One struggle for me has been to create questions and activities that help my students practice their critical thinking skills. Much of what we do in class, regrettably, is regurgitation and transformation. Standardized test results show that students at my school and at schools throughout the nation struggle when it comes to critical thinking and making inferences. I need to intentionally practice those skills more next year.
Recently, as I was on the hunt (as always) for ways to create links between my course and my students’ core classes, I found the teacher page of a decorated elementary school teacher, Mrs. Renz, from Oregon that has posted many forms that are similar to ones that teachers in my school use. I’ve been working on re-formatting them for my purposes.
The first one that I tackled was her four-square story map. Download a Spanish, English, or blank version here: Four Square story map. You tell a story, write the title in the center, then have students write something positive, something negative, and something important (or you could make it something interesting) from the story, and a question with which it left them. This activity helps them interact with the text on a personal level, which is supremely important if they are going to remember it in the future!!