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How to Teach Logic

A basic understanding of logic is necessary to be able to read critically and write with coherence. Good critical thinking follow rules of logic to observe, interpret, apply, and revise ideas or problems. These rules of logic are not new. In fact, five key forms of logic were developed by the Ancient Greeks. We still use these patterns of thinking, known as reasoning, to solve problems today. Students need to be trained to recognize these patterns of logical organization and follow these patterns in their own writing and problem-solving.

1. Deductive Logic

In deductive reasoning, the pattern of thinking is whole to part. Specific applications (or conclusions) are made from general statements or accepted ideas.

Example: Bees sting. Bee stings hurt. Be careful of bees.

2. Inductive Logic

In inductive reasoning, the pattern of thinking is part to whole. Specific applications (or conclusions) lead to more general applications.

Example: (Repeated Addition) 2 + 2 + 2 + 2 = (Multiplication) 4 x 2 = (sum) 8

3. Syllogistic Logic

In syllogistic reasoning, an application (or conclusion) about a category that is drawn from two forms of evidence that each make sense as separate categories and relate to each other.

Example: All Golden Retrievers are dogs; Calico Kelley is a Golden Retriever; therefore, Calico Kelley is a dog.

4. Comparative Logic

In comparative logic, an application (or conclusion) is drawn about a situation based on how one idea or problem is similar to previous ideas or problems. The similarities are based upon logical, historical, or statistical probability.

Example: Ian is always absent from school when it rains. It is raining today. Ian will most likely be absent today.

5. If, ____; then ____ Logic

In if-then logic, an “if” state proposes a condition or hypothesis, and the “then” provides a logical answer or solution.

Example: If A = B, and B = C; then A = C.

Unfortunately, not all writing follows these rules of logic. Teaching students to recognize errors in reasoning will promote analytical reading and improve their writing coherency.

The author of this article, Mark Pennington, has written the assessment-based Teaching the Language Strand Grades 4-8 programs to teach the Common Core Language Standards. Each full-year program provides 56 interactive grammar, usage, and mechanics lessons. (Check out a seventh grade teacher teaching the direct instruction and practice components of these lessons on YouTube.) The complete lessons also include sentence diagrams, error analysis, mentor texts, writing applications, and sentence dictation formative assessments with accompanying worksheets (L.1, 2). Plus, each grade-level program has weekly spelling pattern tests and accompanying spelling sort worksheets (L.2), 56 language application opener worksheets (L.3), and 56 vocabulary worksheets with multiple-meaning words, Greek and Latin word parts, figures of speech, word relationships with context clue practice, connotations, and four square academic language practice (L.4, 5, and 6). Comprehensive biweekly unit tests measure recognition, understanding, and application of all language components.tls-thumb

Teaching the Language Strand also has the resources to meet the needs of diverse learners. Diagnostic grammar, usage, mechanics, and spelling assessments provide the data to enable teachers to individualize instruction with targeted worksheets. Each remedial worksheet (over 200 per program) includes independent practice and a brief formative assessment. Students CATCH Up on previous unmastered Standards while they KEEP UP with current grade-level Standards. Check out PREVIEW THE TEACHER’S GUIDE AND STUDENT WORKBOOK  to see samples of these comprehensive instructional components. Check out the entire instructional scope and sequence, aligned to the Grades 4-8 Common Core Standards.

The author also provides these curricular “slices” of the Teaching the Language Strand “pie”: the five Common Core Vocabulary Toolkits Grades 4−8; the five Differentiated Spelling Instruction Grades 4−8 programs (digital formats only); and the non-grade-leveled Teaching Grammar and Mechanics with engaging grammar cartoons (available in print and digital formats).


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  1. Bryan
    February 15th, 2011 at 21:22 | #1

    Number 5 is also a form of syllogism.

  2. Bryan
    December 28th, 2012 at 09:14 | #2

    Number 5 is also a form of syllogism

  3. Ole Hokie
    December 23rd, 2013 at 06:59 | #3

    Can you recommend a book with exercises to teach logical reasoning? Are there common core standards for logical resoning?

    Thanks!

  4. December 24th, 2013 at 20:19 | #4

    No logical reasoning standards. I offer a Critical Thinking Toolkit, but is not a course in exercises to teach logical reasoning.

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