I spent the morning in a PD about Creating a Culture of Thinking…which included a focus on making thinking visible and reflecting in order to connect, extend and challenge…in order to make meaningful learning. I should have written down our exact central idea, but it was something like “Creating a culture of thinking leads to deep inquiry and meaningful learning.”. Which made me think that maybe in order to truly make my learning from this morning meaningful, I should perhaps try again at blogging as an educator. To make my own thinking visible and meaningful rather than just a day where I got some temporary inspiration that will quickly become lost amidst the paperwork and everyday demands that surround us all.
I chose a culture of thinking because I’ve realized that this is the core of my values and beliefs about learning and something that I feel I have a lot of room to grow in. I am challenged that somewhere over these past eleven years since university, I have lost a some of the big ideas in my excitement over great activities. I love great activities and there are so many of them out there, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes I don’t think about their value and purpose. It pains me a bit to realize that I need to let go of some of them. But letting go is a theme that I keep coming across – that to truly create a culture of thinking I need to let go of some good things in order to make room for great thinking.
I connected with …
- when we make our thinking visible, it becomes more meaningful.
- sharing in small groups is much more engaging than waiting for individuals to answer in a large group (whether you are adult or child)
- teachers need to model, structure and take time for thinking in order to create a culture of thinkers.
I extended my learning through…
- thinking through what core words mean as an important start to learning – what is ‘culture’, ‘thinking’, ‘deep inquiry’ and ‘meaningful learning’?
- the idea that we can and should take time to reflect throughout learning – its not just an end thing. Taking some tme to pause throughout the process.
- making sure questions are meaningful to students (rather than just another to-do from the teacher). Having students share their inquiry questions in groups and getting questions/feedback/refinement from their classmates before continuing them.
Things that still challenge me…
- learning more about the thinking routines and how to use them in my classroom – which ones are appropriate for which situations and age (making them meaningful rather than just another activity)
- helping students who love fast, quick, easy problems and the ‘right answer’ transition to and enjoy a culture of thinking that can take time and thought (and doesn’t always leave you with a clear right answer)
I would love to say that I am going to walk in the classroom tomorrow and have an incredible culture of thinking and the perfect classroom now that I am enlightened. But I know better. Perhaps one of the most meaningful things I have been learning is that I will never do things perfectly (which frustrates me -I like being right and quick, easy answers) and there will always be something to improve, but that doesn’t mean it’s too hard or too difficult or not worth pursuing because little by little through trial and error I’ll end up closer to my goal than when I started…and become a better thinker and learner myself. If I’m not willing to try, how can I ask anything of my students?