Benefits in Explaining One’s Math Thinking


"It’s hard to get kids in the habit of talking about how they are thinking about a problem when they’ve had many years of instruction that focused on getting the 'right answer.' That’s why educators are now trying to get students in the habit of explaining their thinking at a young age." — Source: Mind/Shift

Continue reading the full post for examples, tips, and classroom video footage.

Image Source: EdTechTeacher

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: An Introducton

Visible Thinking

Harvard’s Project Zero: Part 3

Visible Thinking is a flexible and systematic research-based approach to integrating the development of students’ thinking with content learning across subject matters. An extensive and adaptable collection of practices, Visible Thinking has a double goal: on the one hand, to cultivate students’ thinking skills and dispositions, and, on the other, to deepen content learning. By thinking dispositions, we mean curiosity, concern for truth and understanding, a creative mindset, not just being skilled but also alert to thinking and learning opportunities and eager to take them” (Source).

“Visible Thinking is a broad and flexible framework for enriching classroom learning in the content areas and fostering students’ intellectual development at the same time. Here are some of its key goals:

  • Deeper understanding of content
  • Greater motivation for learning
  • Development of learners’ thinking and learning abilities.
  • Development of learners’ attitudes toward thinking and learning and their alertness to opportunities for thinking and learning (the “dispositional” side of thinking).
  • A shift in classroom culture toward a community of enthusiastically engaged thinkers and learners” (Source).

“The idea of visible thinking helps to make concrete what a thoughtful classroom might look like. At any moment, we can ask, “Is thinking visible here? Are students explaining things to one another? Are students offering creative ideas? Are they, and I as their teacher, using the language of thinking? Is there a brainstorm about alternative interpretations on the wall? Are students debating a plan?”

When the answers to questions like these are consistently yes, students are more likely to show interest and commitment as learning unfolds in the classroom. They find more meaning in the subject matters and more meaningful connections between school and everyday life. They begin to display the sorts of attitudes toward thinking and learning we would most like to see in young learners — not closed-minded but open-minded, not bored but curious, neither gullible nor sweepingly negative but appropriately skeptical, not satisfied with “just the facts” but wanting to understand” (Source).

A proven program for enhancing
students’ thinking and comprehension abilities

“At the core of Visible Thinking are practices that help make thinking visible: Thinking Routines loosely guide learners’ thought processes and encourage active processing. They are short, easy-to-learn mini-strategies that extend and deepen students’ thinking and become part of the fabric of everyday classroom life” (Source).

About the Research

“Visible Thinking is the product of a number of years of research concerning children’s thinking and learning, along with a sustained research and development process in classrooms.

“One important finding was that skills and abilities are not enough. They are important of course, but alertness to situations that call for thinking and positive attitudes toward thinking and learning are tremendously important as well. Often, we found, children (and adults) think in shallow ways not for lack of ability to think more deeply but because they simply do not notice the opportunity or do not care. To put it all together, we say that really good thinking involves abilities, attitudes, and alertness, all three at once. Technically this is called a dispositional view of thinking. Visible Thinking is designed to foster all three.

“Another important result of this research concerns the practical functionality of the Visible Thinking approach — the thinking routines, the thinking ideals, and other elements. All these were developed in classroom contexts and have been revised and revised again to ensure workability, accessibility, rich thinking results from the activities, and teacher and student engagement” (Source).

Thinking Routines

Visible Thinking makes extensive use of learning routines that are thinking rich.

Technology Integration

Visit this overview of Making Thinking Visible with Technology by Clif Mims, then enjoy the many exemplary lesson plans and wonderful resources at MTVT.org (See screenshot below).

Making Thinking Visible with Technology (MTVT.org)

* Much of this content courtesy of Project Zero at Harvard University.

 

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.

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Learning with Web 2.0 and Social Media #idt7078

IDT 7078I’m very excited to be starting another learning adventure with graduate students here at The University of Memphis. For the next seven weeks I’ll be teaching IDT 7078: Seminar in Instructional Design and Technology. This semester’s topic is Learning with Web 2.0 and Social Media. Many of you may recall (because you were active participants) that I previously taught this course with a similar topic (Teaching and Learning with Web 2.0) in the Summers of 2008 and 2009. In both of these instances the students collaborated to publish the first two editions of the ebook Teaching and Learning with Web 2.0. Their exemplary work earned nominations for the international Edublog Awards (2008, 2009).

