Jumpstart! Thinking Skills And Problem Solving by Steve Bowkett

1457a33983b86d8.jpg Author Steve Bowkett
Isbn 9781138783317
File size 2.4 MB
Year 2014
Pages 150
Language English
File format PDF
Category psychology


JUMPSTART! THINKING SKILLS AND PROBLEM SOLVING Jumpstart! Thinking Skills and Problem Solving presents a collection of simple to use, multi-sensory games and activities which will jumpstart students’ understanding of problem solving in action. If you are one of the thousands of teachers looking for a range of practical and fun ideas to engage pupils in effective, proactive learning, then this is the perfect book for you. Specifically written to help teachers work within the guidelines of the new curriculum, the book will help pupils to explore and learn a wide range of problem-solving and independent thinking skills in an atmosphere of fun, mutual support and tolerance. Sections within the book reflect key areas of the new curriculum and offer a treasure trove of ideas for building problem-solving and thinking skills into daily teaching. Tried and tested methods of helping children ‘learn how to learn’ are provided. Areas covered include: • • • • building problem-solving confidence thinking and problem solving in literacy and science problem solving in philosophy emotional resourcefulness and life skills. This indispensable, practical book celebrates the joy of critical and independent thinking and will become a vital resource for all classroom teachers at Key Stages 2 and 3. Steve Bowkett is a former teacher and the author of numerous books for teachers including the bestselling Jumpstart! Creativity. He also works as an educational consultant specialising in the areas of thinking skills and problem solving, creativity and literacy. WWW.EBOOK777.COM Jumpstart! Jumpstart! Thinking Skills and Problem Solving Games and activities for ages 7–14 Steve Bowkett Jumpstart! Maths (2nd Edition) Maths activities and games for ages 5–14 John Taylor Jumpstart! Grammar Games and activities for ages 6–14 Pie Corbett and Julia Strong Jumpstart! Spanish and Italian Engaging activities for ages 7–12 Catherine Watts and Hilary Phillips Jumpstart! French and German Engaging activities for ages 7–12 Catherine Watts and Hilary Phillips Jumpstart! Drama Games and activities for ages 5–11 Teresa Cremin, Roger McDonald, Emma Goff and Louise Blakemore Jumpstart! Storymaking Games and activities for ages 7–12 Pie Corbett Jumpstart! Poetry Games and activities for ages 7–12 Pie Corbett Jumpstart! Creativity Games and activities for ages 7–14 Steve Bowkett Jumpstart! ICT ICT activities and games for ages 7–14 John Taylor Jumpstart! Numeracy Maths activities and games for ages 5–14 John Taylor Jumpstart! Literacy Key Stage 2/3 literacy games Pie Corbett Jumpstart! Science Games and activities for ages 5–11 Rosemary Feasey WWW.EBOOK777.COM JUMPSTART! THINKING SKILLS AND PROBLEM SOLVING GAMES AND ACTIVITIES FOR AGES 7–14 Steve Bowkett WWW.EBOOK777.COM First published 2015 by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN and by Routledge 711 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10017 Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business © 2015 Steve Bowkett The right of Steve Bowkett to be identified as author of this work has been asserted by him in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. Trademark notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for identification and explanation without intent to infringe. British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Library of Congress Cataloguing in Publication Data Bowkett, Stephen. Jumpstart! Thinking skills and problem solving : games and activities for ages 7-14 / Steve Bowkett. pages cm – (Jumpstart!) 1. Critical thinking–Study and teaching. 2. Problem solving–Study and teaching. 3. Activity programs in education. I. Title. LB1590.3.B6945 2014 370.15'2–dc23 2014008663 ISBN: 978-1-138-78327-0 (hbk) ISBN: 978-1-138-78331-7 (pbk) ISBN: 978-1-315-76873-1 (ebk) Typeset in Palatino and Scala Sans by Saxon Graphics Ltd, Derby WWW.EBOOK777.COM Contents List of figures Acknowledgements Introduction viii ix xi 1 Jumpstart the problem-solving attitude Blocks on thinking The thinking ladder 4Cs thinking The first snatched thought Letting your imagination run away with you Really listening The problem-solving process Describing and defining Mistakes are useful The Merlin Game Sowing the seed Decision trees Point of view Mental zoom tool The while game What if The power of open questions The learning’s in the detail The circle game How did it go? Praise where it’s due 1 3 5 8 12 15 17 19 21 23 25 26 28 31 32 34 35 37 40 42 45 46 2 Jumpstart thinking and problem solving in literacy Writer as hero ‘I can’t think of anything to write!’ 