I’m reading this book to prepare for professional development which I am leading in the fall.
I just hit something I want to remember and didn’t quite know where to put it so, here I am. It’s been three years since I blogged anything. I write my reviews on Goodreads and I tweet periodically things I find which interest me but for more in-depth work, I guess this is where it goes.
From Guy Kawasaki’s book Enchantment p. 33: “Eaters and bakers. Eaters want a bigger slice of an existing pie; bakers want to make a bigger pie. Eaters think that if they win, you lose, and if you win,, they lose. Bakers think that everyone can live with a bigger pie.”
This quote makes me think about life in competitive dance. It’s very hard to keep your child remembering that all of their class can improve as dancers and yet that’s what makes dance so engaging and exciting. Just because you dance well doesn’t mean I can’t dance well. On one day to one examiner or adjudicator one of us may be ranked higher but that isn’t the end or beginning. It’s just one day.
I have a fixed mindset when it comes to my athletic ability. I stopped thinking of myself as an athlete long ago – grade nine or so. I was one of 90 girls who tried out for Junior and Freshman basketball. They cut to 40 after one day. I didn’t make it. Then in the later part of the year, I spent the whole track season looking for something at which I would be competent. This meant that I would be among the top three in my age category because it didn’t seem to matter if you were less good than that. My school was large. I wasn’t that good at anything. They recommended middle distance running. It didn’t interest me. That was the complete end for me in athletics. I spent the rest of my high school career in fine arts and academics. I was in the top of my class but there were 60 or so of us in the higher academic stream. I ‘belonged’ there. I was among the best of the musicians.
I married an athlete. I see him take so-so runners and encourage them to be active and enjoy their own improvement. I wish I had considered improving my own athletic ability before I got arthritis in my feet. I’m not sure I would have ever loved to run but perhaps if I had been better earlier in my life, it would have made a difference.
I struggle with my fixed mindset when I work with disadvantaged students. Students who have already given up on themselves and are not motivated to learn are hard to teach. It’s not that I don’t think they can, I don’t think they will. I’m not sure how to move that part of my thinking. It’s not a long distance from ‘they won’t’ to ‘they can’t’.
11 Random Facts about me:
1. I am an amateur musician – I love to sing, play piano and recorder. I love making music with my family – my dad and mom and kids.
2. I am a theatre groupie. Local theatre is one of my answers to living locally. My husband and I get date night and some local people get to work in an area they love. Win-win.
3. I run to eat.
4. I love reading. I am part of a book club which helps me read outside my usual fare of YA dystopian/fantasy.
5. I need things to make sense and constantly re-evaluate my life goals against my ideals.
6. I frequently do not meet my own expectations.
7. I can feel hopeless about the world.
8. I believe in peace and justice as the only way to make things right – socially, environmentally, personally…
9. I believe in the power of stories – historical, current, futurist – to make change and make the world a better place.
10. I like children. Mine are the best of course.
11. I want to have close relationships with a small circle of friends. I think that’s harder than it used to be.
11 bloggers to tag (not going to get 11, I’ve moved to Twitter mostly…)
1. Back at Kelli http://sporadicsquiggles.wordpress.com
2. Vicki is my go-to-girl http://coolcatteacher.com
3. Joyce V http://blogs.slj.com/neverendingsearch/
4. Alec Couros http://educationaltechnology.ca/couros/
That’s about it.
Questions for these bloggers:
1- What is one thing you do that you would not change for anyone?
2- How often do you check your email?
3- Where do you find inspiration?
4- What is your comfort food of choice?
5- What is your guilty pleasure?
6- How do you relieve stress/let off steam?
7- How many hours of sleep do you get a night?
8- Where is your happy place?
9- Rule follower or breaker?
10-If you could be one age again, what would it be?
11-How did you start blogging?
1. I would not lie.
2. Too often.
3. Twitter and Pinterest for tech and books and education. Church and my church friends for life.
4. Chocolate – dark and European.
5. Chocolate – again.
6. I play piano and talk to friends and family. I read.
7. 8.5 – try for 9.
8. Follower but see Number 1.
9. The one I am. No regrets.
11. To figure out what it meant to be online and an educator. It was part of my Masters work, now I’m trying to see if it is still something I need but I don’t seem to completely quit.
Routines versus Strategies
Routines are a structure teachers use over and over again to build student independence and to create their classroom culture. When we have routines to support thinking within the classroom we are supporting students thinking as a regular part of their experience and developing their ability to think independently.
Strategies are ways of processing or working. When we teach a strategy for learning, we tend to teach it and then move on. Perhaps we bring out the strategy again once in a while but strategies don’t create culture.
I like the idea of having routines for thinking. I know routines help classrooms run smoothly and make the work of running a classroom simpler and smoother.
The authors of Making Thinking Visible fill the rest of their book with thinking routines divided into three sets: set one – routines for introducing and exploring ideas, set two – routines for synthesizing and organizing ideas and set three – routines for digging deeper into ideas. Although I could summarize them all here, I think perhaps the book does it best. In addition, I think I need to try them to really add anything to what is there.
I hope to try some of each of these routines throughout this year. I’m wondering if I might blog about them here or if they should be blogged as teaching practices on my school division’s instructional practices blog. I’ll see.
What can a teacher do to help create a classroom where thinking becomes visible?
Question. Listen. Document.
Good questions help students to construct their understanding.
Questions need to be thought through to help students think about the content not simply to outline the facts. I think asking good questions is one of the toughest parts of good teaching. This is at least the second time I’ve read about the importance of questions in creating teaching excellence. It seems strange that something so simple can be so difficult. It’s easy to ask who, what, when, where questions but to ask questions which ask them to make interpretations, make connections, focus on the big ideas requires thoughtful planning and deep understanding of the content and intent of your lesson.
Once a teacher asks the good questions, what do they do with the responses? Really listening to the responses students give and figuring out what they mean and what they might have missed in their understanding is another task which takes care and deliberate thoughtful preparation. I’m not sure I’ve figured this one out. Often I listen for the answer I think I want as opposed to listening for the thinking the students are doing and learning about them from those responses. I think the third part of this trio probably would help me with that.
Recording what students say during a class helps track what has been said, demonstrates the value of the students’ ideas, gives an object for further discussion and reflection.
Three simple actions to take in order to make thinking the work of the classroom and learners within the classroom.
I know I’m going to use this.
Looking at student responses to thinking.
In Making Thinking Visible, the authors outline four different types of responses students give when asked to thinking or write about their thinking: emotional, associative, meta and strategic. Emotional responses indicate how the students feel about their thinking – unsure, hurried, stressed. Associative responses indicate accompanying features when students are thinking – while traveling, in math class, when reading. Meta responses have to do with student awareness of the purpose of thinking and complexity of the process – there is always more to know, knowledge is partial, you need to know something in order to create something. Strategic responses indicate how the student goes about thinking – practice, look for information, organize my ideas. These strategic responses can be broken down into four further categories – memory and knowledge development, generalized strategies, specific processes, self-regulation and monitoring processes.
While all thinking about thinking is useful for learners and their teachers and coaches, learning which strategies to use to monitor and regulate our learning, to commit things to memory and to complete specific tasks are of particular help for learners when creating independence and understanding.