Sparking Thinking to Launch the Day

At the start of each day, broadcasting  the Question of the Week to all staff and students sets the stage for a thinking classroom. The question is revisited daily and students are encouraged to hear new perspectives, ask questions and potentially change their minds over the course of the week.  Staff and students, alike, share the reasoning behind their choices, in a space where students respect and consider one another’s ideas.

Critical Thinking in the Classroom and Beyond

In our current society, people express their ideas and opinions through social media, often without having the whole picture or a willingness to consider other perspectives. Our ultimate goal is to foster the ability to listen respectfully to the thoughts and ideas of others and to reason and form personal judgments based on information from a variety of sources or viewpoints. We want our students to be able to think critically about the information they encounter, justify their responses with support, and to be flexible in their thinking. Each of these skills is central during the school day as the students interact with the curriculum, and is ever more important in the students’ lives beyond the academic environment. In Golden Hills, students’ initial assumptions are challenged and they are pushed to process information more critically.

Connecting with Others and the Curriculum

The questions are intentionally designed to be personal with low risk. As students and teachers share their personal opinions and actively listen to others, their relationships strengthen. Adding a personal element to the question requires students to exercise their sense of empathy in an effort to learn about and understand another person’s unique opinions. In addition, making the question low risk encourages participation and minimizes the fear of embarrassment and being wrong, which is too often the case in many classrooms. As students build more and more connections to their peers and to their surroundings, they are increasingly able to apply these critical thinking strategies when interacting with the curriculum and diverse real-world contexts.

Connecting to Complex Challenges

The Question of the Week is an engaging strategy to encourage critical thinking, foster a collaborative culture in the classroom, and create dynamic discussions.Each student’s view is initially sculpted by personal experiences, and matures as students are exposed to new information provided by others. Ultimately, this process will provide students the opportunity to collect evidence, understand multiple perspectives and make critical judgments based on evidence and criteria.

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