It Needs to Be Part of Every Lesson

53 Strategies for Checking for Understanding

This quick-reference list of assessment strategies will help you identify a variety of ways to check students’ thinking and learning.

Click on the screenshot below to download this resource from Edutopia.

53 Strategies for Checking for Understanding

 

Making Thinking Visible with Technology #pzmewinter15

I’m looking forward to speaking at today’s Project Zero Memphis Winter Workshop. Here are some of the resources that I’ll be sharing.

Visible Thinking includes methods for making students’ thinking visible through learning routines that are thinking rich. These routines encourage the development of a culture of thinking and can be used across all grade levels and content areas. With freely available technologies students can engage in Thinking Routines to provide evidence of their thinking and demonstrate their understanding of course content in multiple ways (images, audio, video, presentations, artwork, and more). The Making Thinking Visible with Technology (MTVT) project seeks to provide professional development, a database of lesson plans, and resources to help teachers to develop opportunities for students to make their thinking visible with technology.

Making Thinking Visible with Technology

Additional Resources

If you would like to investigate this further you can visit the full set of additional resources on my professional development wiki.

 

Making Thinking Visible: Parent Testimonials

Parent TestimonialIf you have been in one of my graduate classes, conference keynotes or presentations, or professional development workshops or institutes in the past three years then you have likely heard me promote the Teaching for Understanding (TFU) framework and the idea of making thinking visible. I likely shared evidence intended to encourage you to give the TFU framework and thinking routines strong consideration. I may have provided examples of student projects that demonstrated creativity, deep reflection, and provided “evidence” of thinking. I may have also shared interviews with some of the Project Zero faculty and researchers, video testimonies from teachers and students, photos and videos of lessons demonstrating thinking routines in action, photos and videos of schools and classrooms that are developing a culture of thinking, and a variety of resources to help you learn more and begin implementing all of this in your classroom. Thanks to Bemis Elementary School we now have video testimony of parents sharing their praise for visible thinking routines. These mothers describe how they regularly witness their children thinking deeply and pursuing their curiosities. I love that these moms are also familiar with the thinking routines and further promote thinking when their children are at home.

CASIE parent testimonial from Courtney Miarka on Vimeo.

hgsepzfol #hgsepzfol

Teaching through “Questioning” Rather Than “Telling” – #hgsepzfol

Event Tag: #pzc2013 #hgsepzfol

One of the principles that is of major emphasis at Project Zero is teaching for understanding. The following video is loosely connected with this idea. I intend to go into greater depth about teaching for understanding in upcoming posts in this series.

“You can forget facts,
but you can not forget understanding.”

Eric Mazur, Harvard University

“How can you engage your students and be sure they are learning the conceptual foundations of a lecture course? In From Questions to Concepts, Harvard University Professor Eric Mazur introduces Peer Instruction and Just-in-Time teaching — two innovative techniques for lectures that use in-class discussion and immediate feedback to improve student learning. Using these techniques in his innovative undergraduate physics course, Mazur demonstrates how lectures and active learning can be successfully combined” (Source).

NOTE: This video is also available as part of another DVD, Interactive Teaching, which contains advice on using peer instruction and just-in-time teaching to promote better learning.

For more videos on teaching, visit the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning at Harvard University.

 

Teaching through “Questioning” Rather Than “Telling”

Harvard’s Project Zero: Part 2

One of the principles that is of major emphasis at Project Zero is teaching for understanding. The following video is loosely connected with this idea. I intend to go into greater depth about teaching for understanding in upcoming posts in this series.

“You can forget facts,
but you can not forget understanding.”

Eric Mazur, Harvard University

“How can you engage your students and be sure they are learning the conceptual foundations of a lecture course? In From Questions to Concepts, Harvard University Professor Eric Mazur introduces Peer Instruction and Just-in-Time teaching — two innovative techniques for lectures that use in-class discussion and immediate feedback to improve student learning. Using these techniques in his innovative undergraduate physics course, Mazur demonstrates how lectures and active learning can be successfully combined” (Source).

NOTE: This video is also available as part of another DVD, Interactive Teaching, which contains advice on using peer instruction and just-in-time teaching to promote better learning.

For more videos on teaching, visit the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning at Harvard University.

 

The Floating University: What If All the World’s Best Thinkers Could Be Your Teachers?

The Floating University is a new educational media venture that creates and distributes online multimedia curricula, rich in text, video, animation and graphics, that feature today’s biggest thinkers, practitioners and leading scholars.

Their  video lectures “are paired with related texts to introduce complex multidisciplinary subjects in an entertaining and engaging way. Whether you’re a life long learner or a current university student, [their] goal is to take you on a journey of discovery into myriad disciplines — to let you explore unfamiliar territory in a new light — and to pose questions that will encourage critical thinking and robust debate.

For schools, they “aim to invert the traditional lecture model of learning to focus valuable classroom time on interaction, exchange, and discussion, rather than on the passive consumption of live, in-person lectures” (Source).

The Floating University launched last fall with an online course offered at Harvard, Yale and Bard and delivered the key takeaways of an entire undergraduate education. Learn more in this short video.

