Category Archives: thinking

My fixed mindset

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’.

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Making Thinking Visible – continued

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.

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