Engaging Students in Critical Thinking
Our Instructional Focus at Ninety-One School is Critical Thinking. Our goal is to engage students in meaningful learning through activities that promote critical thinking. Critical thinking can be described as nonlinear, open-ended, and complex thinking; it allows for multiple responses, unspecified answers, various perspectives and interpretations, and recognition of order among chaos. Our intent is that are students become learners that don’t just have the knowledge of basic skills but learners who can create, evaluate, and interpret their learning.
How to support Critical Thinking at Home
In talking with many parents, they often ask, “How can I support this at home?” Below are some helpful tips and strategies to promote critical thinking at home.
Ask questions that lack a single correct answer, and ask them casually, rather than quizzing your child. For example, when you observe you child engaging in play activities or homework try asking them the following questions?
• Why did you choose to do it “that” way over doing it “this” way?
• What is a better way to play that game?
• How did that make you feel?
• What did you find hard about that problem?
• Can you explain it to me in another way?
In addition, parents can demonstrate critical thinking by pondering out loud the most efficient way to do household chores, why you chose one product over another at the store, monitoring your progress toward your personal goals, or talking about social issues that you observe in the community. Sharing with your child how you think and solve problems is the best way for you to instill similar thinking patterns in your children.
The ultimate goal is for our students to use critical-thinking strategies in the classroom and in everyday life without prompting from parents and teachers. Reasoning at high levels is one of the most valuable skills we can foster in children, one that will prepare them for success in all areas of their lives.
Thank you for your continued partnership.
Community Meeting Invitation: The Future of Our Schools
December 1st, 7-8pm @ Ninety- One School
What value do we place on education?
In our country?
In our state?
In our school district?
Are our students consistently and adequately prepared to forge their own future?
What is our sense of urgency when it comes to our children’s education?
What quality of education do we think our children deserve?
While answers to these questions are never as simple as we would hope, we need you to join the conversation. The series of town hall meetings posted (see link below) will address the realities facing our schools today and the impact it will have on our children.
We believe that every parent and invested community member should find a way to attend this meeting. The time has come for honest and focused conversation about what we can do to support the future of our schools and kids.
We are doing everything we can to accommodate and encourage your attendance:
• December 1st, 7-8pm @ Ninety-One School
• Free Childcare provided
• Additional meetings to choose from (select a meeting that is convenient)
• Spanish translation services at each meeting and a meeting specifically for Spanish speakers (Trost Elementary, November 19th)
If you have logistical questions you may contact Linda Martin:
Community Meeting Invitation
Ninety –One School Movie Night
We want to encourage all families to attend our Community Meeting on December 1st, from 7-8 pm. In order to make childcare as easy as possible we will be hosting a Movie Night for all children ages 3 and older.
We will be showing “Toy Story 3” in the Gold Gym beginning at 6:45. Bring your pillow and blanket to lie on the floor for the movie. Popcorn will be provided.
Please see Movie Night Flyer
Washington DC/ NYC 2011
Twenty-eight 7th and 8th grade students and ten parents, along with teachers Mr. Oyer and Mrs. Wilson, will be going on a field trip of a lifetime to Washington DC and New York City next June. To help raise money for the trip, the students are selling holiday wreaths and Entertainment books. If you are interested in buying either of these items, please contact the persons listed with each sale.
Holiday wreaths are made locally and are of very high quality. The wreaths are made with four different greens and pinecones. All wreaths are to be picked up at the Ninety-One School old bus shed. Students and their parents/guardians are asked to collect the amount of purchase at the time of the order. Checks should be made out to 91 East Coast Trip. Please contact Kathy Javier at (503)266-5983 or email her at email@example.com
Order Deadline Pick-Up On Between
Tuesday November, 16th . Tuesday 11/30 3:30 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.
Items Available Price
12” Wreath (Outside Diameter Approx. 22”) $15.00
16” Wreath (Outside Diameter Approx.28”) $20.00
Candy Cane (Approx. 20”) Specify right or left hook $20.00
Entertainment Book Sales
Students are selling Entertainment Books for the Portland area and also for the Greater Oregon area for $25. The Entertainment books will be sold until November 29. Please contact Ginny Forell at 503-634-2397 or Jennifer Cavender at 503-266-8578 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to purchase an Entertainment Book.
