Thursday, January 28, 2016

Want Critical Thinkers? Try ThinkCERCA

As an ELA Coach, it is usual for me to receive many forwarded emails. I received one from my building principal last week. I am so glad that I took the time to read the email. +ThinkCERCA
"is a flexible critical thinking and literacy framework that empowers whole school teams to improve student growth across disciplines by engaging students," according to their website. Intrigued, I asked our wonderful Freshman teacher, +Andrea Moser  (#shoutout!), to try out the platform using the FREE trial items. I was awed by her enthusiastic reply and actions.

Andrea replied immediately and began learning how to use the system. She read background information and watched videos. The very next day, she implemented +ThinkCERCA  with her Pre-AP Freshman. This particular group of students grasped the power of the platform and is excited about using the full cycle in class. Andrea and I talked about how helpful it could be if the platform was used across the disciplines. Using a common platform and a common language for the details of writing could really empower a school! 

While this platform would not replace our current Common Core-aligned curriculum, it could be an advantageous addition to our ELA lab classes. All of our middle school students receive ten hours of instruction in both ELA and Math. +ThinkCERCA  could be useful as it is possible to group students by ability or by grade level. These groups then work through a CERCA cycle. 

             The CERCA Framework teaches students how to: make claims, evaluate evidence, explain                   their reasoning, develop counterarguments, and choose words that will appeal to their                           audience. What’s more, the framework strengthens speaking and listening skills through                     peer-to-peer discussion and debate."  

Teachers can receive a FREE poster just by visiting their website!  Click here  
Signing up is FREE and takes less than 30 seconds. Try out the free close reading and academic writing items and decide for your school if helping your students to think critically is worth the expense. I know that I am intrigued.

Suzanne M. Rogers, M.Ed

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