Friday, November 20, 2015

2015-2016 Focus: #TeachingHOT

#Teaching HOT is our instructional focus this year!  Teaching Higher Order Thinking (HOT) skills is essential for our students today.  Our common core standards and Project Based Learning (PBL) projects require higher order thinking.  In addition, many high stakes tests such as the ACT and ASVAB require higher order thinking.  The wording of these tests calls upon students to process, reason, seek evidence, reflect, and generate knowledge based on what they read/write, whether in a scientific context, mathematical context, historical context, etc., so it is very important to “explicitly” teach these skills within the classroom.  Furthermore, many students have jobs or will have jobs that require them to think “on their feet” or “outside of the box.”  

It takes more mental rigor to plan for and teach higher order thinking within a teacher’s content area, but it is worth it for the students in the end.  Munford High School’s administrators, teachers, and students have bought into teaching HOT.  We discuss “how” to incorporate teaching HOT in our bi-weekly DEN talks.  For example, teachers share student work samples, and students are invited to the Den Talks to share how they are affected by learning in this way.  Teachers have opportunities to collaboratively plan and present HOT lessons with their peers. This allows teachers to gain information about HOT strategies that they might not have been privy to prior to the presentations.  Our teachers also have HOT word walls in their classrooms, which serve as an anchor chart throughout the day.  Our students live in a world where they are expected to think, and our goal is to provide them with the tools to help them do so.