Tag Archives: Making Thinking Visible

VTR: Sentence-Phrase-Word to dig deeper into Standards for Mathematical Practice

From Making Thinking Visible: How to Promote Engagement, Understanding, and Independence for All Learners:

Sentence-Phrase-Word helps leaners to engage with and make meaning from text with a particular focus on capturing the essence of the test or “what speaks to you.” It fosters enhanced discussion while drawing attention to the power of language. (Ritchhart, Church, Morrison, 207 pag.)

Screen Shot 2014-10-19 at 7.26.45 PMWhat if we read and learn together, as a team? How might we develop deeper understanding?

Screen Shot 2014-10-19 at 7.29.46 PMAs a team of learners, we first read Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them independently and highlighted a sentence, phrase, and work that resonated with us.  In round robin fashion, we read aloud our selected sentence so that every member of the team heard what every other member of the team felt was important.  Just the act of hearing another voice read and callout an idea was impactful.

After completing the Sentence-Phrase-Word Visible Thinking Routine for Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them, we asked everyone to take another Standard for Mathematical Practice to read and markup, highlighting a sentence, a phrase, and a word.

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We divided into teams where each of the remaining Standards of Mathematical Practice were represented.  Each learner shared the SMP that they read highlighting a selected sentence, phrase, and word. My notes are shared below. I was amazed at the new ideas I heard from my colleagues when using this routine.

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Seek diversity of thought. Listen to others.  Hear differently. Promote engagement, understanding, and independence for all.

Learn.


Ritchhart, Ron, Mark Church, and Karin Morrison. “Sentence-Phrase-Word.”Making Thinking Visible: How to Promote Engagement, Understanding, and Independence for All Learners. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2011. 207-11. Print.

 

Job-embedded PD: MyLearningEdu 1.5

If we want to support students in learning, and we believe that learning is a product of thinking, then we need to be clear about what we are trying to support. (Ritchhart, Church, and Morrison, 5 pag.)

Interested in e-portfolios? If we want our young learners to document their learning and growth using a portfolio, should we also have a portfolio?  Inspired by working, learning, and collaborating with Rhonda Mitchell (@rgmteach), I’ve curated a set of resources to help teacher-learners get started (or renewed) on a journey to develop a professional e-portfolio.  In her post, My Learning Student Portfolios – by the student, for the student, Rhonda writes:

Its purpose is to allow students to externalize their experiences and understanding, and then use that information to set goals, self-monitor their progress, and see themselves evolve over time.

What if we exchange the word students with the word teachers?

Its purpose is to allow [teachers] to externalize their experiences and understanding, and then use that information to set goals, self-monitor their progress, and see themselves evolve over time.

I like it.  What if we exchange the word students in the original quote with the word learners?

Its purpose is to allow [learners] to externalize their experiences and understanding, and then use that information to set goals, self-monitor their progress, and see themselves evolve over time.

What if we, the adult-learners, practiced with our young learners? What if we practice reflection and questioning to see how we continue on our journey as lifelong learners? What if we support and encourage each other as we go?  Will we learn more about reflection? Will we learn more about ourselves? Will we improve in ability and in confidence when guiding young learners through the reflection and portfolio process?

Will we try?

From an email sent to our community:

How do you feel about blogging?  The School Improvement Division of GADOE has approved awarding 2 PLUs for completing the course MyLearningEDU 1.5. This course will also officially launch after Labor Day.  As an experiment in online learning, this course is written in seven two-week chunks offering participants articles to read and videos to watch to prompt thinking and reflection.  See 01 – Getting Started as an example. The expected product is at least one blog post per week for 14 weeks.  Contact Jill if you want to meet face-to-face for a Q&A session with a small group or individually.

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The course has seven chunks with each chunk spanning two weeks.  The goal for learners is to publish at least one blog post per week and comment of the posts of others in our cadre.  Each week has something to read and something to watch as inspiration and instruction.  However, there is very little direct instruction.  The blog posts should be for the learner, by the learner.

________________________

Ritchhart, Ron, Mark Church, and Karin Morrison. Making Thinking Visible: How to Promote Engagement, Understanding, and Independence for All Learners. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2011. Print.

#MICON13: Leading Learners to Level Up – or Ask; Don’t Tell

How might we design assessments that teach, support questioning, and motivate learning?  How might we bright spot or highlight what learners know rather than what they do not know? What if we design and transform assessments, non-graded assessments, to offer learners a path to “level up” in their learning?

