Critical Literacy: Evaluative Thinking in Pre-K

As educators, we strive daily to help students think critically. One of the chief ways we do this is through our questioning. When we ask higher-level questions, students must utilize higher order skills such as: Evaluating, Analyzing, and Creating—the top tiers of Bloom’s Taxonomy.

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It is helpful to plan such questions in advance.

In the lesson below, preschool teacher Courtney Thompson planned a lesson to help students EVALUATE. She read the popular text Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems, in which the character – the Pigeon – tries to persuade the bus driver to let him drive the bus. She then asked students to evaluate when she asked the following:

Would you let the pigeon drive the bus?

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Why or Why not?

Students were directed to think about what the pigeon was saying in the story and then to EVALUATE whether or not they would let the pigeon drive the bus. They had to draw a picture that showed their decision. Many students said they wouldn’t let the pigeon drive for reasons such as “he would crash.” Others said they would let him drive the bus.

Take a look at the video below for a snippet of the lesson:

Other ways that teachers can easily plan for EVALUATING during shared reading include:

Judging character decisions/motivations

Exploring other ways to solve problems in the story

Wondering about how problems could have been avoided

Rating a character’s reaction

We are thrilled to see this work beginning in Pre-K, and it paves the way for more complex evaluative thinking in future years.

What ways are you engaging your young learners in evaluation?

~ Darla and Jen

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