50 50 52 v WWW.EBOOK777.COM Contents Bare bones writing Fixing problems Visualise! Sliding scale Are you persuaded? Metawriting Assessing writing 55 56 58 60 61 63 65 3 Jumpstart thinking and problem solving in science Observation games Spotting patterns Categories of questions Assumptions Bias Scientific language in advertising Causes and correlations Defining and classifying Common sense Infoscraps How relevant? Hypothesising and inferring 67 67 68 68 70 72 74 75 76 77 78 79 81 4 Jumpstart thinking and problem solving in philosophy How do you eat an elephant? The fortunately-unfortunately game The if-then game Playing with syllogisms Big ideas Crafting questions The enquiry process The right moves Moral dilemmas 84 84 85 86 87 91 93 95 98 99 5 Jumpstart thinking and problem solving in emotional resourcefulness Core skills for emotional resourcefulness ‘As I think, so I am’ – Noticing metaphors It never rains but it pours vi WWW.EBOOK777.COM 101 101 103 105 Contents What we think we know Values Positive purposes Safe haven What shape is that feeling? The world inside Anchors away! Control room Change the memory Time traveller Where do you stand? Dear diary Character stew Gathering treasures The wise observer Wisdom tales Ready, aim, go Here and now Bibliography 107 108 110 111 112 114 115 116 117 119 120 123 124 124 125 127 128 130 131 vii WWW.EBOOK777.COM List of figures 0.1 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 1.8 1.9 1.10 2.1 4.1 4.2 5.1 5.2 5.3 Natural curiosity Bloom’s taxonomy Ambiguous shapes Scootems Story tree Topic tree What could it be? Question star Coin flip Spot the difference Circle game Metawriting Syllogisms Linking game with concepts Emotion matrix What’s going on? Wizzy the Wizard viii WWW.EBOOK777.COM xv 7 9 22 29 30 32 39 40 41 43 64 89 92 102 107 126 Acknowledgements Grateful thanks to my friend Tony Hitchman for helping me out (again) by creating the artwork for Figures 1.3, 1.7, 1.8, 4.2, 5.2 and 5.3. ix WWW.EBOOK777.COM This page intentionally left blank WWW.EBOOK777.COM Introduction We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them. Albert Einstein Obviously we all think; it is a process that is fundamental to our understanding of the world and our sense of who we are. How we think as much as what we think shapes the judgements we form, the conclusions we reach and the decisions we make. It has been wisely said that while the events of our lives help to mould us as people, it is the choices we make that define us as human beings. Effective and reasoned thinking helps us to make the wisest choices. As such the purpose of this book is to offer you a collection of insights, ideas, activities and games that will aim to develop your children’s ability to think more effectively. The emphasis is on problem solving within the areas of literacy, science, philosophy and emotional resourcefulness, with an initial section dealing with what I’ve called the ‘problem-solving attitude’. My emphasis throughout has been on the processes of thinking that support and guide children’s understanding of subject content rather than any substantial reiteration of the content itself. As such in the literacy section, for example, there will be advice and activities on ‘editing skills’ without explanation of the technicalities of spelling, punctuation and grammar since my presumption has been that such concepts will be covered anyway within the normal syllabus. A glance through the book will show you that many of the thinking skills required to tackle problems in these areas tend to overlap: certain competencies and dispositions apply generally, not just across the school curriculum but beyond it more broadly in our xi WWW.EBOOK777.COM Jumpstart! Thinking Skills and Problem Solving lives. Thus the activities are designed to complement one another so that developing observation skills in science for instance will prime children to notice the visual difference between your and you’re or teacher’s and teachers’ in literacy (having observed such a distinction children can then be encouraged to wonder what it means). The overall intention therefore is to lay the groundwork to equip children with a ‘thinking toolkit’ that will be of both immediate and long-lasting benefit. Developing thinking skills means honing certain potentials the children already possess while introducing them to new strategies for thinking. Ideally this takes place within a classroom environment where children feel happy and confident to contribute their ideas. This is vitally important, since two of the greatest inhibitors to the development of effective thinking are: • Children’s fear of the wrong answer. This is the other side of the ‘competitive coin’ whereby some children predicate their success on the number of ‘right answers’ they can summon up from memory on demand combined with making comparative judgements of others. However, simply to know and reiterate facts is not particularly high-level thinking and does not per