Environment – Shaping a Culture of Thinking #makthinkvis

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This semester I have been participating in an online chat #makthinkvis with @lizdk and others addressing the book Making Thinking Visible by Ritchart, Church, et al.  Its been very challenging at times-pushing me think outisde my norm for ways to integrate these thinking routines into my instruction.  As well as causing me to step outside my comfort zone as I attempt to put them into action.

I had intended to blog about my experiences and reflections as I’ve tried these thinking routines, however, time seems to  evade me.  Hopefully, I can find time here and there before the end of the semester to get a few things shared.

As we finished up chapter 7 this past week, one idea from page 243 keeps coming to mind.  A key force that shapes the culture of thinking is the environment.  Sure, we all come in our classrooms, organizing, putting some thought into the layout, neat desk (maybe on open house night, but definitely not now for me), where/how papers are turned in, supplies, flow of the room, etc.

But if someone walked in my classroom, after hours, empty of students, no teacher around, what would serve as evidence of learning/thinking?  How much could you discern about the thinking and learning that goes on in my classroom just by stepping inside?

Sure, they may see an agenda and “I can” statements posted daily – but is that evidence of student thinking/learning?

What is hanging on my walls? And who put it there?

What does the room arrangement say about student interactions?

Where is my desk? Can this indicate anything about our learning environment?

If there is nothing on my walls, what does that communicate?

If you knew nothing about me, but you walked in my classroom – I wonder…

What you would see?  What would you notice?
What do you think is going on?
What does it make you wonder? What questions do you want to ask?

What does it say about about me as a teacher, about the learning opportunities I provide my students?

I wonder what evidence of thinking and learning you might find…

Pictures to come later…I invite you back to step inside my classroom soon!

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One response »

  1. I like the reference to See-Think-Wonder incorporated into this post, Pam! I always wonder about where a person/teacher/administrator places their desk, too, it makes me wonder about their style ….

    I feel quite guilty and ashamed: I have posters of previous years’ projects up! (Nowadays most kids produce electronic project work so I cannot exhibit it so easily.)

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