critical thinking

a black and white picture story showing a woman with a stressful life

Purpose:  to give learners practice identifying the main idea and retelling key details

Preparation Time:  15 minutes

Materials Needed:  sets of picture stories, cut apart

Procedure:

a detective in a green coat and hat smoking a pipe and looking at a question mark through a magnifying glass

Purpose:  to help learners begin to use evidence from a text to make inferences and support answers

Preparation Time:  10 minutes

Materials Needed:  A picture, sets of questions

Procedure:

clipart of crystal ball containing the word predict

Purpose:  An important reading skill that fluent readers possess is the ability to make predictions about the text. Predictions may be based on prior knowledge and experience around the topic, information from the unit content or established learning structure, or clues from the text itself, such as the title, subtitles, graphics, and/or highlighted key words.

Preparation Time:  10 minutes

Materials Needed:  A reading text with 3 pictures or objects which are connected to the text

Procedure:

outline of a man thinking

Purpose:  K-W-L is an instructional strategy that helps guide learners through a reading text. This activity helps to activate prior knowledge, sets a purpose for reading, and helps learners to monitor their reading comprehension.

Preparation Time:  5 minutes

Materials Needed:  copies of the K-W-L chart (attached below)

Procedure:

woman's hand with henna typing on a laptop

The College and Career Readiness Standards (CCRS) were created by the U.S. Department of Education to align adult basic education and ESL instruction across the states. They also provide learners attending ABE and ESL classes with the academic and critical thinking skills to be able to be successful in careers or higher education once they leave those programs.

Cover of the Shaping the Way We Teach resource book

Shaping the Way We Teach English: From Observation to Action

Shaping the Way We Teach English is a teacher-training course consisting of fourteen video-based modules with a supporting training manual and supplementary resources. Each modules is a ten to fifteen minute video segment with examples from classrooms and educators around the world. Each module also has corresponding readings and support materials that can be printed and copied.

Pyramid of Bloom's Taxonomy Labeled from the bottom to the top: Remembering, Understanding, Applying, Analyzing, Evaluating, Creating

“Good learning starts with questions, not answers.” –Guy Claxton

Critical thinking is required in the workplace, in educational settings, and to address everyday challenges.  In ESL classes, teachers often ask only factual questions that rely on short-term memory, such as “What did Lee Pa do yesterday?” and “What is the capital of Minnesota?”  While memory is an important skill, teachers should ask questions and plan activities that dig deeper. Even in beginning level classrooms, it is essential that learners are asked questions that challenge them to think critically.

A blue W with hands, feet, and a smiling face

Purpose:  A wrap-up activity that gives learners a chance to reflect on what they learned during the lesson and think about how they will use what they learned outside of the classroom

Preparation Time:  None

Materials Needed:  None

Procedure:

  1. Students think about their responses to the following prompts and write their answers independently on a piece of scratch paper:

What did we learn today?

blue and white stripped circle with red stars and the word vote

Thanks to Meredith Sommers for creating and contributing this great resource!

Thousands of students who are taking English, Adult Basic Education or Citizenship classes are, or will be, eligible to vote in the upcoming elections. Even if students are not eligible to vote, they can encourage and coach others on the voting process. They also have values and opinions that they can express to friends or family who are eligible voters.

film unrolling behind a movie film canister

Purpose:  A fun and engaging way to practice speaking that incorporates media and encourages student to get creative and utilize critical thinking skills.

Preparation Time:  10 minutes

Materials Needed:  A short clip from a movie or TV show. Ideally the clip will have lots of action or physical humor, or show a scene where something confusing or mysterious is happening.

Procedure:

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