thinkcerca.com■ Retail Price: An annual license costs $30–$40 per pupil, depending on the number of students. Professional development opportunities cost $1,000–$6,000 and include training and ongoing support.
ThinkCERCA is an online platform that challenges students in grades 3–12 in critical thinking, argumentative writing, and reading skills and strategies. Students make connections, build reading comprehension skills, engage with texts, summarize information, build arguments, and create written samples.
Quality and Effectiveness: ThinkCERCA will help students strengthen argumentative writing as they learn how to make a claim, use supporting evidence, develop reasoning skills, identify a counterargument, and think about audience. This research-based platform designed by former English teachers offers personalized learning for students in grades 3–12.
Cross-curricular lessons cover ELA, math, science, and social studies. Educators can search lessons by grade level, standard, or theme, and can assign lessons to a whole class, groups of students, or individuals. Teachers can also create their own lessons in ThinkCERCA. Students will connect with the themes, which cover big ideas such as the environment, money and needs, and personal identity.
Each lesson includes: an essential question to get students thinking; a writing prompt; vocabulary definitions in the context of the reading sample; a comprehension check; and a close reading activity in which students reread the text and highlight specific evidence. Students can also add notes and annotate for more guided practice. All student work is auto-saved.
Ease of Use: Educators can track student performance by grade level on color-coded dashboards and can also see students’ progress over time. Teachers can quickly identify skills and concepts that need to be covered and see which students need additional practice or higher-level texts.
Lessons take about 90–120 minutes and begin with a lot of modeling and scaffolding. The goal of the program is to cover between two and five applied lessons each month.
ThinkCERCA provides extensive customer, technical, and instructional support, including PD videos, downloadable teaching resources, ELD supports, and state-specific resources.
Creative Use of Technology: ThinkCERCA utilizes many technology tools to engage learners, including an option to have the text read to them, online formative assessments with instant feedback, dialogue boxes with helpful hints, and an interactive rubric.
Suitability for Use in a School Environment: ThinkCERCA gives students access to poetry, informational texts, close reading activities, literary analysis, and narrative pieces, and helps them develop skills in critical thinking, effective writing, collaboration, and debate. In classrooms with low technology, ThinkCERCA can be accessed in stations.
The program provides novel pairings with books such as To Kill a Mockingbird, The Hunger Games, The Fault in Our Stars, and 1984. There’s also a plethora of test prep support, including error analysis and annotation practice. ThinkCERCA offers unit planning resources and curriculum alignment to The Wheatley Portfolio, Summit’s Personalized Learning Platform, Pearson’s ReadyGEN, McGraw-Hill’s Reading Wonders, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s Collections. For schools that use G Suite, students can log in with their Google ID and assignments can be announced in Google Classroom, but all the work is done in ThinkCERCA.
ThinkCERCA is outstanding. The platform challenges students and helps them develop critical thinking skills through reading and writing.
● Texts are differentiated by grade level, aligned to standards, and of high interest to students.
● Teachers can access PD and support resources at thinkcerca.com
● Administrators, teachers, and students can track student progress, seeing growth and places for improvement.