Monday, November 10, 2014

Product Review: Mentoring Minds- Critical Thinking for Life: Flip Charts and Strategy Wheels

Greetings Friends!

Today I am going to be doing a product review of a company called Mentoring Minds. They create some pretty amazing products to help teachers better engage their students. I was sent two samples to look over and review. (They are the ONLY compensation for this post. You can request a SCHOOL sample HERE and click on 'Request School Sample' at the bottom on the page.)

As I looked over their website, I was impressed with the research that has gone into each of their resources. These people know what they are talking about. In fact, they have an entire page dedicated to their results. (Click HERE to visit).

The first product I looked at was their Critical Thinking High-Order Thinking Strategies Guide. My first impression of this resource is that it VERY user-friendly. There is a "How to Use" section, which goes over what "Hows" and "Whys". From the Guide, it states that: "The Critical Thinking Strategies Guide is a resource that offers a multitude of questioning stems, strategies, and activities to promote critical and creative thinking". And this flip chart does NOT disappoint. It is 33 pages, packed with charts, question stems, and suggested activities.

I was pretty skeptical of its practicality when I first opened it. I kept thinking, as a teacher, where would I keep this so that I used it. It isn't cheap (they are bout $13.00 each). But, as I have spent time looking through it and being engaged as a teacher in ways I increase my students' thinking, I realized that I would keep it in my computer bag/on my desk- where ever I was doing my lesson planning for the next day.

It has stems for all the subject areas (math, writing, science, reading, social studies). It also have TONS of ideas for Differentiation and Assessment. This is one sample that I won't be donating to the FREE pile in the teacher's lounge. So, this is one that I think you could invest in and not be disappointed! Click HERE to see the ordering page. And, again, I get NOTHING if you order, so this isn't a sales pitch.

The second resource I was sent was the D.O.K. Wheel (Depth of Knowledge for those like me who are not up on their acronyms). I will be honest here. I am not a fan of  Wheel resources from ANY company. They are big and clunky. This ones isn't much better is that regard.

However, I will say that it is packed to the hilt with information. It seems like the Cliff's Notes of the flip books they sell. I honestly wouldn't pay for this resource- not because it isn't well done and extremely useful, but simply because I don't like the format of the wheel.

However, at about 2/3 the cost of the flip book AND the ease of having the information at your fingertips without flipping a gazillion pages, many will enjoy this little gem. I should throw in here that my wheel was double-sided and has the Revised Bloom's Taxonomy as well. I don't know if the purchased versions have both or not as mine is a sample. Okay, just checked on-line and they come double-sided! It is nice to have all 6 levels in an easy to read format. That is a true bonus and a plus for this Wheel! You can learn more about their wheel products HERE.

This company carries many other resources that look amazing, engaging, and designed around the principals of critical thinking. Be sure to check out their entire line of resources HERE or by click on their name below:

If you have any questions about these resources, let me know. Thanks for stopping by. Have a fantastic day! WAHOO!

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