So, I have been THINKING…

“Learning is a consequence of thinking.”

–Mark Church

Something that really resonated with me last week in our sessions with Mark Church was his push for each of us to define what thinking looked like in our daily lives and in our classrooms.  How do we know we are thinking?  How do we know when to employ different thinking skills?  What type of thinking are we asking our students to do on a regular basis, and how do we know they are actually being successful?

He put forth a challenge in one of his sessions about using the word thinking in our classrooms.  Just imagine if we put a ban, yes a ban, on that word for a while.  Instead of asking our students to think for a minute, let’s ask them instead to draw connections, describe what they see, or build an explanation.  I wonder about the power of naming the type of thinking we are asking them to do. Will our students start to identify the different ways in which they think?  Will they develop the capacity to use those skills on their own?

To truly understand, students need to be able to express their thinking in many different ways.  This Understanding Map (© Project Zero) is designed to help clarify the types of thinking we ask our students to do in our lessons to foster a deep understanding.

Understanding map (2)A second challenge from Mark Church was to put our “tasks/lessons to task”.  Using the map above, what are the types of thinking you are asking your students to do when they:

  • listen to a story
  • watch a movie
  • write a reflection
  • design a model
  • solve a problem
  • turn and talk
  • etc, etc, etc…

When we examine our lessons more closely, is there a way for us to provide more opportunities and time for thinking in our classrooms?

If we are purposeful in building specific thinking opportunities into our lessons, our students will surely gain a deeper understanding of the curriculum.  “Learning is a consequence of thinking”.