January 11, 2011
Purpose: This activity encourages students to think about how they make decisions and to explain those decisions to others. Explaining decisions is a form of critical thinking.
Prep time: 5 -10 minutes
Materials: pens and paper
Prep: Choose an easy topic for the example that you will show to students and another topic for students to try. Ideally the topic the students write about should be related to today’s lesson.
I do it:
1. Write the name of a topic that is easy for your students on the board and draw a circle around it. For example, the word food.
2. Draw a larger circle around the first circle. Think out loud about associations you have with the topic. Then write these associations in the space between the two circles. For example, you could say Food makes me think about shopping, cooking, and being healthy and then write shopping, cooking and being healthy in the outer circle.
3. Draw a third very large circle around the other two circles. Think out loud about factors and people that influence your decisions about the topic. For example, you could say I think about what my family likes to eat when I buy food. Then write family in the outer circle. Continue giving a few more examples.
We do it:
1. Write another easy topic on the board and draw a circle around it. For example, write the word English.
2. Draw a larger circle around the first circle. Elicit associations that students have with the topic. You might ask them, What does English make you think about? Write their associations in the circle.
3. Draw the third circle around the other two circles. Elicit ideas from students about factors and people that influence their decisions about the topic. For example, you might ask students Why do you read in English? Why do you come to English class?
You do it:
1. Now assign a topic related to today’s lesson. Tell students to write it in their notebooks with a circle around it.
2. Instruct students to write what the topic makes them think in the next circle.
3. Instruct students to write people and things that help them make decisions about the topic in the last circle.
Students can share their answers with a partner or in a small group and discuss decisions they make (related to the topic) and why they make them.