Comprehensive Guide to Classroom Activities to Help Students Develop the Essential Skills

Comprehensive Guide to Classroom Activities to Help Students Develop the Essential Skills

Critical Thinking Skills enables a being to understand the logical connections between ideas, identify, construct and evaluate arguments, detect inconsistencies and common mistakes in reasoning. Mentioned below are few activities to help students with the development of Critical thinking:

- Keep it Real: This open-ended concept is simple and serves as an excellent segue into problem-based learning. Challenge students to identify and cooperatively solve a real problem in their schools or communities. You may set the parameters, including a time limit, materials and physical boundaries.

- Barometer-Taking a Stand on Controversial Issues: When posed with a thought-provoking prompt, students line themselves up along a U-shaped continuum representing where they stand on that issue. The sides of the U are opposite extremes, with the middle being neutral. The teacher starts a discussion by giving equal opportunity for individuals in each area of the continuum to speak about their stand. The students use “I” statements when stating their opinion.

- The Worst Case Scenario: Construct a scenario in which students would need to work together and solve problems to succeed, like being stranded on a deserted island or getting lost at sea/jungle/town. Ask them to work together and come out with a solution that ensures everyone arrives safely. You might ask them to come up with a list of 10 must-have items that would help them most, or a creative passage to safety. Encourage them to vote everyone must agree to the final solution.

- If You Build it: This team-building game is flexible. Simply divide students into teams and give them equal amounts of a certain material, like pipe cleaners, blocks, or even dried spaghetti and marshmallows. Then, give them something to construct. The challenge can be variable (think: Which team can build the tallest, structurally-sound castle? Which team can build a castle the fastest?).

You can recycle this activity throughout the year by adapting the challenge or materials to specific content areas.

- Zoom: Zoom is a classic classroom cooperative game that never seems to go out of style. Simply form students into a circle and give each a unique picture of an object, animal or whatever else suits your fancy. You begin a story that incorporates whatever happens to be on your assigned photo. The next student continues the story, incorporating their photo, and so on.

Inquiry Based learning activities help students to reflect back and get a better grip on their knowledge by getting assessed along with learning. Also, these activities promote Student Engagement as class participation is at its max while conducting them.

Few activities are mentioned below.

- Stand Up Sit Down: Teachers can use this to help students differentiate between any two categories. For instance, when a teacher is trying to help her students distinguish between common nouns and proper nouns, she would give an example then instruct them to either stand up if it is a common noun or sit down if it is a proper noun. This is a great way to see how much of your class is actually grasping the material. It’s also a great way to get your students’ blood flowing to keep them alert and engaged.

- 3-2-1: This activity is very quick so it’s perfect when you’re pressed for time but still need to give your students a chance to process the material. First you’ll have them write three facts they learned about the topic. Next, two questions they still have about the topic that might not have been covered in class. Finally, have your students write one opinion they have about the material.

- Quick Writes: Studies show that the proper ratio of direct instruction to reflection time for students is ten to two. That means that for every ten minutes of instruction teachers need to provide students with two minutes for reflection. This activity is a great way to provide students with that much needed reflection time! In this activity, the teacher asks a question about a topic or concept that has just been taught. Then the student produces a written response and either shares it with a neighbor or is invited to share it with the entire class.

- Publish and share: Not an activity but a continuous task which if done rightly can help students for a long time. As the idea is that Inquiry-based classrooms share knowledge. This can be accomplished via a class wiki, blogs, and websites. Students understand how to embed articles and projects onto the internet or class network so its shared by everyone. They accept that part of their responsibility as a student is to ask questions about these shared materials, read and comment on them, and use them as resources. We all grow when one of us grows.

Entrepreneurship is not a skill but an act which leads to attainment of many skills, knowledge, information and a sense of running a business which bring the responsibility of being the authoritative person. These activities may be apt for the older students or can be modified according to the age adaptability.

- The Business Project: Divide students in teams and assign all the teams a same topic (say starting a cafe). Now the teams have to make a blue print of how they are going to start with their business on the assigned topic. What will be their course of action to generate revenue. How the investments will be raised and so. Students have to come up with different ideas to top among all the teams and All the business activities that they will include in the blueprint will help them identify the needs of a business.     

- Ask students to define and write down their top five goals. In order to increase effectiveness and feeling of accomplishment, make sure that each goal is S.M.A.R.T (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely).  Follow it with making them write down five actions necessary to accomplish these goals. Don’t forget to put them up somewhere where you and your children can easily see them. Encourage and support your children in reaching their defined goals and be sure to enjoy the rewards together. This is to help them to initiate with the critical and creative thinking as they are being asked to come up with actions they need to do in order to achieve their goals.

Share the activities you conduct in your classroom! Make a mention in the comment section below!

About the Author
Author: Priyanka Gupta
Priyanka is a blogger by profession and has an increasing interest to write about the edtech space. While writing she keeps in mind the educators to come up with right resources and ideas which might be relevant for them in relation to effective use of technology in their profession and institutions/classrooms.
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