We have been working with Harvard’s Project Zero on integrating thinking routines into our teaching. Melissa Rivard, Veronica Mansilla, and Flossie Chua have been working with our staff to develop what they call Global Thinking Routines, a type of thinking routine designed to make thinking more visible and geared towards an international perspective.
The thinking routine that I have decided to focus on in my class is called, See, Think, Wonder. What I love about this routine is that it forces me to be less controlling of my classroom. I have no idea where the conversation will end up or what students will learn from the prompt. In a way it forces me to let students chart their own educational course while simply engaging their own curiosity. I see many similarities in what this routine forces me to do as a teacher and one of my favorite Ted Talks by Sugata Mitra. He mainly speaks about “letting students learn” because they are naturally curious rather than ‘making them learn.’
I was lucky enough to have one of my classroom conversations transcribed and analyzed in a staff meeting. What I am most pleased with is that throughout the transcript, you can see students asking and answering questions that I would have asked them as their English teacher. They hit all the things that I would have wanted them to hit all on their own! It was less work for me, and they actually accomplished much more than we would have if it had been teacher guided. Additionally I am pleased to see that my voice is one of the least commonly noted ones in the transcript. Truly student centred learning.
You can see a transcript of a conversation that I had with my 9th grade class following students recording what they see, think, and wonder while watching a clip of Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr.’s opposing ideas.