Thinking Skills and Problem-Solving Teaching Resources

Thinking Skills and Problem-Solving Teaching Resources

The suggested resources, picture books and videos support the teaching of thinking skills strategies, including critically and creatively solving problems.

Thinking Skills and Problem-Solving Teaching Resources

Thinking Skills and Problem-Solving in the Classroom

According to the IB learner profile, effective thinkers “use critical and creative thinking skills to analyse and take responsible action on complex problems. [They] exercise initiative in making reasoned, ethical decisions.”

Critical thinking is a necessary skill for children. We use thinking skills strategies every day. In the classroom, this involves thinking independently and being able to critically and creatively solve problems. They should have opportunities to analyse and evaluate information and draw their own conclusions. It is also important for children to be open-minded and listen to the opinions of others while still drawing their own interpretation. 

Check out the post 25 of the Best Books for Thinkers and Problem-Solvers for more great book suggestions.

Characteristics of Using Thinking Skills Strategies

We can also be on the lookout for balanced traits in our students. The characteristics, which will exhibit in different ways depending on their age, including:

  • Using knowledge to solve problems independently
  • Predicting outcomes
  • Thinking things through
  • Making good decisions
  • Trying new ways
  • Making mistakes and trying again
  • Recognising breakthroughs
  • Using trial and error to find a solution

Key Benefits of Being a Critical Thinker

Teaching critical and creative thinking skills strategies will help your students perform better in school. Other benefits of critical thinking skills and problem-solving include:

  • evaluate information and making reasoned decisions
  • assessing strength and weaknesses independently through self-reflection
  • analysing ideas and making connections
  • developing creativity
  • asking questions, testing their theories and making changes.
  • using empathy to develop effective collaboration and cooperation skills 
  • improving comprehension skills
  • developing self-directed and self-monitoring skills
  • considering other perspectives and making more analytical decisions
  • becoming an effective communicator

Resources for Teaching Thinking Skills Strategies

In this section, you will find resources to support your teaching of thinking skills and problem-solving strategies. You will find a list of books, short videos, online resources and reading questions.

Thinkers Picture Books

These books present independent and effective thinkers in different situations. They illustrate the characters:

  • solving problems independently
  • making reasoned and thought out decisions
  • predicting outcomes
  • analysing ideas and evaluating information
  • thinking creatively and critically
  • considering other perspectives than their own
  • effective communicating
  • working collaboratively

After the book suggestions, there is a list of questions you can use during a read-aloud session.

Thinkers Discussion Questions

  • Describe the different ways the characters were effective thinkers and problem-solvers
  • Which character was the more creative thinker? Why?
  • How did [character] solve the problem? What strategies did they use?
  • Why do you think [character] was an effective problem solver?
  • Why did [character’s] idea work in the end? Did they think about how their decisions would affect the outcome and other characters?
  • Did [character] make good decisions? Is there anything they could have done differently?
  • Did [character] work independently to solve the problem or did they work collaboratively? Was this the best strategy?
  • Does a thinker have to be brave, risk-taker….?
  • Did their decision making surprise you? Were they creative in their thinking?
  • How did [character’s] way of thinking impact the outcome of the story?
  • How could the [character] have done things differently?

You can also ask open-ended questions to evaluate your students critical and creative thinking. Here are a few examples:

  • Why do you think that? Explain your thoughts.
  • Describe how you came to that answer/conclusion?
  • Tell me more about your idea/results/opinion. 
  • How could you improve on your ideas? Could you use different methods or strategies?
  • Are there any other ways to show your idea/results/opinion?

Thinkers and Problem-Solvers Online Resources

Thinkers Discussion Videos

These short videos can be used as discussion starters for talking about thinking skills strategies. Watch the video before playing them to your students. Some of them are simple while others are more complex or abstract.

In Conclusion...

How do you teach critical and creative thinking skills strategies in your classroom? Do you have any effective resources or book suggestions? Tell me about it in the comments!

Remember to check out the post 25 of the Best Books for Thinkers and Problem-Solvers.

Related Posts

Further Reading

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The Children’s Library Lady has over 200 picture books on large variety of topics. You will find specific book, author and illustrator information, as well as resources. You can also browse themed books lists and explore all the books on the website. 

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