First Grade Thinking Skills & Key Concepts Student Book
Thinking Skills & Key Concepts is a new, standards-based series from the authors of our widely acclaimed Building Thinking Skills® series. It is a research-based instructional program that teaches beyond most state and Common Core standards by:
* Improving young children's observation and description skills
* Developing academic vocabulary
* Developing thinking skills that underlie content learning (describing/defining, identifying similarities and differences, sequencing, and classifying)
* Improving students' understanding of key concepts in Mathematics, Social Studies, and Science
* Having students complete structured exercises to write sentences and paragraphs
* Carefully sequencing lessons to develop thinking skills
* Employing language integration techniques to teach thinking skills and key concepts
Observation lessons involve concrete examples using detailed photographs which can be supplemented with picture books to develop observation skills. The student book provides pencil and paper exercises, but students clarify their thinking and learning by peer and class discussion.
Academic Vocabulary Development
The program builds academic vocabulary and mental models of important concepts. Students describe, compare and contrast, and classify geometric shapes, family members, occupations, animals, food, vehicles, and buildings. In Grade 1 exercises also include living and non-living things, plants and animals, and land forms and bodies of water.
Spatial Thinking Skills
* Describing Shapes naming shapes, finding shapes to match a description, describing characteristics of a shape
* Similarities and Differences matching and combining shapes, producing equal figures, figure completion
* Sequences recognizing and producing the next figure in a sequence
* Classification classifying by shape and/or color, forming classes, depicting overlapping classes
* Using positional and directional words
Verbal Thinking Skills
* Describing Things matching a picture to a description, describing people, animals, or objects shown in pictures, part/whole analysis
* Similarities and Differences selecting similar people, animals, or objects, explaining similarities and differences
* Sequences ranking objects or people by a significant characteristic
* Classifications explaining characteristics of a class, exceptions, sorting into classes
* Analogies naming the kind of analogy or completing the analogy (first grade only)
Mental Models outline the characteristics needed to describe or define a concept. The first grade book teaches the significant characteristics of the concepts outlined in these mental models and explores each concept in great depth.
How We Know It Works
* Increased scores on language proficiency and cognitive abilities tests
* Increased scores on normed or criterion-referenced achievement tests
* Proficient student writing
* Increased number of students placed in advanced classes and subsequent successful performance
With the current trend in critical thinking/thinking skills as it relates to cross-curricular studies, why not rely on the publisher who has provided quality material on this subject for years? A new series from Critical Thinking Co, this program actually seems like an expansion of the popular Building Thinking Skills program. Incorporating all its excellent conceptual development and expanding beyond mathematics into science and social study applications, this series takes students beyond state and Common Core standards. Designed to be a discussion-based curriculum, teacher-student interaction is vitally important and, in fact, the publishers warn against trying to do the program by handing your student a workbook page. Program goals include clarifying and practicing various thinking skills (describe, compare/contrast, sequencing, classification), developing the academic vocabulary needed to describe key concepts in mathematics, science, and social studies, and to promote clear conceptualization of key concepts even in the primary grades knowing these will become more complex in later grades. You can expect lessons to take 20-30 minutes.
Bright and colorful, the Student Books are consumable. Instructional methods include teaching skills explicitly, using different learning styles for some teaching, responding in whole sentences, and applying the concept in new forms. For example, in the Kindergarten book, twelve chapters cover describing (colors and shapes), similarities and differences, sequencing (shapes), classifying and sorting (shapes): then applying these skills to various categories (i.e. family members, food, animals, jobs, vehicles, and buildings). Lastly, position is covered in both thinking and writing. We can begin to get an idea of the progression of the series when we look at the scope of the First Grade course. Shapes are used to cover descriptions, position, similarities/differences, sequences, and groups. Then, there is the same progression through various categories but using the same sorts of concepts with shapes: classification, comparing, describing, similarities/differences, etc. Lots of color photos of real people, places, and things are used within the lessons.
Teacher Manuals include instructional and conceptual information for every worktext page. This material is lightly scripted and leads the teacher through the introduction, stating the objective as well as conducting the lesson. A greatly reduced, black and white copy of each student page supplies the answers. In addition, there is general introductory information on the course as well as introductory information for each chapter. As mentioned earlier, the obvious intention of the Teachers Manual is to facilitate discussion through the material and to make it easy on the teacher to provide that discussion. Teacher prep for the lessons is minimal but teacher-student interaction is expected and required. This series appears to be an excellent choice if you desire to make sure your student is prepared for higher order thinking in upper grades and for standardized testing that is based on Common Core. I do have one small quibble that I hope is addressed in future printings. It is very difficult to distinguish the royal blue color from the purple color. You can do it if theyre side by side but if only one color is present on a page, you may find yourself a bit unsure (I know I was). Student books 154 pgs, pb. Teacher Manuals 212 pgs, pb. ~ Janice