How We Expanded our Critical Thinking Beyond the Classroom


Colleen McKinnon OCT, Elementary teacher, Rainbow District School Board

(5 minute read) 

In today’s modern world of instant access to information and social media influence, it is becoming increasingly important to teach the next generation how to identify tools that are being used to shape the way in which they view their world outside of the classroom.



VNPS thinkingclass and dryerase anchor charts



Examining how bias is used in consuming media

In an effort to help students understand how "bias" is used to manipulate what they see when consuming various types of media, a classroom discussion was held, centring around what students think of when they see certain elements of advertising or media posts.



We discussed common inherent bias triggered by colours, symbols, images and design elements.



Using the ideas generated by the discussion, students were then asked to take a 5 minute silent walk-about around the classroom, to examine and explore the thought-provoking posters that were created by Unlearn.



These posters were affixed to Wipebook Flipcharts; vertical non-permanent surface similar to a whiteboard or a reusable anchor chart.



Soft classical music was playing in the background to eliminate the students’ urge to talk, while allowing them to relax and take in the complex images displayed before them.


vnps thinking classroom math anchor chart

Go ahead guys, express your thoughts 

Students were then asked to return to a poster they found particularly influential. They were given a variety of colours of dry-erase markers to express their ideas on the Wipebook writing space, VNPS.



Again they were asked not to verbally share their ideas but to express themselves on the vertical non-permanent surface. They loved that if they made a mistake while note taking, they could just wipe it off and try again!



Afterwards, we gathered around each poster and read the anonymous ideas and discussed the thought-provoking comments recorded on the Wipebook surface.



We talked about new ideas gained from reading other peoples’ thoughts.



We discussed many important social issues. It was particularly poignant as it was “Stand up against bullying” day in our school and many of these issues centred around just this topic.


vnps thinking classroom anchor chart

Anxious to share

Students were so proud of their ideas, that we chose to leave the posters up so that they could discuss their thinking with their parents that evening during our first open house of the year. One student even grabbed a dry erase marker and added their parent’s thinking to the Wipebook Flipchart. So powerful for note taking!



Our next step will be to share our surfaces with the whole school. We will be erasing the Wipebook surfaces and placing them out into the halls outside of the classroom, in order to see what other students in our school think when they see these thought-provoking graphics by Unlearn. After all, why not? Expanding our critical thinking activity to the rest of the school is easy with vertical non-permanent surfaces by Wipebook.



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