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Sunday, September 28, 2014

STILL MORE Centers for Your Classroom

Have you tried using critical thinking centers in your classroom?  If not, you really should.  Following are some of my students' favorites:

The thing I love the most about Triads, is that I can practically see the cogs turning in my students' brains.  My kiddos clamor for these brain exercises.  But, be forewarned! If you require a quiet, calm demeanor in your students, don't bring out Triads.  The enthusiasm they generate simply can't be contained.

Here's how they work: Show your students a Triads card, explaining that 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.  Did you figure out the example given here?  The common word is card; birthday card, credit card, and cardboard.  

My students love Triads so much that I have created literally hundreds of these little gems.  You can peruse the ones I've published by going here.

I know it's corny, but I just can't help myself. . . You will get a lot of bang for your buck with $1 Words.  This activity combines ELA and math with critical thinking and problem solving.  Moreover, your students will:

  • conduct research (old fashioned or internet)
  • work with parts of speech, prefixes and suffixes, vocabulary, and grammar 
  • compute money values (manually or with calculators)
  • hone editing and spelling skills
  • learn study skills
  • and so much more
My $1 Words units are much more "kid friendly" than most $1 Word studies in that they provide clues for students to solve.  
Run this as a competition between classes and you will find that you need 100s of clues!  My enrichment students can't get enough. Even better, the 1st unit in this series is FREE!

Square Puzzlers may just be the ideal center because even fast finishers can't finish them quickly. These gems require patience, perseverence, and problem solving; attributes we would like all of our students to develop.

The challenge with these puzzles is to reconstruct the square so that all of the images match on every interior side. This is the 2x2 square (reassembled) that is intended for the youngest students. 3x3 and 4x4 squares are included for exponentially more challenging puzzles for older students.

Want more critical thinking center ideas?  Check out the resources on my collaborative Pinterest board, It's About Time for Critical Thinking.  If you would like to join as a collaborator, we'd love to have you!

Other critical thinking centers you may like:



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    1. I concur, Elena. We educators must foster curiosity, creativity, and wonder. Without those traits, the world is dull and boring.

      Thank you for taking the time to comment.