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Critical Thinking

Critical thinking (CT) requires disciplined thinking that is open-minded, rational, and informed by evidence in order to arrive at decisions or conclusions that go beyond factual recall.

In ABE classrooms, CT skills involve actively applying thinking strategies that range from analyzing relationships between components to drawing conclusions from a variety of data. CT skills are increasingly essential for ABE learners to succeed in the workplace, higher education, and in navigating the complexities of 21st Century life.

Sample Lessons – Critical Thinking (CT)

These lessons were created using a newly designed TIF lesson plan template. They include ideas for incorporating important topics like DEI (Diversity/Equity/Inclusion) and SEL (Social Emotional Learning), as well as strategies for adapting the lessons to a variety of delivery models.

TIF-Lens Series: “Zoom In” on Critical Thinking (CT)

TIF-Lens Webinars and Workshops provide hands-on practice using the A-C-E-S process to integrate TIF (Transitions Integration Framework) skills from the targeted category.

Federal Reserve Education – Critical Thinking

This is an excellent resource for teaching financial literacy and personal finance skills. The collection can be searched using keywords or by applying filters for audience, type, topic, or standards. No account is needed to access all the resources.

Learning Network

This online resource was developed by the New York Times to help facilitate both teaching and learning with NYT content. It includes a huge variety of articles with question sets, photos and videos, writing prompts, and fully developed lesson plans with high quality downloadable materials.


The Tools for Teaching Media Literacy section of the NewseumED website includes activities, lessons, and case studies that explore how the language in news stories influence us and how to differentiate between fact and opinion, recognize bias, and make decisions that are informed by reliable evidence.

Problem-Based Learning at University of Delaware

The Problem-Based Learning resource collection from the University of Delaware contains a variety of tools that teachers can use to begin implementing a problem-based learning approach in their classrooms, including evaluation tools, videos, and over 100 problem-based learning scenarios with lesson plans.

Problem-Solving Resources – Robert Kaplinsky

Kaplinsky's website is devoted to helping students become better problem solvers, critical thinkers, and mathematical reasoners. It contains free, downloadable lesson plans that are leveled from K-8th grade, are built around real-life situations, and take a problem-based learning approach. Both Kaplinsky's lessons and Problem-Solving Framework have useful applications inside and outside of the math classroom, and could be used to help students unpack a writing prompt, understand a complex question on the GED test, and so on. is a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization devoted, in part, to promoting critical thinking. They carry out this mission by providing research on controversial issues that help students learn how to question information, evaluate opposing views, and debate important topics.

Teaching Skills That Matter – Critical Thinking

The Teaching Skills That Matter initiative provides high-quality teaching materials and instructional videos that highlight 9 skills that are essential for success in work and community life - including Critical Thinking. The lessons are also designed to build knowledge in 5 key content areas: Civics Education, Digital Literacy, Financial Literacy, Health Literacy, and Workplace Preparation. The toolkit lessons can be used with both native and non-native English speakers, and they were designed by national experts in each content area.


The TeachThought website has many curated resources for teaching Critical Thinking and Digital Literacy skills, including a podcast and articles for teachers that describe best practices, new approaches, and ways to cultivate a 21st century classroom.

Zinn Education Project

The Zinn Education Project is a vast resource collection that contains a variety of materials for teaching history through a social justice lens. The resources include, among other things, posters, audio clips, film clips, songs and poems, and PDF copies of teaching materials. They are perfect for building the Critical Thinking skill of learning to recognize bias, assumptions and multiple perspectives.