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Creating Thinking Classrooms


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Table of Contents

Preface About the Authors PART I. UNDERSTAND THE ISSUES Chapter 1. Opportunities and Challenges Defining the Challenges The Urgency to Improve The Many Directions for Change Three Potential Pitfalls Three Promising Directions Concluding Thoughts Notes PART II. REORIENT THE FOUNDATIONS: WHY THINKING IS AT THE HEART OF MEANINGFUL LEARNING Chapter 2. Thinking Is the Key Basic Orientations to Teaching and Learning Alternative Sources of Curriculum Content Differing Views of Student Learning Contrasting Roles for Teachers Implications for an Inquiry Unit Concluding Thoughts Notes Chapter 3. Critical, Creative, and Collaborative Dimensions of Thinking The Power of an Integrated Approach to Thinking The Critical Dimension The Creative Dimension The Collaborative Dimension Concluding Thoughts Note Chapter 4. A Framework for Nurturing Thinking Classrooms A Comprehensive Approach to Implementation Shape Climate to Support Thinking Create Opportunities for Thinking Build Capacity for Thinking Provide Guidance That Informs Thinking Concluding Thoughts Note PART III. REFOCUS THE GOALS: WHAT SCHOOLS MUST ACHIEVE TO BETTER PREPARE STUDENTS Chapter 5. From Knowledge to Deep Understanding What Does It Mean to Understand Deeply? Why Do We Have This Problem? Why Is Teaching for Deep Understanding Important? What Practices Nurture Deep Understanding? Concluding Thoughts Note Chapter 6. From Skill to Real-Life Competency What Is Meant by Real-Life Competencies? Why Are Students Not Better Prepared? What Practices Nurture Real-Life Competence? Concluding Thoughts Notes Chapter 7. From Attitude to Genuine Commitment What Do We Mean by Genuine Commitment? Why Is Teaching for Genuine Commitment Important? What Practices Nurture Genuine Commitment? Concluding Thoughts Notes PART IV. ALIGN WITH GUIDING PRINCIPLES: HOW TEACHERS CAN BEST SUPPORT 21ST CENTURY LEARNING Chapter 8. Engage Students What Does Engaging Students Mean? Why Is It Important to Engage Students Beyond Compliance and Mere Interest? What Practices Support Educational Engagement? Concluding Thoughts Notes Chapter 9. Sustain Inquiry What Is Sustained Inquiry? Why Is It Important to Sustain Inquiry? What Practices Promote Sustained Inquiry? Concluding Thoughts Notes Chapter 10. Nurture Self-Regulated Learners What Is Self-Regulated Learning? Why Is Self-Regulated Learning Important? What Practices Nurture Self-Regulated Learners? Concluding Thoughts Notes Chapter 11. Create Assessment-Rich Learning What's Wrong With the Current Assessment Landscape? What Is Assessment-Rich Learning? Why Is Assessment-Rich Learning Important? What Practices Support Assessment-Rich Learning? Concluding Thoughts Chapter 12. Enhance Learning Through Digital Technology What Is Digitally Enhanced Learning? Why Is Digitally Enhanced Learning Important? Concluding Thoughts Note PART V. SUPPORT TEACHER GROWTH Chapter 13. Leading a Renovation, Not a Revolution Why Think Renovation? How to Lead an Educational Renovation What Practices Support Coherent, Comprehensive, and Continuous Professional Inquiry? Concluding Thoughts Notes References Index

About the Author

Garfield Gini-Newman blends humor with a deep understanding of effective curriculum design centered on the infusion of critical thinking for all. As an associate professor at OISE/University of Toronto and a senior national consultant with The Critical Thinking Consortium, Garfield has worked with thousands of teachers across grades and subjects, helping them to frame learning around engaging and provocative activities and authentic assessments. Requests for Garfield's services have taken him from Asia to the Middle East, Europe, the Caribbean, and across North America. His interest in effective teaching and learning has led him to actively explore the challenges and opportunities presented by teaching and learning in the digital age. Garfield has spoken across Canada and internationally on critical thinking, brain compatible classrooms, curriculum design and effective assessment practice, and nurturing 21st century skills in a digital world. In addition to his work at the University of Toronto and delivering workshops, Garfield has also authored several articles, chapters in books, and seven textbooks and has taught in the faculties of education at York University and the University of British Columbia. His most recent book co-authored with Roland Case, Creating Thinking Classrooms has received widespread praise from leading educators across Canada and internationally. Roland Case is currently on leave from his position of Professor of Curriculum and Social Studies at Simon Fraser University. He is a co-founder of TC2-The Critical Thinking Consortium-an association of 35 school districts, post-secondary institutions, and teacher organizations working to support critical thinking from kindergarten to graduate school. Over the last ten years, Roland has worked with over 15,000 educators to embed critical thinking into their teaching practices. Roland is co-editor of the Canadian Anthology of Social Studies and of the Critical Challenges Across the Curriculum, an award winning series of 20 teaching resources for critical thinking.


I loved the book and highly recommend it. This book can help school leaders, teachers, and professional developers understand and appreciate what it means and what it takes to promote a thinking classroom. It is substantive, practical, well grounded in theory and practice. A must read.

-- Giselle O. Martin-Kniep, President, Learner-Centered Initiatives

My work with Garfield Gini-Newman and Roland Case spans almost two decades. As a principal and community superintendent, I observed firsthand how transformational their work is in the classroom, in the school community, and on a systemic level. Creating Thinking Classrooms takes theory and research and places it directly into the hands of practitioners by offering thoughtful and immediately-useful strategies. Not only does this work transform student engagement and achievement, but it also transforms thinking for both teachers and their students. Teaching and learning go from passive acquisition of information to active, purposeful, and deliberate interaction with the curriculum. It is a must-read!

-- Ursula A. Hermann, Ph.D, retired principal and community superintendent

What impresses me most about Creating Thinking Classrooms is the notion of framing the retooling of schools as renovation or reinvigoration rather than as revolution. Too many seem to ignore that there are many good things worth preserving in our schools and others that need to be reframed or recast to give them greater currency. This book builds on what has worked and makes it better. The message - being purposeful and patiently focused on long-term success - is a powerful one that needs to be heard above the din.

Creating Thinking Classrooms is an outstanding resource for educational leaders. The plethora of charts and examples illustrate in practical detail how some concepts can show up or be implemented. Very practical, very user-friendly.

-- David Chojnacki, Executive Director

Creating Thinking Classrooms is a must-read for all instructional leaders wanting to use a new lens on sustained school improvement. This book helps educators establish a thinking orientation, provides enriching goals, and lays out invigorating practices. Too often there is a focus to abandon practices rather than strengthen them in educational reform. However, Roland Case and Garfield-Gini Newman challenge such thinking by suggesting a renovation mindset. Through such a mindset, a renewal takes place in classrooms that is transformational, actionable, and meaningful.

-- Barbara Woodward, Principal

Creating Thinking Classrooms offered our faculty practical and powerful ways to nurture creative, critical, and collaborative thinking throughout our school. Our teachers found the ideas clear, concise, and relevant. The book offers ways to "make little tweaks to the good things we are already doing" that will "enhance learning substantially." Our application of the book's student-centered approach and clear criteria has had a significant impact on our school.

-- Teresa Belisle, Director of Learning Research and Development

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