Reinforcing The Critical Thinking Triangle in a Chapter Book - MindWing Concepts, Inc.

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Reinforcing The Critical Thinking Triangle in a Chapter Book

by Sheila Zagula November 03, 2016 4 min read 1 Comment

Be A Perfect Person... Book CoverStudents and I were recently discussing if anyone could really be “perfect.” I was reminded of Be A Perfect Person In Just Three Days! by Stephen Manes. This book was originally published in 1982 and remained a favorite read aloud of mine for many years. As I began to use the Story Grammar Marker®, this selection provided a concrete example of using the SGM® with a chapter book. It is the perfect match for a Complete Episode. From the very obvious Kick-Off to the lesson learned at the end, the book was an entertaining, fun read-aloud for students in grades 3 and 4.

Below, the book is outlined as a Complete Episode— expand on it as you wish. Each Attempt could also be mapped out as a Complete Episode.

Character IconCharacter: Milo Crinkley

Star Setting: library, neighborhood, home

ShoeKick-Off: The book, Be A Perfect Person In Just Three Days!, falls off the library shelf and hits Milo on the head (p.9)

Heart IconInternal Response: sore, confused, puzzled, hopeful

Thought BubbleThought Bubble: Thinks being perfect is a good thing as he is always knocking things over, dropping things… Being perfect, he would never get into trouble again! Imagine hearing, “Milo, you’re perfect.” (p. 14-16)

Plan IconPlan: Milo decides to follow Dr. Silverfish’s advice to become a perfect person. (p. 16)

Action IconAttempt #1: Milo wears broccoli around his neck (DC Milo discovers he can stand up for himself/He has courage! (p. 39)

Action IconAttempt #2: Milo does not eat or drink anything (except water) for 24 hours (DC Milo realizes he can do something just because he want to/He has willpower! (p. 55)

Action IconAttempt #3: Milo is told to do “absolutely nothing” for 24 hours

Consequence IconDirect Consequence: Milo falls asleep but learns it’s okay not to be perfect! (p. 69-73)

Resolution Icon Resolution: Pleased with himself and realizes that nobody is perfect… Milo is content to be himself just the way he is!

New Product StarburstPictures featured below are materials from our new product, The Critical Thinking Triangle in Action! Maryellen recently presented a WEBINAR focusing solely on the Critical Thinking Triangle® and the 5 elements that connect and interact among each other to enable students to think about their thinking. The new materials were introduced using Those Shoes by Maribeth Boelts.

The Critical Thinking Triangle® In Action! Thought Process Manipulative has been created because the Critical Thinking Triangle® is the crux of the Story Grammar Marker®, our tool for narrative development, story-telling, personal narratives, comprehension, writing and social communication.

This new tool makes it possible for children to actually manipulate, talk about and comprehend the elements of the Critical Thinking Triangle® including:

  1. Kick-Off or problem, unexpected happening resulting in a change to the setting
  2. Feelings or Emotions
  3. Mental States/Thinking verbs/thought process
  4. Plans/Intentions to determine actions
  5. Cohesive Ties (conjunctions) to build complex sentence structures to communicate the story

Critical Thinking Triangle with Callouts

Learning Scale Protocol ImageAs with all our materials, the flexibility for differentiating instruction with the SGM continues with this new product.

Also included is a Learning Scale Protocol which focuses on the sequential teaching of the Critical Thinking Triangle®, making progress monitoring of this crucial component easy to implement. Check out our website for a complete description of this new product.

Using the Initiating Event (Kick-Off)

ShoeThe book, Be A Perfect Person In Just Three Days!, falls off the library shelf and hits Milo on the head (p.9)

You could use any of the following approaches:

Picture 1

1. Pictures 1-2-3—These pictures show just the laminated Thought Bubble and four of the laminated Feelings Words… choose both components or focus on one at a time depending on the goals of your student(s).

Picture 2

Picture 3

2. Pictures 4-5-6—Using the laminated and clear-pocketed Student Thinking Mat, pictures 4-5 connect the thoughts of the Character, Milo, and his Feelings in reaction to the Kick-Off in his decision making to follow Dr. Silverfish’s instructions to become a perfect person. In picture 6 I have chosen a sentence frame (there are multiple ones to choose from in the new product) to help scaffold oral expression of the connection among the components. This aspect can also be tailored to meet the needs of your student(s).

Picture 4

Picture 5

Picture 6

Student Thinking Map3. Picture 7—Students who are able to independently infer and take perspective could engage in completing the Critical Thinking Triangle® (shown at right is the Student Thinking Map from The CTT® In Action! Set) orally or in written form (notes or complete sentences) to aid in discussions with peers by following the CTT®.

 Student Thinking Map Filled Out

Why did Milo decide to follow Dr. Silverfish’s advice? This question could be answered by students, such as, “He wanted to be perfect.”

However, the above examples clearly show how we could make the thoughts and feelings of Milo visible as he decided to follow the advice. This results in a greater understanding of the character’s motivation, a skill for comprehending stories and life.

As a teacher of 38 years, finding ways to teach inferencing skills and perspective taking to enhance reading comprehension was always a priority. This new hands-on approach using the SGM® Critical Thinking Triangle® gradually scaffolds students from the concrete to abstract.

As the above brief example shows, a wide range of skill levels can be addressed with the materials found in The Critical Thinking Triangle® in Action! Thought Process Manipulative.

Sheila Zagula
Sheila Zagula

Sheila Zagula works with MindWing Concepts in product development, drawing on her expertise and talents as well as many years of implementing the Story Grammar Marker® and related materials. Her teaching career spans thirty-eight years, most recently as literacy coach in the Westfield Massachusetts Public School System. Sheila has experience as an early childhood educator, a teacher of children with special needs, and a collaborative instructor within an inclusion framework serving children in grades K-5.

1 Response


December 06, 2016

I love the photos! It really helped to show me HOW to use this with students! A picture is certainly worth a thousand words. Thank You!

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