se demonstrate clear understanding or the ability to think either creatively or critically. • Teachers doing the children’s thinking for them: spoon-feeding ideas so that children become passive and unquestioning recipients of facts rather than active explorers of knowledge. The clear solution to these problems is for us as educators to let the children do the thinking as far as possible and to value the efforts they make – which brings us back to the whole point of this book. CREATIVE AND CRITICAL THINKING Some books on thinking make a distinction between so-called creative thinking and critical thinking skills. My view is that such a separation should be simply a matter of convenience for purposes xii WWW.EBOOK777.COM Introduction of explanation. With that in mind, commonly listed critical thinking skills include: • • • • • • • • comparing and contrasting sequencing predicting inferring attributing prioritising determining cause and effect deconstructing/analysing. These kinds of thinking are more deliberate and methodical in their nature; i.e. we need to consciously work our way towards a conclusion. The so-called creative kinds of thinking operate at a more subconscious level. This means that assimilation and progress towards an outcome take place ‘behind the scenes’; our minds are busy even if we aren’t aware of it. A common example is when you want to remember a fact – say someone’s name – and have that ‘on the tip of the tongue’ feeling. In those circumstances trying hard to remember generally doesn’t work. Usually it’s better just to let go of the task but with the clear intention that the name will come to you. Most often it will, and without any effort at all. The thinking that went on to bring that name into consciousness was a subconscious search for that one piece of information (among the countless millions lodged in the memory). Interestingly, when an answer ‘pops out of the blue’ like this we often know it is the right name – or that the idea is a good one – partly because we have a feeling that is the case and also because usually we can remember all kinds of other things linked to the idea we have just recalled. The point of mentioning all this is to emphasise the notion that effective thinking is as much a matter of intuition and gut instinct as it is of analysis and reasoning. And this is as pertinent to the sciences as it is to the arts – reading about the history of scientific xiii WWW.EBOOK777.COM Jumpstart! Thinking Skills and Problem Solving discoveries and breakthroughs will show that ‘moments of illumination’ or ‘Eureka insights’ are common. Creative kinds of thinking include: • recognising patterns • looking at things in different ways (taking a multiple perspective) • intuiting (noticing your gut feelings and having a sense of what works) • linking – making fresh connections between previously disparate ideas • speculating • visualising (which combines the subconscious free flow of ideas with the conscious construction of mental scenarios). Practically speaking creative and critical ways of thinking work hand in hand to the benefit of both. When working with children I tell them that the name of the game is ‘how many ideas can we have and what use can we make of them?’ So at the outset the purpose of our thinking is to generate ideas, options and possibilities, which constitute the ‘raw material’ that we can subsequently examine, organise and refine in a more critical and analytical way. The name of the game works equally well in the arts and the sciences. So for instance when children are asked to write a story, strategies that allow them to have lots of ideas to begin with will be most useful. The decisions they make as to which ideas to use (and why) come later. Similarly the ‘creative flow’ when writing should not be inhibited by more analytical concerns about the technical accuracy of the sentences themselves – the editing and refining at the word and sentence level can be done later – which is what drafting is all about. (This process applies particularly to less experienced writers. Children who are trying to get everything right as they write will find the writing process more difficult and frustrating and far less enjoyable. More experienced writers will tend to produce more polished work at the outset, since the rules will have become embedded in their minds, though reviewing and reworking is of course usually still necessary.) xiv WWW.EBOOK777.COM Introduction Similarly, asking children to suggest hypotheses in science to account for an observed phenomenon (such as why the moon has phases or why thunder follows lightning) is essentially a creative act. Ideas brainstormed at this stage are not judged or tested yet since the purpose is to gather a range of possibilities to investigate later. Another useful maxim in this context is ‘to have our best ideas we need to have lots of