Critical Thinking is Underrated

Standardized tests… End of the Year Assessments… Grades…

Being able to perform well on standardized tests or making good grades in school doesn’t ensure that your student or child knows how to do what’s really important in life: THINK!

I’ve found a great resource that does just that. The Social Language Development Scenes resource published by LinguiSystems is great because the questions come from pictures IN CONTEXT. I use them to teach social skills, emotions, critical thinking, and many other language skills. I like to draw thought bubbles and speech bubbles right over the images to help students build and develop critical thinking skills such as perspective taking, making predictions, inferring and problem solving.

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You can find it here:

Social Language Development Scenes

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For many years, I found it difficult to evaluate critical thinking skills with the basic language assessments. That was until I discovered this great expressive language assessment:

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You can find it here:

TOPS 3 Elementary: Test of Problem Solving A Test of Reasoning in Context

The TOPS uses picture scenes that contain context based problems and asks the student questions that require critical thinking. The questions on the scoring protocol are categorized, so it gives you specific information for skills such as: Making Inferences, Making Predictions, Problem Solving and Perspective Taking. That way, you can see where the breakdown is occurring and explicitly teach those skills.

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Check out this FREE Reading Comprehension and Language Skills Resource on my Teachers Pay Teachers page that includes many of the critical thinking skills that students need to be successful in life.

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I hope you found this helpful and gave you something to THINK about!

: )

The Creative SLP

 

 

Figurative Language is Tricky! Help Your Students Learn to “Figure” it Out!

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The English language is filled with figurative language. Many have been used for so long and are so common that people often don’t even consider them to be abstract! If you work with students who struggle understanding abstract and figurative language or who have poor executive functions, they likely miss a lot of meaning during conversation and when reading.

I found that with my clients, they often understood and had been taught basic figurative expressions such as, “It’s raining cats and dogs,” but struggled with the more commonly used phrases and slang. You might be surprised if you ask your students to define some of these common phrases. When a student is having a bad day, tell them to “hang in there” and then ask them if they can explain what that means.

I recently spent a few weeks compiling a list of the most commonly used expressions that aren’t obviously figurative. I used those 90 phrases and made a basic card game to be used with any game or activity. I also incorporated executive function skills and use of context clues in the instruction to help students learn to use self-talk, or their inner voice and to consider the context to help them figure out the meaning.

You can find it here:

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Figurative-Language-Use-Self-Talk-and-Context-to-Figure-it-Out-3379550

In my search for the most commonly used phrases, I discovered a useful site called idioms4you.com. Although, use with caution, because it does contain many pop up ads, some which are inappropriate for children.  I like it because it offers an audio definition of the phrase and quizzes. Here is the link:

http://www.idioms4you.com/new/new.php

I hope you and your students will “get a kick out of it”!

The Creative SLP