thinkLaw Newsletter Retiring the Term “Street Smart”

Colin Seale talks to the crowd at America Succeed's Age of Agility

Message from thinkLaw’s Founder and CEO

In the work thinkLaw is leading across 21 states to create a world where critical thinking is no longer a luxury good, I realized I need to be clearer about why we are so convinced that we can close The Critical Thinking Gap. This gap is far from insurmountable because this is a gap in expectations, not in potential. The truth is that students from low income backgrounds, students who are linguistically diverse, and students from minority populations are often endowed with enormous critical thinking potential. Some call this “street smart,” but I reject that categorization. “Street smart” is just smart. The failure to translate the practical set of problem-solving strategies we associate with being “street smart” to whatever academically amounts to “book smart” is an adult issue, not a child one. 

Outside of school, these are the young people who are often forced to figure it out. The same ELL students you may think are disinterested in analyzing nonfiction text at school are helping their families complete complex paperwork in English at home. The same students who did not take the time to analyze the credibility of a source they used in a paper are experts at assessing the credibility of people – a skill they rely on often to navigate their surroundings safely. So, if our goal is to build a solid house for critical thinking, the foundation and frame is all there. We just need to start building. If you aren’t already building with us, request your quote today and join us in retiring the term “street smart.”

Scary Engaging Lessons

With Fall being such a busy time and with so much going on with current events, we thought we’d send out a list of our most pertinent lessons that will help give you a break while getting your students engaged. 

  • Every year in October the debate over Columbus Day re-emerges. Should Columbus Day be changed to Indigenous People’s Day? Let your students decide with our COLUMBUS DAY LESSON
  • Halloween is on a school day this year! But that shouldn’t strike fear into your heart! Let us help you with the fun, rigorous, and engaging HALLOWEEN LESSONS
  • We’ve got five school days left of Hispanic Heritage Month—still looking for ways to celebrate that are both fun and rigorous? Look no further than the thinkLaw HISPANIC HERITAGE MONTH LESSONS.
  • Plan ahead for that Thanksgiving-coma with these drama-filled, *little to no teacher prep* THANKSGIVING LESSONS.
  • Have you heard about the recent California decision to allow college athletes to get paid endorsement deals? Get your students actively thinking and productively talking with our real-life public policy lesson! SHOULD COLLEGE STUDENT ATHLETES BE PAID? A PUBLIC POLICY DEBATE.

Families Aren’t Interested in Education: The Complaint and What We Can Do About It

The easy take-away is that education is not a priority for families.  This response is too easy, and too shallow.  The truth is that most families lie in the middle of those two social media camps: we’re grateful and overwhelmed at the same time.

     Our mission is to empower students to become powerful critical thinkers, but we also aim to move educators to become more reflective practitioners… READ HERE

When it comes to merit, achievement, and excellence in the gymnastics world, Simone Biles is literally changing the game. READ HERE

New thinkLaw Team Member 

thinkLaw is excited to introduce our newest team member, Layne Wixom! Layne has taken on the role of Operations and Special Project Manager. 

NUEVA Innovative Learning Conference

October 16 – 18, 2019

San Francisco, CA

“Gifted Education for the Cool Kids”: Being Real About Social Capital & Achievement

“Thinking Like a Lawyer”: Practical Tools to Unleash the Critical Thinking Potential of Gifted Learners

National Association for Gifted Children

November 7 – 10, 2019

Albuquerque, NM

“Gray is My Favorite Color”: Using Social Justice to Break G/T Students out of Black and White Thinking

“Thinking Like a Lawyer”: Practical Tools to Unleash the Critical Thinking Potential of Gifted Learners


December 4 – 6, 2019

San Antonio, TX

Never Enough Time: Sustainable Tools for Designing Powerful Critical Thinking Units

Critical Thinking and Test Prep?: Moving G/T Learners to Mastery With Active Engagement

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