Thursday, November 12, 2015

Practical Critical ThinkingThe Critical Thinking Co.: A TOS Crew Review

Practical Critical Thinking and Teacher Manual from 
The Critical Thinking Co.

For grades 9-12+, This is a combo of a 376 page color, Student book and the accompanying 240 page, black & white - Teacher’s Manual.

The Bentz Test Laboratory has been a long time fan of products from The Critical Thinking Co.  I was excited to get to try a new product for us - Practical Critical Thinking and Teacher Manual.  My tester is in 10th grade.

The Student Book is in color.  A very nice touch, it makes it instantly more appealing to today's teenagers.  This program really focuses in on developing Critical Thinking in our teens.  By focusing on emotion and meaning, we get them motivated, grab their attention and build their memory.

The book is organized with 4 Units, each unit includes 2 chapters, and each chapter features 7-9 lessons.  The lessons are short and concise.   My testers enjoyed the variety and the humor.

We love to start our school day with Critical Thinking as a way of "waking up our brain".  Take a peek at the contents:

Unit 1. Becoming a Critical Thinking -
  • Chapter 1: The 411 About Critical Thinking 
  • Chapter 2: Playing Games, Doing puzzles: Practice Critical Thinking Skills

Unit 2. Adding to My Critical Thinking Toolbox
  • Chapter 3: Some Basics Concepts for Critical Thinking
  • Chapter 4: Critical Thinking and Language

Unit 3. Critical Thinking and Arguments
  • Chapter 5: Analyzing Arguments
  • Chapter 6: Informal Fallacies

Unit 4. Applying My Critical Thinking
  • Chapter 7: Advertising
  • Chapter 8: Eyewitness Testimony, Direct & Circumstantial Evidence
This program is designed to be used either independently (the way we did) or can be used in a classroom setting.  I think it would make a great Co-op class!   Different activities are used to teach and practice essential Critical Thinking skills like; evaluating evidence, creative problem-solving, ambiguity, doublespeak, vagueness, arguments, fallacies, advertising, eyewitness testimony and more.

Activities include:
  • Thought Experiments 
  • Student Polls 
  • Practice Sessions 
  • Games and Puzzles 
  •  Predictions 
  •  Important Takeaways

Teacher's Manual is a valuable addition to this program!  It's divided into two sections:
  • Answers - I need this section to make sure they are on the right track.  Critical thinking is much more complex than simple math solutions.  This is where you get to stay one step ahead of your teens.
  • Reproducible Activities - Nice, especially if you are using this with multiple students.

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