Young Black female student smiling while writing with a yellow pencil.

Add Critical Thinking to Your Classroom: Student Self-Monitoring Activities

The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.

– Martin Luther King, Jr.

These Student Self-Monitoring exercises can be used in conjunction with your curriculum.

The below activities will foster the following:

1. Allow for more collaboration on rich content between students (student-centered)

2. Provide higher level thinking questions

3. Give ample wait time

4. Increase critical thinking through authentic instruction

Interactive Journal

Simply copying notes from the board is a low level thinking skill, so promote higher level thinking by providing appropriate graphic organizers, question stems, or reflective prompts, which help students recognize their strengths and strengthen their weaknesses through effective critical thinking.


Journal Data Goals

Students become their own progress monitors.
1. Students write down their goals for the year.
2. Students write down all of their grades.
3. Monitor with graphs and charts to view progress.
4. The goal is not to compare to one another, but to show growth within oneself.

Related Articles

Case Study: Merced Union High School District

Through its work with Inflexion, MUHSD is seeing strong results in student outcomes and in closing the opportunity gap for underserved students. California School Dashboard data show College/Career Indicator scores for African American, Hispanic, English Learners, students with disabilities, students who are homeless, and students who are socioeconomically disadvantaged are 16 to 29 points higher than the state average.

Passion. Pride. Promise. Two Leaders Help Pave the Way for Their Students & Communities

Tucked away in the hills of rural western Oregon, the Vernonia and Gaston school districts defy many of the stereotypes most of us hold when we think of rural schools. Their communities face both common and unique challenges. Vernonia Elementary Principal, Michelle Eagleson, and Gaston Superintendent, Summer Catino, share how their small schools and communities achieve greatness.

Student Cell Phone Policy: Best Practices for Student Success

As principal of Milwaukie High School, Carmen Gelman (now Director of Professional Development, Coalition of Oregon School Administrators, COSA) worked with the school community (including students) to ensure a firm but balanced approach to student cell phone use. We share their policy and rollout materials to inspire and guide you as you consider tackling this oft contentious topic.

Ditch the Clip: PBIS Alternatives to the Clip Chart

Clip charts have been a common classroom strategy for many years. Once considered an effective tool for displaying behavioral progress and adherence to classroom rules, they may not be as helpful as once thought. [These] strategies are inconsistent with a PBIS approach and, more importantly, can be harmful. [This resource from ‍The Center on PBIS] provide[s] alternative strategies that are evidence-based and more likely to improve student behavior while promoting a safe, positive classroom.

Portico Student Experience Survey: Measuring Belonging, Connection, Engagement

Let’s move away from an environment where kids are sorted, packaged, and labeled based on the perceptions of adults that barely knew them. Readiness and success should be defined by students’ engagement, adaptability, and what they can do with their knowledge. However, students need to feel a sense of belonging, connection, and engagement as well as demonstrate self-awareness, self-management, and well-being to achieve true readiness and success. This survey process is an important step in that direction.