I am sure you have heard about the importance of critical thinking in students. I know Natasha and I hear about it but we were always asking "That's great...but what does that look like?" I came across the beginning of an answer while trying to deepen my understanding of something else. Funny how that happens! Anyway, I was trying to learn more about concept-based teaching by looking at H. Lynn Erickson's book, Stirring the Head, Heart and Soul: Redefining the Curriculum, Instruction, and Concept-Based Learning.
Like any great professional resource, it led me to MORE great professional resources. For example, Richard Paul and Linda Elder's Critical Thinking: Tools for Taking Charge of Your Learning and Your Life. Now, this book is now on the Amazon order list so I haven't read it yet, but Erikson's book gave a bite-sized preview of what goodies may be inside. For example, it cites nine basic intellectual standards which are: clarity, accuracy, precision, relevance, depth, breadth, logic, fairness and significance. It even includes questions we can ask of ourselves and our students to develop these intellectual standards.
Since I like things to have a bit of colour and pizazz, I have summarized the thinking standards below. I have added the definitions but the questions are taken from Paul and Elder (who were cited in Erikson). I'll update you on how I am using them in class. Also, if you find these useful in any way, do let us know how you used them! We are always on the hunt for new ideas to feature from fabulous fellow teachers!