How Teaching Your Students to Think Lessens Your Load

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TEACHER FREEBIE: Thinking Stems Poster Pack

Have you ever noticed that at the end of the school day, you and your fellow teachers can barely drag yourselves out to the parking lot, so exhausted and drained from the day? And yet most of our students skip out of the classroom, seemingly without a care.

They still have so much energy left! How?!

I think one of the reasons this happens is that, as teachers, we are so used to carrying the thinking load for our students. We worry that not all of our concepts are being taught because we haven’t given our students the time to simply think. We believe giving them this time will slow down our curriculum (in reality, it speeds things up in the long term). By doing this, we’re putting a great burden and a lot of anxiety on our own shoulders.

What we should be doing instead is showing our students how to carry the thinking load themselves, demonstrating the value of productive struggle, and putting a stop to teacher-dependent learners. This is a must—both for teacher sanity and student success!

A method that really worked with my students was teaching them how to think through modeling. That’s right, we have to teach them how to think. It seems both obvious and crazy, right?

After all, if they can’t think, they can’t learn.

One of my favorite tools to use is thinking stems. Thinking stems provide students with sentence frames. These “starters” help students use comprehension strategies to come up with unique thoughts about what they’re reading.

Reading is a social act, one that expects students to have the ability to think deeply about the texts they’re reading. That’s why it is so important for them to be THINKERS. It’s not easy to explain such complex ideas to our readers, yet knowing how these ideas work and how to use them is of utmost importance.

When we encourage students to dig deep and really THINK about what they’re reading, we see their understanding increase and the growth they’ll experience in both their reading and writing.

Thinking stems really are a great way to start your students on the path to this increased understanding. And I want to start you off with a pack of FREE thinking stems posters I’ve put together. They’re great class discussion starters and can serve as reference points during independent reading.

My Thinking Stems pack includes eight posters that offer sentence stems on the following strategies:
Reading Voice/Thinking Voice
Background Knowledge
Making Connections

Interested? Click here to request your free poster pack

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