Saturday, June 25, 2016

Making Thinking Visible - Chapter 1

One of my favorite parts of summer is having time to read and really feed my "inner nerd" with professional learning.  :)  Pam (@pamjwilson) and I just finished Creating Cultures of Thinking, so now we're off to another of Ron Ritchhart's books - Making Thinking Visible.  Pam has read it before, but this is my first time to read it.  I checked it out from my district's professional library, but based on what I've read so far, this will probably have to join my personal library soon! :)

Here are some of the quotes and notes that I jotted down while reading Chapter 1 as well as my personal thoughts in italics:
  • We ask/tell our students to "think", but what does that mean?  What do we want them to do?  What does "thinking" mean to me?  *If I had been asked the questions in this paragraph, I'd probably be stumped too.  Not a good way to start out on page 1 :(
  • Bloom's taxonomy suggests that thinking is a linear progression, but it's not.  Why is "understanding" toward the bottom of the revised Bloom's?  *I've never really pondered this before, but now that the author brings it up, what a great point!  I think I prefer the word 'comprehension' from the original Bloom's over 'understanding' in the revision.  "Understanding" is a much deeper concept I think.
  • Is "understanding" a type of thinking or an outcome of thinking?
  • Classrooms tend to be places of "tell & practice", not much (if any) thinking.  *I'm guilty of this one.  Especially in the spring when I'm running out of time before exams start :(  I know that "sit & get" doesn't work, yet I still fall into that habit.
  • Retention of information through rote practice isn't learning, it is training!  *Ouch!  This one kicked me in the gut, I must admit... I'm guilty :(
  • Playing a review game or doing other activities may be fun, but still not likely to develop understanding.  Hands on does not mean minds on. :( *One look at my pinterest boards will tell you that I like fun activities.  However, I need to be very careful not to fall into this trap.  If I use an activity, I need to follow it up with connections to thinking.  
  • Work & activity != learning
  • To develop understanding of a subject, you need to have authentic intellectual activity.  *If I want students to develop as mathematicians or statisticians, what do I need to do to create these authentic opportunities?  How can I help my students think like mathematicians or statisticians? 
  • Over the course of a unit, students should be engaged in all of the integral thinking moves:
    • Observing closely and describing what's there
    • Building explanations and interpretations
    • Reasoning with evidence
    • Making connections
    • Considering different viewpoints & perspectives
    • Capturing the heart and forming conclusions
    • Wondering & asking questions
    • Uncovering complexity and going below the surface
  • Activity idea (pg 16) - create a concept map on 'What is thinking?'  However, don't stress if student answers aren't great - most students haven't been taught to think about thinking.  *I really like this idea as a first day of school activity to gauge where my students are and to share with them some of my expectations and what I view as important

For more reflections on Chapter 1, see:


Robin said...

Great post! I spent a lot of time reading Making Thinking Visible a couple summer's ago and applying the ideas to the math classroom. It's an awesome book!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for blogging about what you're reading. Its really helpful.