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Developing Creative/Critical Habits of Mind

The development of creative and critical thinking is "at-risk" during school years. Unless students develop habits of using their minds well in their learning, students are unlikely to develop these habits later in life. Despite this, classroom and test questions continue to challenge students almost exclusively on the superficial level of recognizing and recalling isolated bits of information. Teachers wait and give students an average of less that a second of thinking time after asking a question and after hearing a student answer. As testing moves toward open-ended questions and, in some states, toward authentic problem-tasks, and as our students head into a future of increased change and unknown challenges, educational reform must shift the focus of learning to habits of mind associated with problem sensitivity and problem solving. The following sites reflect useful work and models for doing this.


  1. ESSENTIAL QUESTIONS in TEACHING AND LEARNING -- Inquiring into Essential Questions gives teaching and learning purposeful, meaningful and "big picture" focus for learning details and ideas.
  2. QUESTING the WEB: Web Quests as Essential Questions -- A web quest is an inquiry based activity that is usually completed by a group or class.
  3. Layered Curriculum -- Dr. Kathie F. Nunley's richly layered web site, BRILLIANTLY COMBINING MULTIPLE INTELLEGENCES TEACHING AND LEARNING WITH AUTHENTIC ASSESSMENT AND CONFERENCING!
  4. 360 Degree Feedback -- Resources to develop multiple sources of assessment, improving reliability
  5. Articles on Brain-Based Education and Layered Curriculum -- Touches helpfully on most issues
  6. Breakthrough Thinking -- Important ideas and processes to make a real difference
  7. The Brain Connection -- Diverse, well-designed and up-to-date site!
  8. HABITS of MIND -- Several links exploring this deep concept.
  9. CREATIVITY -- Tools and sites for fostering creative thinking.
  10. WHAT IS A THINKING CURRICULUM -- A broad and insightful summary from NCREL--North Central Regional Educational Lab
  11. INQUIRY-BASED LEARNING -- Sites to explore open-ended teaching
  12. METACOGNITION and SELF-TALK -- Array of links to explore cognitive strategies
  13. Performance and Exhibitions: The Demonstration of Mastery
  14. Brain Biology and Layered Curriculum® Articles by Dr. Kathie F. Nunley
  15. H.O.T.S. [Higher Order Thinking Skills] HOME PAGE -- Many practical resources for teachers
  16. Thinking Applied Home page

  17. Links to Thinking Applied
  18. Brains.Org -- Practical applications of brain-based research
  19. THE CENTER FOR CRITICAL THINKING Resources K-12 -- Articles, links, and lesson activities for Grades K-12
  20. Teaching For Intelligence -- Recognizing and encouraging skillful thinking and behavior
  21. MISSION:CRITICAL -- Tutorials in critical thinking and avoiding logical fallacies
  22. FUTURE PROBLEM SOLVING PROGRAM -- Project competition stressing creative problem solving
  23. THE BIG SIX: An Information Problem-Solving Process -- Mike Eisenberg's and Bob Berkowitz's influential view of thinking skills; needs tempering with his and others' insight that these habits of mind are "recursive," that is they occur in overlapping and "recycling" patterns
  24. Big6 Matrix: Information Literacy Standards and Internet Research -- Awesome and rich site for Internet and Critical Thinking
  25. RELEARNING BY DESIGN -- Many resources to aid in developing portfolio evaluation and other authentic assessment
  26. HELPING STUDENTS ASSESS THEIR THINKING -- Brief and specific article worth reprinting for and using with students
  27. INTEGRATING CRITICAL THINKING SKILLS INTO THE CLASSROOM -- Insightful article, rich in links
  28. THE COALITION OF ESSENTIAL SCHOOLS -- Articles in "Publications" section under both "HORACE" and Exhibitions and School Design pertain to "habits of mind"
  29. MIND TOOLS -- Life-planning and maximum use of mind and creativity
  30. IN-SITES for BRAIN-COMPATIBLE LEARNING -- Revolutionary implications from cognitive neuro-science
  31. PROBLEM SOLVING TEMPLATE -- A pattern for real-world problem solving
  32. GRAZING THE NET -- Habits of Mind needed for students on the Internet
  33. ODYSSEY OF THE MIND -- Team problem-solving competition for K-12


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