Critical Thinking Skills and the Common Core

Book Clubs are one of my favourite parts of my role, it's great to sit down and chat with the kids and get down to a deeper level. As any teacher will tell you, kids will always surprise you with where their thinking goes and the connections or insights they can make.

Being a Teacher Librarian and Literacy Coordinator has encouraged me to examine the Common Core standards more closely and how it meshes with our library standards, which are a marriage of the  ALA, the ISTE / NETS plus a few others.

 For years I've used good old 'Blooms Taxonomy' to help me with activities for my reading workshop so naturally I used it when planning my books clubs.  As I was perusing the Common Core standards I was rather surprised by how limited the standards were in terms of critical thinking skills. I was running a workshop about books clubs and made a quick keyword chart based on the Blooms Taxonomy Rose and CC standards. What I found was that there were plenty of standards in regards to comprehension but very few in higher level thinking skills. I found this rather astonishing.

After a lunchroom discussion, some fellow teachers and I agreed of the dangers of fully embracing the latest 'brand' of curriculum that comes along. Being in an international school, at least we have the luxury of developing our own curriculum and can expand upon what comes up as the latest and greatest.

Being balanced is key, as educators we know good practice. I will still continue to use critical thinking skills, as well as make the necessary connections to the standards, but like many educators the standards aren't my only focus. Skills and concepts are critical components and they will continue to be included in my planning.

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