Information is important, and thinking critically with and about information is also important. We want our students at OCSI to think critically.


What, exactly, is critical thinking? The authors of Making Thinking Visible identify activities that make up the thinking we want to happen:

  1. brain-1294854_640Observing closely and describing what’s there.
  2. Building explanations and interpretations.
  3. Reasoning with evidence.
  4. Making connections.
  5. Considering different viewpoints and perspectives.
  6. Capturing the heart and forming conclusions.
  7. Wondering and asking questions.
  8. Uncovering complexity and going beneath the surface of things.
  9. Identifying patterns and making generalizations.
  10. Generating possibilities and alternatives.
  11. Evaluating evidence arguments, and actions.
  12. Formulating plans and monitoring actions.
  13. Identifying claims, assumptions, and bias.
  14. Clarifying priorities, conditions, and what is known.
OCSI secondary students did this recently, for example when…
  • 6th grade historians observed how apple slices they packed in salt were preserved and considered connections to why and how the ancient Egyptians preserved the bodies of their dead.
  • 7th grade scientists considered the question, “How are these molecules the same, and how are they different?”
  • 8th grade mathematicians were asked to explain why they wrote the problem they did, what the parts mean, and what kind of answer would make sense.
  • 9th grade historians learning about Hammurabi’s code came up with examples of modern civil and criminal law cases
  • 10th grade Honors English students made connections between themes in the novel and issues in modern life or current events.
  • 11th grade AP English students constructing argument essays, researched both sides of their chosen issue.
  • 12th grade Bible scholars gave presentations on a Biblical perspective of an issue, including ways the Bible can be misused regarding the issue.
  • High school woodworkers, completing technical drawings and beginning construction of their scroll saw puzzles, learned to problem solve when issues arrive on a project or in life. Often, projects run longer than expected or errors occur. Students (woodworkers) then have to think critically to solve these issues. With strong critical thinking skills, students (woodworkers) can use their planned details with logic to not only solve problems, but even to foresee them before they occur, and avoid them.
Kim Essenburg, curriculum coordinator
Equipping students to walk with God and impact the world for Him
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P.S. Check out the elementary’s new T-shirts which feature our 5 expected student outcomes!