Thinking Skills

Over the last year, staff and pupils at Durham Lane have been taking part in an exciting project to develop their Thinking Skills. The reasoning behind Teaching Thinking is that thinking, like other skills, can be learned, practised and improved upon. Staff have attended practical training sessions with a tutor from the Thinkwell project, alongside colleagues from Myton Farm Primary School. The children have used a wide range of interesting and challenging activities to stimulate enquiry and deeper learning. They have worked on reasoning, questioning, evaluating, reflecting and team work skills through a variety of tasks.
Throughout the school, the children have been using seven different animals to help them understand the types of ‘Learning Powers’ they have been using. For example, the bee represents team work and the owl represents reflective thinking. These images have really helped the younger children to consider their own thinking and to begin to understand the more abstract aspects of learning. Have you been a tortoise today? It doesn’t mean you have worked slowly! It means that you have been a fighter and showed perseverance and resilience in your learning. We are all looking forward to developing the project further and embedding it into teaching and learning at Durham Lane. The photographs below show some examples of Thinking Skills activities from different classes.

In Nursery we thought about different ways to sort natural materials using our own criteria.


The Reception children used an Opinion Line to answer the question, ‘Is Jack a good boy?’ in the story Jack and the Beanstalk. The children enjoyed playing with some puzzles that helped them to sort quickly and created their own ways to sort a range of objects.

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In Year Two, we used a diamond ranking activity to choose the most important things for Florence Nightingale to take to the Crimea.

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In Year Four, we enjoyed collaborating on a ‘Collective Memory’ task in which we were given a map of Paris showing important landmarks.

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In Year Six, we also used the Diamond Ranking tool to prioritise choices for staying healthy. It lead to some interesting debates!

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