#MICON13: Leading Learners to Level Up – or Ask; Don’t Tell

“Questions are the way points on the path of wisdom.” ~ Grant Lichtman. This session will focus on the art of questioning as a formative assessment tool. Work on becoming a falconer…leading your learners to level up through questions rather than lectures. Come prepared to develop formative assessment strategies and documents to share with learners to help them calibrate their understanding and decode their struggles. Be prepared to share your assessments with others for feedback and suggestions.

Foundational ideas:

By learning to insert feedback loops into our thought, questioning, and decision-making process, we increase the chance of staying on our desired path. Or, if the path needs to be modified, our midcourse corrections become less dramatic and disruptive. (Lichtman, 49 pag.)

But there are many more subtle barriers to communication as well, and if we cannot, or do not chose to overcome these barriers, we will encounter life decisions and try to solve problems and do a lot of falconing all by ourselves with little, if any, success. Even in the briefest of communications, people develop and share common models that allow them to communicate effectively.  If you don’t share the model, you can’t communicate. If you can’t communicate, you can’t teach, learn, lead, or follow.  (Lichtman, 32 pag.)

If we want to support students in learning, and we believe that learning is a product of thinking, then we need to be clear about what we are trying to support. (Ritchhart, Church, and Morrison, 5 pag.)

In order to engage in high-quality assessment, teachers need to first identify specific learning targets and then to know whether the targets are asking students to demonstrate their knowledge, reasoning skills, performance skills, or ability to create a quality product.   The teacher must also understand what it will take for students to become masters of the learning targets.  It is not enough that the teacher knows where students are headed; the students must also know where they are headed, and both the teacher and the students must be moving in the same direction.  (Conzemius and O’Neill,  66 pag.)

If you are a teacher in a district with conventional report cards, you can still use the two grading principles that honor the commitment to learning: (1) assign grades that reflect student achievement of intended learning outcomes, and (2) adopt grading policies that support and motivate student effort and learning.  You can do this by clearly communicating your ‘standards’ (in the sense of expectations for work quality) to students and grading on that basis. (Brookhart, 23 pag.)

The idea of using formative assessment for practice work and not taking a summative grade until students have had the opportunity to learn the knowledge and skills for which you are holding them accountable can be applied directly to your classroom assessments in a traditional grading context. (Brookhart, 24 pag.)

We want more students to experience the burst of energy that comes from asking questions that lead to making new connections, feel a greater sense of urgency to seek answers to questions on their own, and reap the satisfaction of actually understanding more deeply the subject matter as a result of the questions they asked.  (Rothstein and Santana, 151 pag.)

The excitement of learning, the compelling personal drive to take one more step on the path towards wisdom, comes when we try to solve a problem we want to solve, when we want to solve, when we see a challenge and say yes, I can meet it.  Great teachers lead us just far enough down a path so we can challenge for ourselves. They provide us just enough insight so we can work toward a solution that makes us, makes me want to jump up and shout out the solution to the world, makes me want to step to the next higher level. Great teachers somehow make us want to ask the questions that they want us to answer, overcome the challenge that they, because they are our teacher, believe we need to overcome. (Lichtman, 20 pag.)

Session structure (120 minutes):

15 mins      Introductions – who we are, what if we explore and prototype
15 mins      Ignite (ish) and challenge
30 mins     Ideation and prototype 1
15 mins      Small group feedback with Q&A
20 mins     Prototype 2 refined from feedback
20 mins     Share session
05 mins     Wrap up and conclusions

Examples of works in progress:

_________________________

Resources cited:

Brookhart, Susan M. Grading and Learning: Practices That Support Student Achievement. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree, 2011. Print

Conzemius, Anne; O’Neill, Jan. The Power of SMART Goals: Using Goals to Improve Student Learning. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree, 2006. Print.

Lichtman, Grant, and Sunzi. The Falconer: What We Wish We Had Learned in School. New York: IUniverse, 2008. Print.

Ritchhart, Ron, Mark Church, and Karin Morrison. Making Thinking Visible: How to Promote Engagement, Understanding, and Independence for All Learners. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2011. Print.

Rothstein, Dan, and Luz Santana. Make Just One Change: Teach Students to Ask Their Own Questions. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education, 2011. Print.

Falconry: wise general listening to become a hero

Sun Tzu says: Hence a wise general makes a point of foraging on the enemy.
This means that many aspects of the solution you seek lie within the problem itself.  Come to the problem unburdened by preconceptions and use the information along the way to guide you. (Lichtman, 96 pag.)

If we lead learning by following the learners’ questions, won’t we be coming to the problem relatively unburdened?  Through history and experience, I might assume that the learners in my care will struggle with the approaching concept.  What if I facilitate a question-generating session and see where the questions lead?

