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Special education inclusion teacher in grades 4 and 5.

I can't tell you how often I

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I can't tell you how often I hear colleagues complain that children "just can't seem to problem solve anymore." More often than not, when they go outside, they don't know how to just pretend and play. Teaching them essential critical thinking strategies and truly showing them that the skills they are learning can go far beyond the textbook and into real life is more important than ever.

President, NJ Association for Middle Level Education

Executive Functions = Critical thinking

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I agree that we need to teach our students critical thinking strategies and give them plenty of opportunities to practice them. The Kepner Tregoe Organization has been selling these strategies and training executives in big corporations for years. TregoEd (their nonprofit foundation) offers a free tool that has the four step critical thinking process built in to problem solving scenarios. Students log into their class discussion, pick a point of view and are guided in a collaborative discussion to resolve the problem. It is a very engaging web 2.0 tool that asks students to identify and clarify the issues, prioritize what is important and synthesize what should be done. Over the years we have applied the process to the scenarios as well as real world problems. It is a great (and easy) way to get those higher order thinking skills built into your class discussions.

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