There is every reason for a poor turnout for the reading group. New units are just getting underway. Teachers are busy writing reports. It’s less than two months till the end of the school year…
Yet more than half the teachers at our Year 4-6 campus turn up an hour before school to discuss the first chapter of Ron Ritchhart’s latest book, ‘Making Thinking Visible‘. It’s partly because we really value the ‘Visible Thinking’ ideas and material and the positive impact they have had on our teaching and learning. But it’s also because there is a core group of teachers who, over a period of several years, have developed into a real community of learners. We know that sessions like this push our thinking and keep us constantly reflecting on our practice.
We ‘unpack thinking’ over breakfast. Those who haven’t managed to do the reading pick up the ideas from the others and are quickly involved too. (I’ve summed up some of the key points of the chapter in an earlier post here.) Among other things we talk about how creating a culture of thinking in our classrooms has shifted the focus from teaching to learning. It’s part of the process of students taking ownership of the learning.
In this reflection, one of the veteran teachers in the group makes her thinking visible…
Letting go….the more I do it, the better it gets! by Desiree Finestone
I am still learning. The more I gradually release control of my students’ learning and allow learning to happen where they are given opportunities to naturally think, analyse, synthesise and internalise concepts and processes, the more I realise this is the way to go!
Providing tools and opportunities to make their thinking visible fosters engagement and discussion around the content. Post –it notes displayed around the room, blogging and thinking routines all support the thinking. These tools allow students to share, listen to and build on each other’s ideas.
It’s a great feeling to literally sit back, fold my arms and observe what is happening! Each time I ‘see’ and feel their thinking and learning, I move up one rung on the ladder towards my next teaching goal. The more I teach, the more I realise how important it is to know how my students learn.
I so enjoy being involved in our Thinking Group. It provides us teachers opportunities to make our thinking visible and learn from each other.Image by HocusFocusClick