The provenance of authentic questions doesn’t rest solely with the teacher, however.  When students ask authentic questions, we know they are focused on the learning and not just completion of assignments.  Students’ authentic questions are a good measure of their intellectual engagement. (Ritchhart, Church, and Morrison, pag. 32)

What if we collect multiple questions – authentic questions – from our learners? Will the collection of questions lead to the same product or outcome with increased interest and engagement?

The act of prioritization – the ability to assign importance properly is an intellectual task involving a wide range of skills, including comparison, categorization, analysis, assessment, and synthesis. (Rothstein and Santana, 88 pag.)

Are we able to teach more because we follow their thinking paths? In addition to teaching content, will we teach comparison, categorization, analysis, assessment, and synthesis?

Great teachers create opportunities for students to ask questions that excite them to self-discovery.  Great leaders, in business, politics, sports, or families, create opportunities for others to be self-successful.  Many of our heroes are heroes because they find a way for us to find something within ourselves – courage, kindness, leadership, charity, vision – that we might not have found without their help.  They prepare us to be prepared to take advantages of opportunities. (Lichtman, pag. 33)

I aspire to find solutions that may be within the problem.  I argue that it takes collaboration, communication, and empathy to find the myriad of perspectives in any complex problem.  I agree that great teachers help uncover critical human-centered qualities that need to be offered to the world.  I aspire to be a teacher that prepares learners to be prepared.

I aspire to listen more, question more, and learn more.

I aspire to become a falconer.

________________________

Lichtman, Grant, and Sunzi. The Falconer: What We Wish We Had Learned in School. New York: IUniverse, 2008. Print.

Ritchhart, Ron, Mark Church, and Karin Morrison. Making Thinking Visible: How to Promote Engagement, Understanding, and Independence for All Learners. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2011. Print.

Rothstein, Dan, and Luz Santana. Make Just One Change: Teach Students to Ask Their Own Questions. Cambridge, MA: Harvard Education, 2011. Print.

[Cross posted on Flourish.]

Falconry: Feedback loops, communication, and formative assessment

Reading from Step 1: The Art of Questioning of The Falconer: What We Wish We Had Learned in School.

By learning to insert feedback loops into our thought, questioning, and decision-making process, we increase the chance of staying on our desired path. Or, if the path needs to be modified, our midcourse corrections become less dramatic and disruptive. (Lichtman, 49 pag.)

This paragraph caused me to go back to a Mr. Sun quote from Step 0: Preparation.

But there are many more subtle barriers to communication as well, and if we cannot, or do not chose to overcome these barriers, we will encounter life decisions and try to solve problems and do a lot of falconing all by ourselves with little, if any, success. Even in the briefest of communications, people develop and share common models that allow them to communicate effectively.  If you don’t share the model, you can’t communicate. If you can’t communicate, you can’t teach, learn, lead, or follow.  (Lichtman, 32 pag.)

Mr Sun goes on to ask

So how do we find common models? (Lichtman, 32 pag.)

Finding common models of communication between all learners is critical to a community focused on everyone growing and learning together. In Chapter 1: Unpacking Thinking of Making Thinking Visible: How to Promote Engagement, Understanding, and Independence for All Learners, the authors write

If we want to support students in learning, and we believe that learning is a product of thinking, then we need to be clear about what we are trying to support. (Ritchhart, Church, and Morrison, 5 pag.)

And, in Chapter 3: Grading Strategies that Support and Motivate Student Effort and Learning of Grading and Learning: Practices That Support Student Achievement, Susan Brookhart writes:

First, these teachers settled on the most important learning targets for grading. By learning targets, they meant standards phrased in student-friendly language so that students could use them in monitoring their own learning and, ultimately, understanding their grade.

One of these learning targets was ‘I can use decimals, fractions, and percent to solve a problem.’ The teachers listed statements for each proficiency level under that target and steps students might use to reach proficiency.

The [lowest] level was not failure but rather signified ‘I don’t get it yet, but I’m still working.’ (Brookhart, 30 pag.)

Yet is such a powerful word. I just love using yet to communicate support and issue subtle challenges.  Yet, used correctly, sends the message that I (you) will learn this.  I believe in you, and you believe in me.

As a community, we have started the challenging work of writing commonly agreed upon essential learnings for our student-learners.  Now that we are on a path of shared models of communication, we are able to develop feedback loops and formative assessments for student-learners to use to monitor their learning as well as empower learners to ask more questions.

What if we build common formative assessments that communicate how to level up, ask targeted questions, and motivate learning?

