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Elementary GATEWAY April 2024 Newsletter


    Students participating in Tier 3 Gateway groups learn and practice a different critical thinking skill each week. Evaluative thinking is one of the skills introduced during a 7-week rotation.  Following the PETS program, students are introduced to evaluative thinking with “Jordan the Judge” who teaches us to “think like a judge.”  

    This skill is necessary for problem solving, not only in academics, but in social learning as well.  When making a decision, there are often several good choices, but how do you make the best choice?  Students are introduced to the concepts of criterion-based evaluative thinking.  In this type of thinking, students aim for the best solution based on factual criteria.  The steps to evaluative thinking are:

    • Determine the problem
    • Brainstorm possible solutions
    • Develop your criteria 
    • Judge the best answer

    First grade learners are introduced to evaluative thinking by determining which item to purchase from a list of several good choices.  The first step was for students to consider which items were necessary, then consider the cost and personal preferences.

    Second and Third graders exercised evaluative thinking by learning how to develop criteria, or what should be considered, when making decisions.  In this process, criteria should be measurable, observable and based on facts. Students were presented with a “community problem” to solve and a list of possible solutions.  We developed criteria to consider such as, “which solution would be the quickest to accomplish” or “which solution would help the most people?” The final step was to judge and vote for the best solution based on our criteria.  


  • Community Corner

    Each newsletter we will post a question and share responses/feedback from the previous question. 

    Don't miss this opportunity to share your answers!

    From February:

    In our last newsletter we asked: Other than Sudoku puzzles, are there any other puzzles that your child likes to do at home? 

    Here are a few responses:

    • Dot Link(connect the dots)
    • Brain Games
    • Kanoodle puzzles(critical thinking)

    April Question

    Evaluative thinking requires constantly reflecting and questioning to make an informed decision.  Students enjoyed sharing their own experiences with making the best decision when more than one good choice was offered.  Engage your child in a conversation about a time when evaluative thinking helped you make the best decision.  What criteria helped guide you to judge the best solution?

    Click here, and please feel free to share an example of when your family has used evaluative thinking.