Providing Students Time to Reflect #makthinkvis


Making Thinking Visible online chat has really challenged me to think differently this semester about my questioning, looking for opportunities for students to share their ideas but most importantly, giving them time to reflect.

To begin our unit on triangles, I used the Generate-Sort-Connect-Elaborate, with plans to elaborate towards the end of the unit. As a class, I simply went around the room, each student generating an idea/concept related to triangles and I added what they shared to the list.  I placed students in groups of 3 and asked them to sort the ideas any way they wanted and to connect each set of ideas to the triangle central theme.

Most had measuring, classifying/types, etc. However, several had made some connections back to our Day 1 activity with the Chaos game, Sierpinksi’s Triangle, Midsegments and their properties.

Today, in class, I asked them to flip back to INB page 47 and take a couple of minutes to do nothing but read through their original concept maps/webs. Before I could give them further instructions, one asked if they could add to it? Of course! That’s exactly what I want you to do! I’ll see if I can manage some before/after pics.  The following few minutes were great. Listening to them think and share outloud. One even said, “Man, I’ve sure learned a lot!”

The next task is one I read about inmy reader a few weeks ago. I apologize, if you blogged about this and I’ve forgotten your name, but I really, really liked it! I gave each student 4 sticky notes, directing them to place a + sign in the corner of one, ? on another, ! on the third and finally a student asked, “you’re not going to make me draw a lightbulb are you?!?”


I explained what each note would include:

+ One Improvement – this could be either an improvement they still needed to make OR an improvement I could make in teaching the unit. A student asked if it could be something they improved on during the unit..sure!


! What NOT to forget!


? A question they still have.


Lightbulb moment during the unit…


I gave them some time to flip back through their INBs, instructed them to place their notes on the board in the back of the room.  A few asked if they could bring theirs in tomorrow. 

A quick glance showed that many still are not comfortable with proofs, a few are having trouble with the ‘names’ of triangle centers. I am more concerend they know/understand each of the centers’ special properties for problem solving. There were a variety of lightbulb moments.  And even a few misconceptions are obvious in some of their responses.

My plan is to address common questions as whole class.  I had originally thought I would respond to the individual questions/misconceptions by using different color sticky notes up on the board.  However, now, I’m thinking I may recopy some of the misconceptions onto dry erase boards and use them in a chalk talk carousel activity. 

To begin, have a variety of comments, some I agree with and others I am concerned with.  Give students red, yellow, green stickers – they carousel through the statements, placing green on those they agree with, yellow or red on those they have questions about.  Would this or the chalk talk be more beneificial here? 

10 responses »

    • Chalk talk is a routine presented in #makthinkvis book. You have chart paper, dry erase boards, etc located around the room. Each one has a concept/problem/statement written in the center. Students go to each station and cannot verbally communicate. They must make statements, ask questions of fellow students, etc written only. Pg 78 of book describes it as a conversation conducted silently on paper.

  1. This is great! You are doing a fabulous job here! I love that they created a web then went back and added to it later on. Sometimes they are not aware of how much they learned and to be able to show them is crucial.

    One thing I know that I need to work on is to address all the misconceptions and/or comments. I love the idea with the dry erase boards.

    Keep it up. This is great stuff!

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