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Critical Thinking

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Research Skills: Scavenger Hunts

Sometimes students don’t understand how time is of the essence when doing research. They lack the skills to use text features, skim materials and find items quickly.

We’ve been working on this with our students and it’s a struggle year after year.

However, we have managed to find some activities that help students refine their research skills: scavenger hunts. It turns out that making research fun and game-like can have a positive impact on how students complete research. Continue Reading

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Alternative Halloween Activities

Let’s be honest. Halloween is not one of the best days for teachers-even worse the day after. So unless the day lands on a weekend, chances are you’re going to be somehow involved. So, other than sitting and eating junk food while dressed in costumes, what other activities can a teacher do with their class while still celebrating Halloween? Continue Reading

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What About Critical Thinking Challenges?

What do you do when you want to challenge students, but you also want them to learn? We give them critical thinking challenges. Critical thing requires many skills-problem solving, collaboration, design thinking, and perseverance. When a critical thinking question is carefully crafted, you can get students to explore learning outcomes while having fun and being engaged in their learning at the same time. Continue Reading

Critical Thinking Digital Citizenship Online Safety Our TpT Products Technology

Fake News and So Much More

We realized the importance of teaching critical thinking and fact checking one day on Facebook. One ninja-mother-in-law posted an article about an actor that had died-but the actor had died FIVE years earlier. Yet, there she was just a reposting like crazy. A dog with a piece of ham on its face was her next post and that when we started writing our digital citizenship product. Continue Reading

Critical Thinking Current Events Our TpT Products Social Studies

The Pipeline Perspective

The Canadian news is flooded with discussions about pipelines and where they should or shouldn’t be built. So, how do we address these issues in the classrooms? Many of our students have family members who work in the oil industry and many have parents who work closely with Indigenous people and environmentalists. So when these issues are so hotly contested in the media, how do we teach students to listen to all perspectives and form opinions based on facts (especially in light of how many people are unable to look past bias)?

We created a product that introduces all sides of the pipeline issue. It’s not meant to have students create an opinion, but to learn to listen to a variety of perspectives. Sometimes when we feel passionately about an issue, it’s difficult to hear the other side. Even as teachers, we have to be careful to not influence the opinions of our students. We need to teach students to listen and evaluate multiple perspectives, disagree respectfully and back up their opinions with facts rather than other people’s opinions.

You can find in our store here.

We’d love to hear about your experiences discussing polarizing issues with your students. How are you managing the current culture of differing sides? How do you keep your personal opinion out of the classroom? Please share with us in the comments below.

Love the Ninjas

Classroom Management Creative Thinking Critical Thinking Differentiation Our TpT Products Professional Learning Project Based Learning

Why You Should Give Students Choices

How would you feel if you knew you were a wonderful writer but the only way you could express yourself was through modern dance? What would you do if you have to recite your report card comments by memory to each and every parent? How would you feel if you were given the choice to write your report cards any way YOU want? (Ours would be invisible!)

Wouldn’t that be amazing? Wouldn’t that make you want to write the best report cards the world has ever seen?

So why are we so determined as teachers that there’s only one way to assess our students? Why can’t they have choices too? Continue Reading

Creative Thinking Critical Thinking Makerspace Our TpT Products Professional Learning Project Based Learning

Work Through the Design Process

Here’s a quick lesson you can do with your students to learn how to use your Makerspace while teaching students to enjoy the process.

Give your students a selection of pieces. These can be any material you have available. We used bottle caps, straws, tape, index cards and string. We also had scissors available. You can use these materials or use what you have in your Makerspace. The items should be flexible enough to let students explore. Continue Reading