Disrupting Education: There Are No Boundaries to Knowledge Anymore

This clip/commercial has really gotten in my head. I keep thinking about the juxtaposition of traditional education, innovation, reform, media and technology that this represents. I see this as a sort of a microcosm of what so many of us are talking about and involved in education. In this clip we see a disruptive innovation, online and/or hybrid learning, and some would argue that the classroom has been flipped. I see connections between this delivery platform and the notion that some have that failing schools would improve if they had access to the best teachers. In higher education reports indicate that more and more students are preferring the perceived flexibility of online courses and institutions are strategically planning how they intend to respond.

I’m also really curious to see how interactive and engaging the courses are and how effective they are at promoting creativity and critical thinking. These terms are used frequently on the site and in this video. I also noticed on the website that everything is optimized for use on the iPad which could open the door for interesting opportunities related to engagement. However, I often see teachers, schools, and institutions make similar claims under the pervasive but misguided notion that the very act of using technology makes instruction more effective and more engaging while automatically promoting higher levels of thinking. That just isn’t accurate. Given the reputations of the universities and lecturers involved as well as the feature-rich and content-rich Floating University and Big Think websites I’m going to speculate that they are doing at least a respectable job, and perhaps even better, in these areas. I would enjoy the opportunity to view and experience the Floating University’s courses for myself. The idea of “robust debate” in an online class sounds like fun to me!

Change is in the air. I wonder how all of this will play out over the next few years and subsequent decades. We’ll we resolve these matters or will they have to be solved by the next generation(s) of educators? Perhaps you’ll share your reactions to the the Floating University and to some of the thoughts I have shared.

Project Zero at Harvard University: Information and Strategies Every Educator Needs

Harvard’s Project Zero: Part 1

I had the privilege of participating in Harvard University’s Project Zero Classroom last summer. We (the Martin Institute for Teaching Excellence) were able to send 6 local teachers to participate in the institute thanks to the generosity of Presbyterian Day School here in Memphis. It was undoubtedly the best professional development in which I have ever been involved. I took notes, gathered resources, and spent time documenting my thoughts and reflections with the intent of sharing some of it with you here on this blog. The experience impacted my beliefs about learning and teaching and has been a catalyst for the redesign and enhancements I’ve made in the graduate courses and professional development that I teach and facilitate. In the midst of implementing those instructional modifications, and balancing my work and personal lives this school year, I just haven’t had much time to share much of anything on the blog.

This past February Harvard invited me to be a Project Zero Faculty Fellow. I’m excited for the opportunity to work more closely with “the experts in learning” and look forward to all the ways that I will grow and all that I will learn. With the school year behind me and the summer before me, I’ve begun to steer my mind towards all-things-Project Zero. I’ve been reading and watching videos about learning, teaching for understanding, making thinking visible, thinking routines, cultures of thinking, multiple intelligences, making learning whole, and more. These are just some of the components of the work that the Project Zero research group has produced in it’s more than forty year existence. I intend for this to be the first in a series of Project Zero related posts in which I hope to introduce you to some of PZ’s research, frameworks, strategies, terminology, and big ideas, while sharing some of my own experiences, ideas, and classroom connections. With that in mind, let’s start at the beginning.

Project Zero

“Project Zero is an educational research group at the Graduate School of Education at Harvard University” (Source). “Project Zero was founded in 1967…by the philosopher Nelson Goodman to study and improve education in and through the arts. Goodman believed that arts learning should be studied as a serious cognitive activity, but that “zero” had been firmly established about the field; hence, the project was given its name.

“Today, Project Zero is building on this research to help create communities of reflective, independent learners; to enhance deep understanding within and across disciplines; and to promote critical and creative thinking. Project Zero’s mission is to understand and enhance learning, thinking, and creativity in the arts, as well as humanistic and scientific disciplines, at the individual and institutional levels.

“Project Zero’s research initiatives build on and contribute to detailed understandings of human cognitive development and the processes of learning in the arts and other disciplines. They place the learner at the center of the educational process, respecting the different ways in which an individual learns at various stages of life, as well as differences among individuals in the ways they perceive the world and express their ideas. Many of these initiatives involve collaborators in schools, universities, museums, or other settings in the United States and other countries” (Source).

Learn more about the history and research of Project Zero.

Project Zero Classroom

Participants in this week-long immersive institute will learn to “create classrooms, instructional materials and out-of-school learning environments that promote deep learning and understanding…The Project Zero Classroom details various frameworks that enable you to look at teaching analytically, develop new approaches to planning and make informed decisions about instruction. You will learn to recognize and develop students’ multiple intellectual strengths; encourage students to think critically and creatively; and assess student work in ways that deepen learning. In a Project Zero classroom, teachers are also learners who model intellectual curiosity and rigor, interdisciplinary and collaborative inquiry, and sensitivity to the ethical and aesthetic dimensions of learning” (Source).

The institute addresses fundamental educational questions, such as:

  • How can we best inspire and nurture creative thinking and problem solving in our students and ourselves?
  • What is understanding, and how does it develop?
  • What are the roles of reflection and assessment in student and teacher learning?
  • How can participants continue to share and pursue their understanding of Project Zero’s ideas with others after the institute?

The Project Zero Faculty Chair is comprised of Howard Gardner, David Perkins, and Steve Seidel.