Thinking Tools

image from: Thinking Tools

This large set of fillable forms from The Learning Curve is a treasure chest of interactive graphic organizers that encourage creative and critical thinking skills.  According to the site, “This collection of thinking strategies and tools have been created and inspired from Mick Walsh’s experiences using the Thinking Curriculum, CoRT Thinking, Tribes Program and Visible Thinking from Harvard University.”  Included on this list are pages for Six Thinking Hats and P.M.I.  However, there are many other intriguing ones that I have never seen anywhere else, such as Time Machine and Truth Traffic Lights.  For some new ideas on how to engage your students in deep thinking, I highly recommend Thinking Tools.

Puppet Pals

Puppet Pals is an iDevice app that allows students to make puppet show videos.  The free version offers a limited number of characters and backdrops, but can still be fun.  For more options, you can pay $2.99 for the Director’s Pass, which you gives many more themes and backgrounds, including Talk Shows and Politics.  Once the videos are completed, they can be e-mailed (if short enough), uploaded to YouTube, played on your big screen if you don’t have the original iPad (but do have a connector), or saved to DropBox.  Be open to “workarounds” if your school district blocks YouTube and/or DropBox.

Below, I have embedded a video created by my 3rd grade Gifted and Talented students.  Their assignment was to create a video that explained the use of P.M.I. (Plus, Minus, Interesting), a CoRT thinking skill developed by Edward de Bono.  First, knowing the characters they would be using, they planned their show on a blank storyboard, then had to explain it to another group, revise it based on the other group’s suggestions, and get it approved by me.  Finally, they could record their video.  All groups were very engaged during this assignment.

The video shows President Obama trying to decide if there should be year-round schools.  No irony was intended by the students when they chose former President George W. Bush to be the one who gave President Obama advice on how to make this decision 😉