Thinking at Every Desk by Derek Cabrera and Laura Colosi is an excellent, quick read that explains the four basic thinking skills that students need – Distinctions, Relationships, Systems and Patterns. The authors use the Yin Yang symbol to capture the interrelatedness of these four categories.
- Buy heavy duty page protectors and cut off top third.
- Draw a line down the center with a permanent marker. Mark one side “not.”
- If desired, print sticky labels of the YinYang symbol and stick this in the middle (see photo.)
- Provide students with a variety of items to sort by making distinctions. As you can see from the full lesson plan, we began with pictures, then moved to words, then to text evidence strips. Each time, have students use a dry erase marker to write on the left side of the pocket whatever the distinction or characteristic is that they will sort by.
- Circulate in the room to monitor what students are placing in each pocket. Because the pockets are see through, the learning is very visible.
- Students can store their pockets in a three-ring binder to use in future lessons.