In my role, I attend many professional development activities and conferences. Lately I've been noticing the use of various thinking routines everywhere! I love the concept of visible thinking. I love how we are building routines into instruction to encourage deeper thinking, while also making reflection and learning more visible. Visual Thinking Strategies have always been a common practice amongst Visual Arts Teachers. However, even Visual Arts teachers could stretch themselves and integrate a better variety of routines into their practice. There are always new and different ways to tweak instruction. We will always constantly be changing our practice. However, what will always remain a constant is the push to help students grow into critical thinkers, reflectors and problem-solvers. All of this can happen through inquiry, and by diving deeper.
This blog will present a series of thinking routines that teachers could try in the classroom (if you aren't already). One thing I know about myself is that I am a visual learner. So when someone says, "Hey, try this strategy in your classroom!" I need to see it laid out in an organized and visual way. We all have probably seen Ron Ritchhart's matrix for thinking routines, but if you're anything like me, your first thought is, "Huh?!" Again, I'm a visual learner- and I would say that most of the Millennials are as well.
If the thought of 'adding one more thing' is stressful, here's a suggestion... Start Slow. Identify one thing you would have students normally do independently and make it something collaborative. Something that they can work on together. This gives students the opportunity to collaborate and communicate with their peers in order to expand their knowledge, ask questions, and/or find connections. The routines help to set the tone for learning - making it active and fun.
THINKING ROUTINE: CHALK TALK
What is it?
What is it? Open-ended discussion on paper that ensures all voices are heard and provides thinking time.
What does it look like?
It may look like several poster sheets around the classroom with a category, question, or statement. Students can rotate to each zone and write their thoughts in a group or individually. This a great way to give students a voice and also have a visual representation for discussion points and/or reflection.
What is it?
A variation of the See Think Wonder activity, involving only using portion of an image.
What does it look like?
A piece of an image is revealed to the class/students. Students go through multiple questions in order to come to an understanding. They ask questions, create a hypothesis, or interpretations. The teacher reveals more of the image and they continue going through the inquiry cycle until the whole image is revealed.
Teachers could do this with works of art, equations, or statistics to look at data... A teacher could have students work in groups to come up with hypothesis together, they could individually do them on post-its and post them on a Hypothesis #1 sheet, then on a Hypothesis #2 sheet, and so on. There are many ways to manipulate this activity. The great thing about this is that students continually ask questions, form hypothesis/interpretations, and then question all over again as more information is revealed to them. This activity provides an effective model for changing your perspective once you have more information. You could have students reflect on a time they thought one way and then changed their opinion once more information was revealed. This helps students connect learning to their lives in a meaningful way.
Now, how do you think you could use these in your classroom? : ]