I agree that we must work to clearly communicate the intended, essential outcomes for learners. While our methods of learning and leading do not have to be identical, the core learning outcomes should be common for learners. In other words, we should have a guaranteed curriculum.

I assume that groups working together as teams have, or are on a path to, common models of communication between themselves and are making strides to share these with student-learners and parents of their students.

I argue with the statement that we already have this in place.  I don’t think this work is ever done.  When we have commonly agreed upon “I can…” statements, we need rubrics or descriptions of what it means to be on target, how to reach a target, and where to go if you are already at the target level.

I aspire to work collaboratively in teams to teach, learn, lead, and follow by asking questions to develop common models to communicate effectively.  I aspire to serve our learners by developing, implementing, and using stronger feedback loops.  I aspire to help learners level up.

I aspire to listen more, question more, and learn more.

I aspire to become a falconer.

________________________

Brookhart, Susan M. Grading and Learning: Practices That Support Student Achievement. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree, 2011. Print.

Lichtman, Grant, and Sunzi. The Falconer: What We Wish We Had Learned in School. New York: IUniverse, 2008. Print.

Ritchhart, Ron, Mark Church, and Karin Morrison. Making Thinking Visible: How to Promote Engagement, Understanding, and Independence for All Learners. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, 2011. Print.

[Cross posted on Flourish.]

Our choices: Summer Reading 2013 – The Art of Questioning

My previous post, Summer Reading 2013 – Flyer and Choices, describes our summer reading plan and choices.  We offer choice of book and choice of platform, when available.  Here’s what and how we selected to read:

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My favorite new communication about faculty learning and our reading comes from Rhonda Mitchell (@rgmteach), an avid reader.

“Just so you know, I am putting my name on the list for Make Just One Change because I don’t have that book.  I’d like to participate in the Embedded formative assessment discussion.”

Awesome!

We have invited faculty to blog their notes and ideas on Flourish, our community blog.  The 4 As protocol will serve as our framework for note taking and discussion of the books when we return in the fall.  I think (and hope) that by sharing what we read on Flourish through the summer will encourage reading and will help with the fall discussions.

As far as instructional design goes, I’m now wondering if our teams for the book discussions should group readers of the same book or different books? Are we going to discuss the book or the art of questioning – or both?

Summer Reading 2013 – Flyer and Choices

How do we model learner choice? We know student-learners need and deserve differentiated learning opportunities.  Don’t all learners?

Last year, the teaching faculty read Cathy Davidson’s Now You See It: How the Brain Science of Attention Will Transform the Way We Live, Work, and Learn, and the administrative faculty and staff read Seth Godin’s Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?. I read both.  Well…I listened to both as I ran using audiobooks and my phone.  After each run, I would annotate my notes into a physical book or my Kindle. To be clear, I read them by listening to the author read while I ran.

In 2013, we believe in learner choice, differentiation, leveraging technology, and so much more to help every learner grow. In a learning community, do we all need to read (or do) the same thing to learn?

From: Jill Gough
Date: Tuesday, May 7, 2013 4:21 AM
To: All Trinity
Cc: Leadership Team
Subject: Summer Reading 2013 – Flyer and Choices
.

Hi,

Please see the attached flyer about our summer reading choices.  The theme for this summer’s reading is the art of questioning.  Please select one of the books shown on the flyer for your summer reading and let us know your choice on or before May 10 by entering your selection on the Summer Reading Choice Google Formhttp://bit.ly/SummerRead2013. (This is a copy of the form; feel free to play with it.)

Last fall, faculty members suggested that it would be beneficial to have the 4 As protocol available while reading to take notes. I’ve attached a copy of this protocol if you would like to use it as an organizer for your notes. I plan to blog my notes as I read using the 4 As protocol as prompts to share with others.  You are invited and encouraged to blog on Flourish about your reading too.  And, if you microblog your comments and notes using Twitter to share what you are learning, would you please include the #TrinityLearns hash tag to help crowd source our notes?

Let me know if you have questions.

Thank you,

jill

Here’s the attached flyer:

And, our version of the 4 As protocol worksheet:

Our community commits to reading in the summer.  Readers may choose from five books about the art of questioning.  Readers may also choose to have their book delivered on paper, via Kindle, or iTunes audio.

While I’ve had several comments, I have two in writing that I want to share:

“I love the fact that we get to choose not only the book, but the way in which we choose to read it! Thank you!”

Awesome! And…

Thanks, Jill! I am really going out on a limb this summer and will do the reading on my iPad.

How important is it in our community or any community to have choice in learning? How do we support risk-taking in a supportive environment?