Teach Students How to Think

When teaching a lesson, it is important that students be actively thinking in order to learn the material and connect it to their lives. Therefore, it is also important that teachers teach students how to think. There are four levels of thought for any given lesson: evaluation, synthesis, analysis and application. Learning how to incorporate these four levels of thought in a lesson plan will help every lesson be successful.

First Level of Thought: Evaluation of Information

The evaluation thought process for any lesson is the beginning building blocks for higher level thought. Skills that involve evaluation thinking include deciding, ranking, defending, verifying and critiquing. This is a basic level of thought that simply looks at the information for what it is. Reading about information, collecting some research on a topic and understanding the basics of the topic involve evaluation.

Connecting Information to Prior Knowledge: Synthesis of Information

To synthesize information, students must go beyond the basic information and do something with the knowledge. Students should use prior knowledge to connect to new knowledge during this synthesizing thought process. Some things that require a synthesis thought process include hypothesizing, inferring, predicting, imagining, estimating and inventing.

Teaching Students to Analyze Information

Analyzing information takes student thought to another level, requiring them to understand the basic information, connect it to their lives through synthesis and then extend that information to additional information. Activities that require students to use analysis include compare/contrast, creating an anthology, classifying information and sequencing information.

Application of Information to Student’s Life

The final level of thought that all teachers should strive to have their students achieve is that of application. To apply information learned to a new situation requires the highest level thought and understanding. Students who are capable of demonstrating, illustrating, generalizing or showing how to do something have effectively achieved this level of thought and understanding.

Using Levels of Thought For an Effective Lesson Plan

By incorporating each level of thought in a single lesson plan, any teacher will be able to ensure student learning. With only rare exceptions, lessons should be split into four sections, with an activity devoted to build each level of thought independently. Not taking the time to achieve the highest thought levels will result in partially learned material that may or may not stick with students and have any impact upon their lives.

Teachers should ensure that each lesson they teach includes a basic focus on each of four different levels of thought. Starting with an introduction, students will be required to utilize evaluation thought. Next, students should be encouraged to connect new knowledge to previous knowledge through synthesis. Deepening understanding comes through analysis and finally, students apply new knowledge to future experiences through application.

5 More Tips for Writing Resumes

Employers may see hundreds of resumes every day, so applicants should make every effort to write resumes that set them apart. Using the techniques below can help punch up an otherwise dull, forgettable resume.

Keep it Formal

Resumes are formal documents that require formal language. Using idioms, jargon, or slang in a resume presents an unprofessional image that most employers frown upon. Using conversational language, personal pronouns (I, me, you), or contractions (didn’t, aren’t) are also too informal for use in a good resume.

Use Formatting That Works

A resume is a brief list of education, skills, and work experiences that employers leaf through relatively quickly before making a decision on whether the applicant submitting it should be considered for a position. It should be concise and easy to read, or else it runs the risk of being tossed aside, never to be reviewed again. Resume writers should include only the most important details and make adequate use of white space so that employers are not bogged down by heavy text and too much information. Clear headings, bullet points, and simple fonts direct the eye down the page and help emphasize relevant information.

Include Numbers and Data

Numbers and data are another way to show what job applicants have done in concrete terms. If a job applicant managed a retail store that sold $1 million in clothing and accessories per year, he should include the sales volume in his resume. Including numbers not only helps quantify the responsibility that each previous position required, but also shows the employer that the applicant pays attention to both the big picture and the details of his work.

Stick To Active Language

Resumes that use repetitive, passive language are boring to read and do not catch the attention of potential employers. Instead of listing “Used spreadsheets to record monthly sales” as a previous job responsibility, an applicant could more actively say, “Increased monthly sales volume by tracking successful selling methods.” Not only does this rewording sound more active, but it also emphasizes the way the responsibility of recording sales matters for the employer.

Get a Second Opinion

After proofreading at least twice, an applicant should show his resume to a friend, colleague, or, if possible, someone in the field he is hoping to enter. Fresh eyes are quicker to catch errors and inconsistency, and readers can offer insight that resume writers might never have thought of themselves. Applicants should always be careful with whom they accept advice from, though – someone who never held a job that pays over minimum wage might not have the experience to comment on a resume for a senior management position.

Political Cartoons in History Lesson Plans

Using visuals in history lesson plans promotes student analysis skills and activates higher level thinking abilities. Activities involving political cartoons, works of art, and photographs are easy to put together and complement other parts of a teaching unit. Additionally, these activities are enjoyed by students.

Political Cartoons in American History

Although political cartoons in American History are often identified with the great 19th century cartoonist Thomas Nast, every generation saw the use of such media in influencing thinking. Whether it was a depiction of a snake cut into pieces with the caption “Join, or Die” by Ben Franklin or a cartoon depicting Andrew Jackson as King George III, political cartoons help students understand the key issues within lesson plan units.

After discussing the role and impact of political cartoons, have students use the internet or history texts to find other examples relating to the unit under study. Demonstrate that political cartoons are still used to elicit reader responses by exhibiting contemporary cartoons from newspapers and magazines. Ask students to share any similarities and differences (19th century and early 20th century cartoons are often more difficult to interpret and frequently have several messages).

The purpose of the lesson plan should be to develop acute powers of observation. From this will flow analysis based on the historical facts already taught.

Campaign Literature

American History is full of campaign literature including posters, buttons, and other advertisement. An 1896 campaign “card,” for example, printed on behalf of the McKinley campaign, used pictures and bold print phrases that differentiated McKinley from William Jennings Bryan. The “card” addressed tariff issues as well as monetary concerns.

Old campaign buttons also help to relate candidates to key issues while at other times they might have seemed bland: why did everyone “like Ike” in 1952? In both American History and World History classes, a creative assignment might be to ask students to create their own buttons or bumper sticks. When teaching the ancient world, teachers might say, “Develop a bumper sticker one of the Roman emperors could put on his chariot.”

Paintings and Old Photographs

Although some famous historically-themed paintings were created more to glorify an event or person and thus perpetuate historical myths, they are still a good source to encourage student observation and analysis. What were the people in the painting wearing? Does this indicate a level of prosperity? What action in the painting does the artist want the audience to focus on? Have students initially develop their own questions and then write a brief analysis of the painting.

The same can be done with old photographs. Ask students to bring old family photographs to class for discussion. Photographs may depict old neighborhoods – perhaps ethnic enclaves in American cities, or some of the first suburbs after 1947. Students can be shown how to use photographs as historical sources and how they further illustrate an understanding of the past.

When Art Changes with the Time

The May 29th, 1943 edition of The Saturday Evening Post featured a Norman Rockwell cover: the iconic “Rosie the Riveter.” Ask students to compare the propaganda message of “Rosie” to American women with later 1950s Rockwell depictions of American women as happy housewives. Lesson plans can explore how cartoons, posters, and other media were used as propaganda. This was particularly true in World War I and World War II.

Another area students may wish to explore involves military recruitment posters used throughout the 20th century and the changing role of “Uncle Sam” in those depictions. The bottom line is that enough material exists, at least in American History, to incorporate fun and creative activities into lesson plans that encourage observation, analysis, and high level skills.