Critical thinking is more than a by-product of teaching content knowledge. This presentation concerns the connection between critical thinking and the use and development of content knowledge, recognising that understanding this connection is essential for teachers to act with precision and intentionality in learning experience and assessment design. This precision includes planning for student cognitive activity in detail comparable to how we might prepare for the learning of content, and creating better alignment between learning and assessment of thinking. By discovering the relationship between learning and thinking we put to rest any false dichotomy between thinking and content development that frames critical thinking as tangential to core business or ‘extra work’ for teachers. We will also consider what kind of language is best suited to metacognitive work in the classroom and what ways of organising our knowledge about teaching for thinking can produce the most actionable results regardless of year level or discipline contexts.