Tuesday, February 18, 2014

visible thinking: see-think-wonder

I've just started Harvard's Making Thinking Visible course online as part of our Professional Development program here at ISM. I'm really excited about learning some new strategies. We've actually used several visible thinking strategies in the classroom already, as I've had the book checked out from our library all year (because I'm a book hog...shhh): 
Making Thinking Visible: How to Promote Engagement, Understanding, and Independence for All Learners

Today I thought we'd do another See-Think-Wonder with the goal of having students recognize some connections between their prior and acquired knowledge with our inquiry into energy. I added a Connect box to the activity to help students get there, so it didn't seem so superficial. I made up 7 posters with images related to energy in the center
Displaying photo.JPG
and sections around the image labelled "I see... I think... I wonder... I connect..." (not so easy to see as I just used a class iPad to get photos this morning).

We revisited the See-Think-Wonder format on the Activ Board by discussing synonyms and sentence starters for each term so I could (hopefully) help students get to some deeper thinking when they set off and give my ELL friends some vocabulary to use:

(let me tell you, some of this was like pulling teeth...)

and then we did an example together:
Clearly, we have some work to do ("I see colours" ???). 

Then the kids roamed around for fifteen-twenty minutes to add their thoughts/comments/questions to each poster.

As I circulated to hear the students talking about the images (and various other things, like cats, recess, Pixel Gun, dance parties, "songs that are awesome".... that's a regular morning, right? So much for accountable talk!) and read some of their comments, it was amazing to recognize the different levels within my room. It was something like this:

"I saw a rainbow once." (Okaaay, I guess it is a connection...)
"This looks like coal, which is a fossil fuel and that's bad :(" (Now we're talking!)
"What if the picture is upside down?" (Um... hmm. Relevant?)
"I noticed that this is hydro energy and that's connected to our energy inquiry!" (Hurray!)
"My connection is that [the electrical wires] looks like a cat because you can sort of see ears." (I know, deep.)

Afterward we shared as a whole group, which is when the discussion started to get so much better and the beauty of See-Think-Wonder began to come alive. It's pretty great when a comment like, "I see a white car" can turn into discussion about the type of fuel the car uses and whether the owner could use a biomass source, like corn, if it's available. True story - that conversation happened!

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