Critical thinking is imperative in the real world, but it can often be difficult to teach these skills to children. Since January, Kallista has been using Evan-Moor’s Daily Higher-Order Thinking Grade 4 to stretch her skills. Read on to find out more about these short daily excersies and how they’ve worked for her.
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The Daily Higher-Order Thinking book is available in both a physical book, as well as an enhanced E-book, which is what we are using. It also comes in versions for grades 1 to 6, which means you can use it for many years and grow with it.
There are lessons for Monday to Friday for 30 weeks, although if you are homeschooling to a 4-day week, you can simply adjust as needed according to your schedule. You can print out the worksheets, as we did, or with the enhanced e-book, you can have your child mark their answers right on screen over the PDFs. My children use screens for other work so I’ve printed out the daily tasks and put them in a ring-binder. This way they can simply take out what they are working on and do it wherever they are comfortable. Each lesson is one page long, so they’re easy to take along to do at the library, on the train, or outdoors.
There are a variety of activities such as fill-in-the-blanks, drawing, inferencing from pictures, imagining what might happen in the future, logic and visual puzzles, word play, summaries, poetry, conjecture, designing, and so much more.
In addition to the lessons themselves, there are:
- Ten Tips for Tackling Tough Tasks (great hints for students)
- Information about how to use the book (great for teachers)
- Information about higher-order thinking skills
- Answer keys (one of my pet peeves are lessons in which the answer keys aren’t provided)
- Behavioural Verb Definitions (each lesson is based on one of these)
How We Use These Lessons
Each lesson should take about 20 minutes to complete, with many able to be done in a shorter time. We all love this as it means the lesson is not long enough to be considered ‘a drag’ but yet is just enough time to get the brain in gear and thinking more critically. It’s great when both child and parent are happy!
My children tend to rotate their time on the PC for some of their morning lessons, and this is where Daily Higher-Order Thinking came in handy. It was easy for Kallista to grab her daily sheet and work on it ‘between’ lessons when she was done some paperwork and waiting for her brother to finish his math or Latin on the PC. I would often find her sitting on the floor or at the table working away without having to be prompted to do them.
What We Like About Daily Higher-Order Thinking
What originally attracted me to this book was that it covers a few different subjects:
- language arts
- social studies
By being cross-curricular, this means there’s variation so that Kallista doesn’t grow bored or frustrated with just one topic, and it teaches that higher-level thinking isn’t only applied to one area of life.
Because these are worksheets, it means I have time to sit and correct Kallista’s work (sometimes a rarity with online programs or subjects where we all sit together). I can see how she’s doing and talk with her about it; it’s prompted some interesting discussions.
Because this is a US-based course, and my children are living in the UK being raised by a Canadian mom and Northern Irish dad, it gives us a different perspective. There have been a couple of assignments which would have been marked as wrong in the States…however, because Kallista could explain her thinking to me, I couldn’t argue with her from her viewpoint given the information provided in the lesson, her knowledge bases, and experience.
This turned out to be a fantastic way to show critical thinking and how it really works, and why others’ opinions should always be respected. It showed that there could be two truths given the backgrounds of different people. Real life isn’t always black and white.
It took Kallista a little while to get used to having a different style of activity each day that required a different way of thinking, but now that she knows there isn’t a set ‘pattern,’ she has a broader form of thinking when approaching her ‘Dailies.’ She really enjoys the creative aspects, as well as the exercises where she gives her own opinion.
There’s a good balance of writing and other types of answers to draw on children’s strengths and overcome their weaknesses. There’s scope for interpretation, while still verifying facts.
Kallista will continue to use Daily Higher-Order Thinking for grade 4 as I would like for her to continue building her critical thinking skills so that she can be successful as she grows, and into her future.
Where To Purchase Daily Higher-Order Thinking
Daily Higher-Order Thinking, Grade 4 as well as the entire range for grades 1-6 can be found on: