar with Codecademy, which offers free on-line courses in programming and web-site authoring.  Now, the site is offering a free after-school program that it states can be used with students as young as 7.  During the first semester, the students learn how to build a website.  The second semester teaches how to build an adventure game with JavaScript.

According to Codeacademy, even teachers who have little experience with programming can facilitate the after-school club.  There is a free, downloadable curriculum, and Codecademy also provides a mailed kit to the first 250 teachers to sign up, which includes stickers and “other stuff for your club”.

The program is self-paced, and there are no downloads or special pieces of equipment required.  As long as you have computers with compatible internet-connected browsers, you do not need to provide any other materials.

Codeacademy’s After-School Program looks like a great opportunity for younger students to begin learning the basics of computer languages.

Move the Box

As promised last week, my Friday posts are all about “fun”.  Although, I am not sure how “fun” this particular game will be for people like me – who are spatially challenged.  Move the Box is a free iPhone app that requires logic and visual reasoning skills.  I have been trying to work on the latter, but seem to be particularly weak in that area.  In Move the Box, you are limited to a number of moves in which to pull boxes out of a pile, resulting in like boxes landing in vertical or horizontal rows and disappearing.  Your goal is to get all of the boxes to disappear.  You begin with a limit of 1 move, which might seem daunting, but it is easier to use process of elimination than when you get to the level that allows you two moves.  That is when it gets really challenging.  Good luck, and try not to get frustrated!