Within the William & Mary curriculum units, specific teaching models are used to strengthen students' critical thinking skills. Each of the models is used within the context of a particular unit of study. Each of the models is flexible and may be adapted to use in many classroom lessons. The models may be downloaded for classroom use, maintaining the Center for Gifted Education logo on any copies that are made. Training in the use of these models can be arranged by contacting the Center.
The Literature Web is a model designed to guide interpretation of a literature selection by encouraging a reader to connect personal response with particular elements of the text. The web may be completed independently and/or as a tool for discussion. Recommended use is to have students complete the web independently and then share ideas in a small group, followed by a teacher-facilitated debriefing. The web has five components:
- Key Words: interesting, unfamiliar, striking, or particularly important words and phrases contained within the text
- Feelings: the reader's feelings, with discussion of specific text details inspiring them; the characters' feelings; and the feelings the reader infers the author intended to inspire
- Ideas: major themes and main ideas of the text; key concepts
- Images and Symbols: notable sensory images in the text, "pictures" in they reader's mind and the text that inspired them, symbols for abstract ideas
- Structure: the form and structure of the writing and how they contribute to meaning; may identify such features as use of unusual time sequence in narrative, such as flashbacks, use of voice, use of figurative language, etc.; style of writing
Literature Web [pdf]
Literature Web example [pdf]
The Hamburger Model uses the familiar metaphor of a sandwich to help students construct a paragraph or essay. Students begin by stating their point of view on the issue in question (the top bun). They then provide reasons, or evidence, to support their claim; they should try to incorporate at least three supportive reasons (the "patties"). Elaboration on the reasons provides additional detail (the "fixings"). A concluding sentence or paragraph wraps up the sandwich (the bottom bun).
The Dagwood Model is an extended version of the sandwich metaphor (i.e. the famous sandwich of the cartoon character). This model is designed to help students construct a persuasive essay which also addresses the arguments of the contrasting viewpoint. Thus, the sandwich contains multiple layers of "patties" or reasons and their contrasting viewpoints, as well as many "fixings" or elaborations.
Dagwood Model [pdf]
The Vocabulary Web is a tool for exploring words in depth. It asks students to investigate a single word in detail, finding its definition, synonyms and antonyms, and etymological information. With this information, students then identify "word families," or other words using the same meaning-based stems as the original word; and they provide an example of the word, which may be a sentence or analogy using the word, a visual or dramatic representation, or another creative form.
Paul's (1992) Elements of Reasoning is a model for critical thinking and emphasizes the following eight elements: issue, purpose, point of view, assumptions, concepts, evidence, inferences, and implications or consequences. Teachers may wish to introduce these terms to students, using a familiar issue such as something being discussed in the school or community; teachers should then encourage the use of the terms and the model in approaching problems and issues.
Reasoning About a Situation or Event
Based on the elements and premise of the Paul model, this reasoning model should be used when analyzing a specific event where two or more people or groups of people conflict with one another and have a vested interest in the outcome of the event.
The Analyzing Primary Sources model has been developed as a means for teaching students how to confront a historical document, the questions to ask of it, and how to critically examine information they receive. The chart guides students from establishing a context and purpose for the source to evaluating and interpreting the source, including its authenticity/reliability and consequences/outcomes.
The Research Model provides students with a way to approach an issue of significance and explore it individually and in small groups. Its organization follows major elements of reasoning. Teachers are encouraged to model each stage of this process in class.
Research Model [pdf]