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 Thinking Skills



“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes” Marcel Proust.

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Math standard(pdf)


Howard Gardner points out in his blueprint for education, Five Minds for the Future (2006), learning in the 21st century requires a mind that is "disciplined, creating, synthesizing,  ethical  and respectful"
Infusing thinking skills into the curriculum for the PreK-5th grade learning:
We as educators, need to infuse thinking skills into this learning process. We like to say that Thinking Skills are one of the tools of engineers. It is important to model for our students the use of thinking skills and provide feedback to them on their use.  Creative and critical thinking are key to the finding design challenges and doing a design.  Questioning is needed through-out the process as well as developing our curiosity. Meta-cognitive reflection bring in the ability to see what we are doing and change where necessary and using  Blooms higher order taxonomy will bring about additional thinking skills.





How: Provide teachers with professional development, scaffolding, and a collaborative web site for support. Below are the sections of learning around skillful thinking:





Use of questions

Framing of thoughtful questions, and the follow-up of these questions for understanding.
Need to make these questions "Kid Friendly"  two sets prek_2 & 3-5.


Expanding the curiosity of students by creating an environment for learning.

Meta-cognitive skills

Teach and model the value of meta-cognitive skills for self-evaluation and improvement.

Higher-order thinking skills
basic skills: comparing, classifying, sequencing, and prediction

Teach and model such skills as decision making, problem solving, critical thinking, brainstorm, compare / contract, classification, drawing conclusions

  • Creative thinking

  • Critical thinking

 Critical and Creative Thinking - Bloom's Taxonomy 
Critical Thinking discussion
Serious Creativity ...  An article by Edward de Bono in Microsoft Word

Teaching Thinking Skills  ...  Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory

Thinking Skills in Education:  comparing four frameworks  by Craig Rusbult, Ph.D.

Web Sites:


Reference Documents:
Item Description
What makes some people innovative (PDF) Summary of three different views of creativity and innovation/ 12/20/2010 
The creative attitude questions (pdf) 02/12/2011 Summary of techniques to encourage questioning and what to do when the student reaches a road-block.
Thinking style overview  

Learning: is about searching out meaning and imposing structure.  Notes that help develop your strategy.

Thinking skills mindmap Mapping a story
Article by Bridgett Perry Galvin (pdf)

The purpose of this article is twofold: first, to  provide information on the learning process and skillful thinking and, second, to provide educators with tangible suggestions on how to change the learning environment to enhance skillful thinking.


Using the updated Bloom Taxonomy, we can create questions around the 6 levels, starting from the lowest level to the higher order thinking skill:, includes action verbs.

PDF document Describing 16 HABITS OF MIND By Arthur L. Costa, Ed. D. and Bena Kallick, Ph.D.
PDF document

Creativity thoughts by David Perkins

Reference document(PDF)

 Good overview of system thinking for developing a lesson plan, Habits of Mind list and what is needed for students entering the work force.

Future Needs (PDF)

Future needs of society with thinking skills that focus on creativity. Summary of two books and a magazine article 

Questioning Strategy (PDF)

The questioning techniques that follow are generally applicable to any questioning model and maximize the potential for a meaningful discussion:

Using Questions 05/16/2011 (PDF) Setting a question based framework for students to ask questions
Creativity Program for Teachers (PDF)

Creating a program for teachers that introduces creative thinking to their other thinking skills (critical thinking, reflection, questioning)

Tools Thinking Skills, Activities and handouts
Meta-Cognition in Children (PDF)

Thinking about Thinking: Developing Meta-cognition in Children 
© Robert Fisher   Good overview


questions_relationship to the engineering Design Process_101408.docx  (PDF)

Infusing Questions into the learning process


Example of Questions:


  Prepared by  Bill Wolfson. ©engineering lens 2009-2012  
Last Updated 08/25/2012