I also offered this course during Spring 2013 and the seminar topic was Learning with Web 2.0. It was the first time that I’d incorporated my work from Harvard, the idea of making thinking visible with technology, into a course. It pushed everyone’s ideas about thinking, learning, understanding, and technology. This experience as well as the work and research I’ve continued to do in the past year have resulted in the development of the class that starts today.

This semester’s class promises to be another outstanding experience for all of us. It has been designed utilizing some of the best practices and student feedback from the earlier offerings, and now incorporates many of the innovations in technology that have been developed in recent years. As we consider all the “cool” technologies and social media we will always keep the focus on their contributions to learning. These technologies can help us go a long ways in making thinking visible.

It’s going to be a different sort of experience and a wildly fun journey into learning. We invite you to join us!

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2nd Graders Remember Dr. King

Here are some resources and ideas to help everyone learn about the life and important contributions of Dr. Martin Luther King.

You can learn a lot from simply watching this video developed by (I think) a 2nd grade class (Please help me find the original source so that I can properly cite and acknowledge their outstanding work.).

EdTech Ideas

You and your students could also make your thinking visible using technologies such as: Google Slides or PreziStorybird, ToonDoo or PixtonBlubbrPinterest or Learnist in combination with AudioBoo or  SoundcloudGlogsterDipityVoiceThreadSlideCastZentation, or GoAnimate or PowToon.

Photo Album

Here are a few of my photos from what was then the recently finished Dr. Martin Luther King Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Google Glass in the Classroom

Glass in the Class

The following is a collection of resources for those seeking to learn more about using Google Glass in educational settings. There are some exciting potential uses and some issues that require serious consideration as the evolution of wearable technology evolves.

Seeing the Classroom through Google Glass

Margaret Powers writes, “As a reflective educator, your goal is to be constantly documenting and learning in the classroom. With Google Glass, that process can be much easier.”

Full Article

A First Look at How Educators Are Really Using Google Glass

“While educators may be impressed by augmented reality features from at-a-glance navigation to spoken Google search-and-response, they frequently save their best praise for Glass’ eye-level video-capture function.”

Full Article

Google Glass: Making Learning Visible with Wearable Technology

“Google Glass provides the educator a means for “making learning visible” (MLV), and can assist with the “observation and documentation in deepening and extending children’s and adults’ learning” that the Project Zero researches from Harvard and Reggio Emilia, who developed MLV, identified as key to effective teaching. The paradox of MLV is that documenting one’s process within the workflow must itself be invisible if it is to be seamless and not “get in the way” of the actual work.” Stacey Goodman provides a nice overview of the technology and presents some potential classroom uses.

Full Article

Reflections on Using Google Glass

Ben is “a special education teacher, and as of late there have been a ton of examples of Glass helping people with disabilities.  If you just look at theGoogle Glass Google+ community you can read about them there. Truly amazing things will come of Glass for people with disabilities.” Ben Hommerding reflects on his experiences with Glass in a series of three blog posts.

Reflection 1Reflection 2, and Reflection 3

Additional Reading

Innovative Learning Solution’s early ideas about Google Glass.

Cecil College uses latest Google technology in classroom

Is Google Glass Suitable for Schools?

Image Source: garysking.wordpress.com

Making Mathematics Visible

Math ConnectionsAs a math teacher I would sometimes hear students ask, “When are we going to use this in real life.” I worked hard to provide students with practical experiences and tangible answers to this question as I think doing so helps with transference and engagement. I relied on feedback from my father (an architect, contractor, and farmer) and my friends that work in the areas of engineering, accounting/finance/sales, and healthcare for ideas and real-world examples that I could use in my classroom. I think the students and I would have also enjoyed having examples similar to the ones included in the following video. Amazing!

BEAUTY OF MATHEMATICS from PARACHUTES.TV on Vimeo.

Image Source: alibris.com

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