These are my notes from a professional development workshop for school principals, “Engaging Students with Critical Thinking Strategies,” shared by Diana Jones and Cindy Koss in Deer Creek Public Schools in Oklahoma on March 28, 2012. MY THOUGHTS AND COMMENTS ARE IN ALL CAPS.

This is a presentation providing an overview of chapter 1 of Robert Marzano’s book, “The Art and Science of Teaching: A Comprehensive Framework for Effective Instruction
– this is the framework of the entire book
– each chapter includes research on the impact on student achievement if we are focused on these design issues
– Deer Creek principals are starting a book study on this text in their administrative professional learning community

Marzano, 2005
– establish learning goals
– track student progress
– provide challenging curriculum through relevant classroom instruction
– use a variety of critical thinking strategies

Articulate the learning goal
– communicating the learning goal provides purpose to a lesson
– can be done in a fun and creative way
– easily done when using interact whiteboards, PowerPoint, Prezi, or other presentation software

We are so fortunate that every classroom in our district has an IWB

Communicate the Learning Goal

Research Results for Goal Setting (this is table 1.1 in Marano book)

Design Question #1
– distinction between learning goals and learning activities
– students chart their progress on each learning goal
– recognize and celebrate growth

Key to help students take ownership of their own learning
We recognize and celebrate growth all the time, and it’s so important to do this bit by bit / day by day

Activity: Find an administrator who has observed the following critical thinking strategies in classrooms in his/her building
– building academic vocabulary
– anticipation guides that serve to establish learning goals
– opportunities for focused free writes
– expert groups used to clarify new information
– opportunities for students to create digital representations / demonstrations of knowledge and understanding: portfolios and scrapbooks
– thinking cube and other manipulatives that encourage students to clarify and analyze their thinking
– responders used to provide immediate feedback and a way for students to defend their position
– graphic organizers used to allow students to ‘see’ their thinking
– students creating academic notebooks: writing to learn
– Venn diagram used to students can compare and contrast concepts
– opportunities for digital demonstrations through pictures and video, like
– expert groups or jigsaw strategies to learn new information in cooperative groups

3 things Daniel Pink says in “Drive” motivate people:
– purpose (this is why we’re talking about learning goals)
– mastery (not just the worksheet or grade on the test, it’s about learning mathematics, knowledge & skills)
– autonomy

CCSS does not define HOW to teach
– what Art & Science of Teaching is suggesting, these are the kinds of activities which will engage students
– students

Max Teaching and Learning” by Dr. Mark Forget
– emphasizes the value of previewing content prior to a critical-input experience
– an anticipation guide
– validates students’ prior knowledge
– encourages students to read for detail
– all opinions supported by evidence

Action step 3: organize students into groups to enhance active processing of information in expert groups
– students become experts for one aspect of an area of student or one piece of information critical to understanding a concept
– students sign up to become experts for one or more itesm from a teacher-prepared list

Action step 4: present new information in small chunks: Jigsaw
– jigsaw learning allows students to be introduced to material and yet maintain a high level of personal responsibility
– purpose of jigsaw is to develop teamwork….

present information in chunks: concept attainment
– a thinking skill
– building academic vocabulary is the concept attainment model
– starting with examples and non-examples
– research confirms higher levels of learning develop when students describe, discuss, and predict
– compare and contrast examples

Action step 5: Questions that require students to elaborate on information: Inferential questions
– requires students to use information provided in the critical-input experiences to infer what must be true or is likely to be true
– students must use their ability to reason logically with the information presented
– really focus on inferential questions

Action step 6: Students write out their conclusions or represent their learning non-linguistically
– visual representations of language
– encourages all students to participate in discussion
– can be used as a pre-reading strategy, summary strategy, prediction strategy, presentation tool, or assessment strategy

Idea for using Wordles: students putting their essay into a Wordle to get a visual check on words they may have overused

Having students reflect on their learning: focused free writes as an “entry ticket” or an “exit ticket”
– comprehensive approach to actively process information
– reflect on experiences at the completion of a critical input experience
– use focused free writes to summarize information presented during class as an ‘exit ticket’
KEY: Everyone writes until time is called. It’s OK to repeat a thought until a new one comes

Action step 7: Digital demonstration of knowledge: scrapbooks and portfolios (
– capture real-world experiences in photos and video
– may be used for instructional or assessment purposes
– allows students to ‘demonstrate’ knowledge in a non-threatening way


'Lenses' photo (c) 2008, Robynne Blume - license:

Technorati Tags: , , ,

If you enjoyed this post and found it useful, consider subscribing to Wes' free, weekly newsletter. Generally Wes shares a new edition on Monday mornings, and it includes a TIP, a TOOL, a TEXT (article to read) and a TUTORIAL video. You can also check out past editions of Wes' newsletter online free!

Did you know Wes has published several eBooks and "eBook singles?" 1 of them is available free! Check them out! Also visit Wes' subscription-based tutorial VIDEO library supporting technology integrating teachers worldwide!

MORE WAYS TO LEARN WITH WES: Do you use a smartphone or tablet? Subscribe to Wes' free magazine "iReading" on Flipboard! Follow Dr. Wesley Fryer on Twitter (@wfryer), Facebook and Google+. Also "like" Wes' Facebook page for "Speed of Creativity Learning". Don't miss Wesley's latest technology integration project, "Show With Media: What Do You Want to CREATE Today?"

On this day..

Share →
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

Made with Love in Oklahoma City