Tuesday, July 17, 2012

HOTS Activity

It's about time, teachers, ... to focus on Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS). If we neglect to teach our students critical thinking skills, we do them a huge disservice. There is an on-going debate about the role of HOTS in the elementary school. Some contend that elementary students should focus on the basics (i.e. the lower 3 levels of Bloom's Taxonomy). Others argue that HOTS are essential to elementary education.

In my opinion, this debate is moot, in as much as standards based curricula require HOTS.  In my own experience teaching K-5, Reading Recovery, Title I, enrichment, and self-contained gifted, for more than 3 decades, I absolutely believe teachers should give considerable attention to critical and creative thinking skills whether you subscribe to CCSS or not.  Even in teaching Reading Recovery, which suggests it's all about the basics, the most successful students were the ones who were able to grasp the idea that they should be constantly evaluating what they were reading.  In RR, we challenge our students to decide whether what they read makes sense, looks right, sounds right, ...   

Similarly, although at the other end of the spectrum, G/T and enrichment students need to be able to defend their thinking.  We do them wrong if we don't challenge them to analyze, synthesize, and evaluate/create.  G/T education calls for differentiation of instruction; a summons that is daunting to some educators.  But it does not have to be overwhelming, intimidating, or off-putting.  Consider the following activity:

TRIADS combine critical thinking with vocabulary development.  That's a win-win since students with larger vocabularies consistently perform far better than those with poorer oral language.  In working with TRIADS, your students will use analysis, synthesis, and evaluation.  The challenge is to find 1 word that can be added to each of the triad words to make a well-known phrase or compound word.  The common word may be added before or after the triad words. For example, add GRASS to the triad words blue, hopper, & crab to make blue GRASS,   GRASShopper, and crab GRASS.

Now try these two triads for yourself:


TRIADS is a great activity for a literacy center or enrichment. It could also be used as an anchor or sponge activity.  My students beg to do these together, and, thus, I often grab a card when we are headed to our specials -- just in case we have to wait in the hallway for a minute or two.  You can almost see the cogs turning inside their heads!  What teacher doesn't love that???
Reproduce the cards on card stock, laminate, and use for years to come.  Naturally, an answer key is included.  This product is available on TpT and TN. There are currently 3 versions of it, should your students love TRIADS as much as mine do.  Each set includes 24 TRIADS cards and an answer key for $2.60.  That's a lot of differentiation for very little money.

How did you do with the 2 TRIADS?  Come back tomorrow to see if you found the common word.  

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