First a warning — published materials alone will not make a thinking classroom. If anyone thought that simply buying a pack of ‘thinking materials’ and then dishing out the worksheets would generate higher level thinking in their pupils, they would be deluded. It should be clear from the last three chapters that it is not the materials, but the teacher who creates a thinking classroom. Of course, the teacher can do with some help and that is where the published schemes can save you an enormous amount of effort in trying to think up for yourself, each week, a new cognitively challenging idea and planning the social construction around it.
Appendix 3 provides a list of all of the materials published for primary schools which are based on the principles of cognitive acceleration. Here we will outline each of them, by age level, and indicate how they are generally used.
Reception (age 4 to 5 years)
Let’s Think! Early Years
• 15 activities which can be started with the pupils whenever you think they are ready.
• Teacher works with a group of four pupils on each activity, repeating the same activity with different groups on different days until all participating children have done that activity.
• Each activity may take around 15 or 20 minutes and each incorporates the central features (‘pillars’) of cognitive acceleration.
Year 1 (age 5 to 6 years)
• 27 main activities (plus three introductory activities on listening for
children who have not started thinking activities in Reception).
• Used in a similar way to the Early Years material except that groups can be up to six children each; the whole class should eventually be included.
• Enough material for one new activity every week of the school year.
Although both of the above programmes can be related to science, in fact they lay down some types of thinking (see Chapter 6 for the schemata, or general reasoning patterns) which are very basic not only to science but also to maths, language and other curriculum areas.
Let’s Think through Maths! (LTTM!)
• 10 activities which may be spread across the whole school year.
• Each activity is used with the whole class but the lesson consists of alternating episodes of small group and plenary work.
• A typical LTTM! lesson might last an hour.
Year 2 (age 6 to 7 years)
Let’s Think through Maths! 6-9
• 19 activities designed to be used in the same way as LTTM! for Year 1.
• Activities are arranged in strands (for example, Word Problems, Number Systems, Multiplicative Relations).
• It is suggested that all of the first activities in each strand be taught, then all of the second activities, and so on.
Year 3 (age 7 to 8 years)
Let’s Think through Science! 7&8 (LTTS!)
• 15 main activities and 2 introductory activities to accustom the children to the way of working in these lessons.
• Arranged in topics which correspond approximately to the topics of the (English) Key Stage 2 Science scheme of work.
• Designed to be used in the same way as LTTM!, that is, with the whole class but through a series of episodes of group work and whole class discussion.
Year 4 (age 8 to 9 years) Let’s Think through Science! 8&9
• 18 main and 2 introductory activities.
• Follows the same pattern and methods as the earlier LTTS!.
Years 5 and 6 (ages 9 to 11 years) Let’s Think through Literacy! 9-11
• 10 activities which can be used at any time with pupils aged 9 to 11.
• Designed to develop children’s literacy skills by improving their ability to think logically, to enquire, to reason and to process different kinds of information.
• Covers listening, speaking and drama.
Thinking Maths in the Primary School (PCAME)
• Material based on the original Cognitive Acceleration through Mathematics Education (CAME) activities developed for Years 7 and 8 in secondary schools.
• 31 activities, each of which can take between 40 and 60 minutes.