On the frontline: developing critical thinking dispositions through thinking routines for the middle school or high school common core classroom

Critical thinking dispositions are the habits of mind developed from real-life experiences and deliberate practice of specialized thinking routines. Students must learn to independently employ the appropriate thinking dispositions to specific critical thinking problems that they are faced with in order to be successful in the collegiate setting and in the workforce. The product of this project is a unit of study focused on World War II taught in an uncommon way. Instead of reading The Diary of Anne Frank, this unit of study puts a spotlight on a group of hidden figures, the Monuments Men. By teaching students about some of the most famous art pieces recovered by the Monuments Men, teachers will be able to facilitate the development of critical thinking dispositions in their students. The unit is broken up into Art Focuses, which target specific critical thinking dispositions. The Art Focuses include thinking routines and activities to encourage the development of the target critical thinking disposition. Each Focus is set up in an overview format in order to allow the teacher flexibility in planning and lesson delivery. There are three appendixes at the end of this project. Appendix A is the teacher edition, which is dedicated to how the unit is designed and how to use its components. Appendix B is the student edition, which is the student workbook that includes the readings and art pieces. Appendix C is the resource book, which includes all of the critical thinking routine graphic organizers, directions for assessments, rubrics, and an MLA guide. The Art Focuses are designed to help the busy teacher with one of the most overlooked, but critical educational problem, teaching students how to think.