ideas’. Deciding which idea or ideas are ‘best’ (i.e. those that most closely account for the facts) forms the more experimental/analytical stage of the scientific process. All this said, the bedrock of our thinking is our natural curiosity: with very little prompting we feel the need to find out more. The basic skills necessary to satisfy that curiosity are noticing and questioning, which find focus and direction through our amazing resources of memory and imagination. As we discover more we become more ‘informed’, which is to say we actively form greater meanings and understandings about the world, which in turn enrich our store of memories and empower our imagination to conceive of further, greater possibilities. noticing and questioning reasoning/logical-sequential critical intuitive/connections – multiple viewpoints creative thinking skills memory and imagination natural curiosity Figure 0.1 Natural curiosity xv WWW.EBOOK777.COM Jumpstart! Thinking Skills and Problem Solving Core principles for developing thinking/problem solving We’ve already touched on the notion that developing thinking depends heavily on children feeling safe to have ideas and being allowed to work out solutions for themselves. These are two key elements of the ethos for thinking that needs to be established in the classroom (if it is not already there). The ability to think independently and actively goes hand in hand with a certain degree of self-confidence and raised self-esteem in the children. Such an ethos – the spirit within which good thinking happens – can be created in a number of ways: Making the thinking explicit This means that as far as possible we feed back to the child what has gone on in his mind based on his verbal responses, facial expressions and so on. This is not as difficult as it sounds. Simply saying something like, ‘Well done, you’ve given us three clues that you’ve noticed as to why you think the picture was taken in the autumn’ helps all the children in the class to understand the structure of inferential thinking – searching for further clues to support an idea or insight triggered by a first observation. Making children’s thinking explicit in this way very quickly gives them the ‘how to’ approach we wish to cultivate. Value it before you evaluate Children are still learning (aren’t we all!) and learn to think most effectively when their thinking – the effort they put into it as well as its outcomes – is valued. This doesn’t mean that we automatically have to agree with their opinions or leave shaky reasoning uncorrected, but it does mean that appreciating their contribution because they’ve bothered to have a go will act as an encouragement for them to keep trying. This point also raises the important distinction between achievement and attainment. If a child puts a lot of time and effort into thinking an idea through then his achievement is commendable even if ultimately the idea itself is radically altered or even discarded. Similarly, if a child who is usually a reluctant writer finds the motivation from somewhere to write a two-page story, even if the work is largely illegible and full of inaccuracies, that child’s xvi WWW.EBOOK777.COM Introduction achievement merits praise even if the attainment score we must give is low. Thinking time The idea of giving children time to think is very familiar now in many classrooms. Most obviously it takes the form of us as teachers resisting the temptation to jump in with ideas of our own or with the right answer. As children come to know more about how to think, long silences following a question will tend to indicate reflectiveness rather than the fact that they haven’t got a clue. By the same token, during a discussion or an idea-generating game it’s always worth reinforcing the fact that children can ask for more thinking time. Telling the class that ‘It’s OK to say that you need more time to think’ is very reassuring to the children and is a right (rather than a privilege) that is rarely abused. I usually find that when I allow children thinking time instead of putting them under pressure to answer straight away, they come back shortly afterwards with a considered response. The right to change your mind An old saying has it that ‘four things come not back; the spoken word, the sped arrow, the past life, and the neglected opportunity’. That said, whatever words have been spoken children should be able to amend their ideas, opinions, judgements etc. in light of further thought: this is actually a key element of P4C – developing philosophical enquiry with children. With my particular interest in creative writing, I encourage children to ‘show their workings’: rather than scribble out a word or sentence so it can’t be read, I ask instead that perceived mistakes simply have a line put through them so that I can see the ‘before’ and ‘after’ choices and thus gain some