Paula Johnson

Building Critical Thinking through Visual Literacy – Podcast Episode 140 | Classnotes Podcast 140

Classnotes Podcast (May 19, 2014) In most classrooms, the days of memorization-focused teaching are gone. Though, we are still in the midst of a transition to building students’ critical thinking skills. Critical thinking leads students to understand and apply information instead of just remembering facts. Paula Johnson, M.A., an IDRA education associate, describes how teachers can foster critical thinking through the integrated use of: substantive student conversations, visual literacy and higher-order questioning. She also gives examples of how teachers can lead structured and unstructured conversations and how to use graphic organizers and foldables to draw more out of students so that they learn to apply what they are learning to their lives.

Paula is interviewed by Bradley Scott, Ph.D. director of the IDRA South Central Collaborative for Equity.

Show length: 13:58

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How’s a Picture Worth 1,000 Words in Math and Science? (PowerPoint)
By Paula Martin Johnson, M.A., IDRA

Visual Interpretation in Science – Strategies for English Language Learners
By Paula Johnson, M.A., & Veronica Betancourt, M.A., IDRA Newsletter

Critical Thinking in Education – Integrating Critical Thinking into Learning Activities Across the Curriculum (PowerPoint)
By Eric Rusten & Susan Schuman

Substantive Conversations in the Classroom (PowerPoint)

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Show Notes

  • Paula talks about the evolution of math and science classroom standards away from a traditional approach of asking students closed, fact-based questions and toward a model that better develops students’ critical-thinking skills by asking them to justify how and why they solved a problem in a particular way.

  • Paula explains how inference can be used to improve students’ visual literacy and further develop higher-order thinking.

  • Paula discusses an IDRA presentation, “How a Picture is Worth a Thousand Words in Math and Science,” which includes example exercises for classroom turn and talks, as well as a sample chart of questions that challenge students to share their opinions and demonstrate problem-solving strategies.

  • Paula offers two final takeaways for teachers: (1) give students a variety of scenarios with visuals, and (2) be patient and model examples and behaviors for students to follow.