Sunday, August 26, 2012

Thinking About Thinking

You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.
- Plato

As the summer comes to an end and with a new school year quickly approaching, I find myself even more excited and inspired than the year before! After finally taking a leap into the "Twitterverse," I have truly realized that there is a whole new "digital staffroom" outside the walls of my school. This leap has lead me to follow new friends, gain new insights, and expand my own wonderings with people from around the world! Throughout the month of August, I found myself reading new blogs, articles and insights from fellow teachers which has helped shape my optimism for this upcoming year.

Specifically, and thanks to Joanne Babalis and the Great Beginnings FDK Team for creating and sharing a wonderful Wiki, I was able to use one of their posted articles to expand my own questions and knowledge around Inquiry. "Making Thinking Visible" by Ron Ritchhart and David Perkins (2008) has not only painted a picture for me of what it means to literally "make thinking visible" in a classroom, but it has also broken down the basics of what it means to create a "culture and community of thinkers" for students and for teachers. After having the wonderful opportunity this past year to attend one of our regional network meetings with my Administrator and other staff from my school, this experience helped set the stage for me with regards to how to "think about thinking." That being a loaded thought (haha), perhaps led me to connect so well with this article and truly get my mind on to what this can look like and sound like in my classroom this year.

"Effective thinkers make their thinking visible, meaning they externalize their thoughts through speaking, writing, drawing, or some other method." (p. 58)

What do you see?       What do you think about that?       What do you wonder? (p. 59)

Within the realm of documentation and by paying attention to the process behind the product,  these prompting questions will not only "stimulate curiosity and set the stage for inquiry" but they will also provide a foundation for learning that will allow children to make observations and utilize their thinking capabilities. For teachers, this means being able to capture student thinking throughout the process of learning and in turn, providing students with the necessary building blocks to expand their own knowledge. I look forward to sharing my experiences with this approach and any feedback or comments are welcomed!

Wishing everyone a wonderful start to the school year and creating a classroom space that fosters curiousity, inquiries and discoveries!