A Baker’s Dozen

AEZQ4XA2JMKAE4D5In a previous post, I explained how one way to effectively integrate technology in the classroom is to ignore the technology for the moment and concentrate instead on the critical thinking and writing skills that you find lacking in your students. What skills, regardless of the technology, do you want your students to have at their disposal?

Well, I made my own list. Here are the skills I think are most important in no particular order.

1. Reading comprehension – being able to read something and explain in one’s own words what was read, paraphrasing

2. Summarizing – identifying the most important points versus the supporting details

3. Vocabulary – being able to determine the meaning of words from the context, reading the same thing in different words and recognizing it’s the same thing

4. Note-taking – from lecture, from a text

5. Annotating – interacting with a text, asking questions about the text, commenting on the text

6. Argumentative writing – crafting a thesis and offering logical, sufficient support

7. Explaining – providing thorough explanation and evidence in writing to support one’s claims

8. Persistence – grit, sticking with something even when it is hard or not particularly entertaining

9. Attention to detail – learning how to comb through something and make sure all the i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed

10. Geographical literacy/awareness

11. Research – effective searching, determining whether a source is credible

12. Study skills

13. Problem solving – critical thinking, using a variety of sources and information to propose and test solutions

This is a longer list, and most likely, I will have to do some prioritizing. No teacher can tackle everything all at once. But I think it’s reasonable to assume that all these skills could be tackled to greater and lesser degrees within a given school year. Also, depending on the particular subject matter and grade level, the list may be slightly different.

So now that I have identified my skills, my next question is, “What technological tools exist to help students learn about and master these skills?” As I have written previously, the technology isn’t going away and neither is the need for the above skills. So how do we marry the two, how do we integrate the technology to support the teaching and learning of these skills? My next few posts will address this very question. In the meantime, if you think of some important skills that I have missed, I would love to hear them. Please feel free to leave a comment.



  1. I find my list looks very similar to yours except the geographical awareness. Near the top of my list, also, is being able to use the conventions of English correctly to enhance, or at least not hinder, communication in speaking and writing. I look forward to seeing the next list you make.

    • Those differences between your list and mine make sense given our different subject areas. I think it would be really interesting to see a math/science list compared to an English/history list. I imagine there will be overlaps no matter what the subject matter, things like reading comprehension, but there will definitely also be strong differences. I’m working on my next post now which includes the next step in the “thinking exercise”. It should be up within a day or two.

  2. Pingback: Here We Go Now | Wiser Today and Still Learning

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