Establishing a culture of thinking #2

I wrote in a previous post, about establishing a culture of thinking and referred to Ron Ritchhart’s 8 cultural forces of a thinking classroom.

Time for thinking
Expectations for thinking and learning
Opportunities for engaging in thinking
Routines & Structures that scaffold thinking and learning
Language & Conversations that name, notice, and highlight thinking
Modeling of thinking
Interactions & Relationships that show respect for students’ thinking
Physical Environment in which the process of thinking is made visible

‘Work’ does not = learning.
For learning to occur, thinking and understanding are required!  The cultural forces communicate to our students that thinking is expected and valued, what kinds of thinking will be happening and how learning and thinking will be managed and documented.

In that post, I talked about ‘thinking time’.  Another of the ‘forces’ that define a thinking class, is ‘routines’.  ‘A routine can be thought of as any procedure, process, or pattern of action that is used repeatedly to manage and facilitate the accomplishment of specific goals or tasks’.  Ritchhart says that just as you have housekeeping routines and management routines in the classroom, thinking can become a routine too.  Like all routines, thinking routines need to be clear with a few steps, easy to teach/learn and remember, applicable across a  range of contexts.  As a result, Project Zero’s suggested thinking routines are crisp and catchy, while creating a structure for complex, higher order thinking.

Today my class used a routine, called ‘Colour, Symbol, Image‘ which requires selecting a colour, a symbol and an image to represent the essence of the topic or text  studied.  This can be done on paper or digitally, but the computer makes it easy to insert symbols and find appropriate images, with no artistic talent required.  Here’s an example showing my colour, symbol and image of choice to represent the essence of my blog.  I only thought of using Toondoo to create it, after the class had done theirs in boring old Word!!

Cultural forces in a thinking classroom: Part 2: Routines

6 thoughts on “Establishing a culture of thinking #2

  1. It really makes sense, doesn’t it, to establish a culture of thinking. However, it is perhaps not as well used in the classroom (or staffroom) as it should be. Great post, you always make me think!


  2. I love your finished product in Toon Doo, I always wonder if you share your illustrations that you use on your blog with your students? I bet they would enjoy your take on it all! I’m with Judith, you always leave me thinking about how I can improve my classroom practices, I so appreciate it!


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