This past year, I have been reading and studying Making Thinking Visible by Ron Ritchhart, Mark Church and Karin Morrison. This resource is a great reminder that learning is a product of thinking. “Classrooms are too often places of ‘tell and practice.’ The teacher tells the students what is important to know or do and then has them practice that skill or knowledge. In such classrooms, little thinking is happening…Retention of information through rote practice isn’t learning; it is training.” So, how can we move beyond these common practices? What are the other options besides worksheets or rote memorization? What will truly get our students thinking and therefore learning?
The authors of this book outline several routines that can help create opportunities for thinking in the classroom. One of the easiest routines to start with is called See, Think, Wonder. Through this routine, students are developing the crucial skills of observation and interpretation. For example, a teacher may show students a work of art. First, the students will look carefully at the piece. This step is purely noticing and observing. Based on those observations, students can interpret what might be going on in the work of art. This step encourages students to interpret what they see based on their own knowledge and experiences. Finally, students can acknowledge that there may be other possibilities that they haven’t thought of. This allows for new questions and wonderings to occur.
Look carefully at the image above. What do you see? Based on what you see and your own life experiences, what do you think is going on? Does this interpretation bring up any new questions or ideas? This routine is easily adjusted to meet different audiences or content areas. It is a great way to ensure you are creating opportunities for thinking and learning.
image: Ratatori, Christina. “Annotation on Smithsonian Learning Lab Resource: Tamalada.” Smithsonian Learning Lab, Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access, 19 Sept. 2017. learninglab.si.edu/q/ll-c/xTknLt1C37VGwKEm#r/176877. Accessed 7 Sept. 2018.
Ritchhart, R., Church, M., & Morrison, K. (2011). Making thinking visible: How to promote engagement, understanding, and independence for all learners.