insight into the child’s reasoning. Also, before marking their work I sometimes ask children to review it and make margin notes about anything they would do differently if they were writing it now. Children are often very insightful about how they would go about improving their work – and this of course creates another opportunity to value their ideas. A community of thinkers The well-worn idea that ‘we’re all in this together’ certainly applies in the thinking classroom. Though outside forces may invoke us to xvii WWW.EBOOK777.COM Jumpstart! Thinking Skills and Problem Solving cultivate ‘the brightest and the best’ so that we might ‘run and fight in the global race’, at heart surely we would ideally like to see all children enjoy their learning, support and celebrate each other’s efforts, take pride in their achievements and endeavour to fulfil their own individual potentials. As such the most powerful thinking classroom contains a community of thinkers, where being better than someone else is less important than being the best that you can be and where individual contributions are invited and appreciated because being an effective thinker means taking an interest in and respecting what other people think. Thoughts and feelings are linked Everything said so far underpins the fact that our thoughts and feelings are connected. This is a simple notion to state but the idea has many implications. As I’ve mentioned, the most immediate of these is that children will become better thinkers when they feel safe to think and when their ideas are encouraged and valued. This in turn implies the notion that to encourage means ‘to give courage to’; it is something that often enough we need to supply to those children who don’t bring it with them into the classroom for themselves. (Interestingly the word courage has etymological links with ‘heart’, which reinforces the thinking–feeling synergy that I’m talking about.) So in a thinking classroom children are learning not just to exercise greater choice and control when it comes to using their imaginations, but are also learning to deal more capably with unhelpful or negative emotions in the face of setbacks or other difficulties – hence the section on problem solving and emotional resourcefulness. USING THE BOOK As in my companion volume Jumpstart! Creativity (2007), the activities in this book can be used individually or in a progressive sequence: they have been organised to facilitate either approach. A game might constitute a ‘mind warm-up’ to jumpstart a lesson and get the children into learning mode, or could form the substance of the lesson itself. Linked activities can be interwoven with your own xviii WWW.EBOOK777.COM Introduction programmes of work across a range of subjects or serve as the basis for a short course in developing thinking in its own right. I have tried to ensure that the activities are of practical value and applicable across a wide age and ability range, and that they can be launched with minimal preparation. Some of them are extensions of ideas found in Jumpstart! Creativity (ibid.) while others are new to this book. Finally, I would encourage you to adapt and refine any ideas you find here to suit your own particular needs and requirements. Not only will this make the book a more useful resource, but it will also give good experience in the kinds of thinking you are aiming to teach the children! xix WWW.EBOOK777.COM

Author Steve Bowkett Isbn 9781138783317 File size 2.4 MB Year 2014 Pages 150 Language English File format PDF Category Psychology Book Description: FacebookTwitterGoogle+TumblrDiggMySpaceShare umpstart! Thinking Skills and Problem Solving presents a collection of simple to use, multi-sensory games and activities which will jumpstart students’ understanding of problem solving in action. If you are one of the thousands of teachers looking for a range of practical and fun ideas to engage pupils in effective proactive learning, then this is the perfect book for you.   Specifically written to help teachers work within the guidelines of the new curriculum, activities in the book will help pupils to explore and learn a wide range of problem solving and independent thinking skills in an atmosphere of fun, mutual support and tolerance.   Sections within the book reflect key areas of the new curriculum and offer a treasure trove of ideas for building problem solving and thinking skills into daily teaching.and provide tried and tested methods of helping children ‘learn how to learn’.     Download (2.4 MB) Psychological Testing: A Practical Introduction Creating Self-Regulated Learners: Strategies to Strengthen Students’ Self-Awareness and Learning Skills Conversation Analysis and Early Childhood Education Introduction to Psychology The Early Years Curriculum: The UK context and beyond Load more posts

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