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Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Smart Thinking: Ideas and Resources to Drive them to Think

If you are a SCAN user, by now you have heard the bad news that the SCAN technology tool at TregoED is going offline in June.  The good news is that SCAN is more than an online tool, SCAN is a process for helping your kids be better thinkers.  You don’t need no stinkin’ computer for that!  Your brain is the best and most complex piece of technology you will ever own.  And just like any technology, you can always learn to use it better.

SCAN, simply put is an acronym for 4 questions that can help take a complex problem with different perspectives and break it down into manageable pieces:

1.        Stop and look at the situation….what are the most important issues? What are people concerned about?
2.       Clarify those issues – What do you mean by that?  When you ask a student to explain themselves you make them dig deeper than the facts.  What are the arguments for and against these issues?
3.       Ask what is most important.  Again, this step makes your students evaluate arguments and prioritize issues, a process that requires critical thinking.
4.       Now what?  The last step of this critical thinking strategy asks students to determine what should be done, synthesize a solution, make a plan. Use this graphic organizer to get them thinking with any scenario!

Drive them to think! 

So here are some recent hot topics (culled from and Newsela) that just beg for some SCAN critical thinking:
Do you think we should stop having Daylight Savings Time?
 Should Apple have to give the government the code to open their iphone?

Have students read the article, research a point of view, develop an argument, determine which issues are most important and devise a plan of action.  Let them work in groups, debate, collaborate and negotiate.  Check out this easy SCAN graphic organizer - smart thinking!


  1. I am so disappointed!!! SCAN was a wonderful tool, not only for engaging students in writing and point-of-view, but in cyber behavior!