By far the favorite part of my day is when I get to walk through classrooms and see students actively learning. Here is just a sampling of my day.
- Second graders were working cooperatively on math games that support their math goals. Eighth grade mentors were facilitating the groups supporting and encouraging students.
- Fourth graders were busy in an Immigration Simulation that required them to walk in the shoes of immigrants just arriving to Ellis Island. Students were dressed up and engaged in the process of establishing citizenship.
- Seventh grade Math students were working in pairs discussing fraction story problems. They had to explain and defend their answers to multiple peers. By explaining their process I observed students self correcting errors as well as confidently explaining their thinking.
- Eighth grade U.S. History students were engaged in a Colony Simulation that required them to interact with each other as early settlement colonists. They were learning the hardships and historical events of early colonization by bringing history to life.
I continue to be impressed with the learning opportunities our teachers create for our students.
Today we unveiled our new positive behavior support program called "High Five." Students will be earning our High Five cards for following our five school expectations; Be Responsible, Be Respectful, Be Safe, Be Cooperative, and Be Engaged. Students who earn High Five cards will have opportunities to win classroom prizes, weekly school-wide prizes, Pizza with the Principal, and other larger prizes drawn throughout the school year.
Today I was able to welcome our Kinders by giving each of them their very own Ninety-One Bulldog t-shirt! This is a tradition that has been going on for several years. I had such a fun time handing them out and students were smiling from ear to ear when they got their very own.
What a wonderful start to the school year. As I continue to get into classrooms I am amazed by how our students are being challenged. Yesterday, I sat down in a first grade classroom only to realize the conversation they were having was quickly going over my head. Students were engaged in dialogue using words like pupa and chrysalis. Fearing a first grader might ask me about my reflections on the metamorphic process of a praying mantis, I humbly excused myself from the room. I am continually amazed at the capacity our children have to learn and Higher Level Thinking opportunities our teachers present to them.
Last night our school Board adopted out new school calendar, The calendar reflects a 14 day reduction in days necessary to offset the State School Fund deficit. Seven of the 14 days are student contact days. Though were are not happy about reducing the time our students are here in classes, we are committed to providing your child with the best educational experience possible. It is more important than ever that our students arrive to school on time and everyday. Thank you for your continued support of our school and our district. To read more information about the school calendar and to view the calendar online please visit Dr. Rose's Blog
I was able to spend a good amount of time in classrooms today. I am really enjoying being in the rooms. It is the best way for me to get to know the kids and their names. So here are a few highlights on the day:
- Kinder kiddos are adjusting well and quickly learning routines.
- First graders were busy writing in the journals.
- Second grade was learning about their community. My favorite line was, "Mr. Rodolph, did you know I live in Canby, OR?" "So do I," I replied. "YOU DO?!?" He said.
- Third graders are learning how to navigate those iPods.
- Fourth graders were busy answer questions about main idea and comprehension.
- Fifth graders were busy showing what they know in math and learning more about their peers.
- Sixth graders were using descriptive words to describe the weather. (I thought rainy about sums it up on most days?)
- Seventh and eighth graders were learning about geography, each other, and those rotten locker combinations.
I can honestly say this has been one of my favorite starts to the school year!
Ninety-One School's first day was a great success. It was so fun to see our students so excited about their teachers and classrooms. I was able to walk around to every class. I saw teachers engaging students in meaningful beginning of the year activities and learning. Students were eager to share with me their excitement. One second grade student told me, with a big smile on his face, "I have the best teacher in the whole school." I think his comment sums up my feelings for this staff. We really do have a school filled with "the best."
We had a great turn out for Coffee with the Principal. It was nice to meet more parents and students. Thank you to our PTA for sponsoring the event. We will have similar informal get- together's in the future.
A big thank you to our parent volunteers who helped our first graders with their very first experience in the cafeteria.