9. The 4 C’s- Critical Thinking (1/4)


Blog Post Agenda:

1.  THE 4 C’s
4. END OF BLOG POST BONUS (Pearltrees) 🙂

1.  THE 4 C’s


You’ve probably already heard the new buzz phrase “4 C’s”, but what exactly does it mean and how we should address it in the classroom?

The world has changed dramatically since we were in school. Today, new graduates are expected to show mastery of the 4Cs.

The 4 C’s are:

  • Creativity and Innovation The sky’s the limit, right?
  • Communication Got it?
  • Collaboration In the age of speed we need to exponentially show productivity, create, and learn and this cannot be done faster than by building on each other’s knowledge, by sharing, and team working.
  • Critical Thinking & Problem Solving Critical thinking encompasses the process of evaluating the information and reconstructing thinking. It includes a plethora of skills like evaluating, analysis, inference, evaluation, explanation, and meta-cognition.


Critical Thinking & Creating with Web 2

I am reserving this post for one of the 4Cs, which is CRITICAL THINKING and I will be discussing the rest of them in the next three blog posts. This section was part of my presentation at the Summer Institute (June, 19th, 2013) in my school district, Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools, NC, and teachers seemed to find it very helpful.

Critical thinking means discerning judgment. It can be traced back to the ancient Greek philosopher Socrates. Following the essence of the Socratic Seminar, a teacher who fosters critical thinking asks questions that stimulate thinking crucial to the construction and assessment of knowledge.

Critical thinking is a skill that we can teach to our students through exercise and practice. It refers to the intellectual skills and activities related to evaluating information as well as evaluating our thought in strategic ways.

All of our students think in a way or another but teachers need to assess the depth of their students’ thinking and ask themselves whether or not their students really think critically, whether or not they are able to evaluate the information they come across, and whether or not they can make connections between what they learn and the real world.

The first 1,20 seconds of this YouTube clip, explains very well why developing critical thinking is no easy task. Also, you can find here a great definition of critical thinking.

Critical Thinking as defined by Partnership for 21st century skills (P21).

Critical Thinking (p21


a) Blogging

Ms. Tripsas Terrific Techies

Blogging (Ms. Tripsa’s Terrific Techies– class blog sample)

Bloggers are critical thinkers when they:

-think deeply to make relevant connections
-ask quality and clarification questions
-use evidence and reasoning to support thinking
-analyze, reason, and evaluate
-synthetize diverse ideas
-focus on details to derive meaning
-engage in reflective thinking
-question the credibility, accuracy, and relevancy of information and sources
-are willing to consider multiple perspectives
-value and respect ideas of others
-collaborate with others
-communicate clearly and accurately
-reflect on learning
-think independently and in concert with others


b) Mind mapping

bubbl.us (brainstorming and creative thinking)

Pearltrees (sample pearltree on critical thinking)

Coggle (mind mapping)

Text2mindmap and popplet(mind mapping, sample)

Thinglink (similar to Glogster, makes images interactive)

mindomo (creative thinking and mind mapping)

By using thinking maps students make relevant connections, examine, and evaluate. Students can indicate connections by the way they arrange things, by the symbols and colors they use. Mind maps can be used to organize, explore, analyze and evaluate concepts and ideas, and to improve problem solving.

Mind mapping improves memory retention and it is a good tool for visual and kinesthetic learners. It helps students think critically especially when asked to represent abstract concepts.

Check out a great thinking map to find a ton of resources regarding critical thinking here. Pearltrees definitely seems to be a great tool to use!

c) Search engines


bing (from search to research)

Kidrex (safe search for kids)

Search engines support critical thinking when students are asked to take into account and evaluate the credibility, accuracy, and relevancy of information and sources, as required by Common Core.

I came across a fabulous resource on this topic which is called From Search to Research: Developing Critical Thinking through Web Research Skills. It can be downloaded here. Its authors did a fabulous job explaining how and why search engines support critical thinking. The bottom line is that teachers need to teach their students that, just like in real life, they cannot take for granted the information they come across. They really need to ask themselves questions like: Who said that? What poof do I have showing that a specific statement is true? How accurate and how complete the information I came across is? In order to be able to do that, students need to possess a series of skills, and teachers need to embark on a certain pathway to teach them all these things.



Pearltrees is a great Web 2.0 tool for a series of reasons. It is a free, visual, and collaborative library that allows users to collect web content and organize it so that they would have all their favorite web pages, photos and notes at their fingertips. It features a unique visual interface. It can play the role of a mind map, but it is also an awesome social media curation tool since it allows users to collect, organize, and share any URL they find online. Users have access to these resources even offline. It can be embedded or shared on Facebook and twitter and it can be accessed via desktop computers, iPads or iPhones. It really makes browsing through favorite things a fast and simple task. Last but not least, by inviting others to your pearltree they have the ability to help you build and grow a much richer pearltree. Check out here a great pearltree on critical thinking. 🙂 🙂
Also, you can find more directions on how it works here.

Until next time get creative, be inspired, and grow! 🙂

If you liked this post, remember that you can follow me via email. 🙂
To get my future posts via email (one post a month), you can subscribe by entering your email address in the box found on the right side of this screen. I hope the info I share with you through my blog will help your students at least as much as it has helped mine.


This entry was posted in 21st century skills, Blogging, Educational Technology, Instructional Strategies, iPad, Second Language Learners, Video Tutorials, Web 2.0 tools. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to 9. The 4 C’s- Critical Thinking (1/4)

  1. Pingback: Arts Advocacy – Everyone’s Job! | paulkfoxusc

  2. paulkfox says:


    I love your material in blogs #9, 10, 11 and 12! Can I use your Venn diagram in my blog?

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