Sunday, October 19, 2014

Anchor Charts 2014 & Visible Thinking

I made a random discovery on my computer.  My I Tunes has this neat visualizer that comes on when you are listening to music.  It's so relaxing.  :)  I'm sure MOST people already know about it, but it was a fun little discovery as I was listening to some classical music.  
In addition I made a "Peaceful Music in the Classroom" mix for my writing time or just quiet work time.  I linked up a lot of my favorite soundtracks and classical music that I like.  The link to it is on Pinterest below
This summer as teachers we were asked to read the book Making Thinking Visible by Ron Ritchhart, Mark Church, and Karen Morrison.  Dr. Ritchhart is the Senior Research Associate at Project Zero out of Harvard's School of Education and the three authors have been working to encourage a "culture of thinking" in schools across the globe.  

Some of the questions they ask you to think about are:
  • What kinds of thinking must students make use of in order to deepen understanding?
  • What opportunities are there for my students to develop and explain their theories with one another?
  • What kind of creative solutions do I ask my students to construct?
  • How do I invite my students to debate the complexities of a topic or issue?
Mark Church--consultant and author or Making Thinking Visible 

I think that much of what this approach does is elevate what many teachers are already doing in the classroom.  I don't mean to put off the impression that there is nothing to learn from these approaches, but rather that it is at the heart of good teaching and much of that can be seen in so many classrooms.  And yet, I think there is so much to learn and gain from this book.  

I read a great statement from the Visible Thinking site

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.

My understanding is that it allows students to be meta-cognitive (to think about their thinking) and provides them with the "visible" (not to be repetitive) tools they need to access like:
  • what was heard and shared during think-aloud times
  • what was said during classroom discussions
  • how they connected socially and emotionally to a topic
  • what ways they can apply it to real-life
You see that in classrooms that use "think-alouds", "think-pair-share", "KWLs", charts to anchor student's thinking, wonderings, noticings (Random side note:  This word "noticings" should be able to be used and not have a red highlight, because it's misspelled.  I love that word.  Anyone else? :)), and on and on!  :)  

I find that the CAFE and Daily 5 line up really beautifully with this approach, but I've been trying to look for other places I can incorporate it more.  One area I see this tying in nicely is with anchor charts.  My goal this year is to be more deliberate and thoughtful about my charts.  I think I've been slowly moving away from keeping everything on the SmartBoard.  As fantastic as technology is it can sometimes take away from the tangible "touch, feel, and see" reminders that can exist on the walls.  

Here are a few from my week:

This one is almost exactly the same (despite the misspelled of "persuade") anchor chart as Amy Lemon's, which you can find more about here.  My class is writing a persuasive writing piece called "Haunted House for Sale", which is from The Clutter Free Classroom here.   I really enjoy reading what the students write about.  This poster from Amy will add another little piece that will tie our lessons together and reiterate a few things we've already talked about.  (And also that teachers misspell words too. :)) 
Below is my attempt at trying out a "Making Thinking Visible" routine called "See, Think, Wonder".  You can learn more about it by clicking here.   I took the book The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi.  
It's a beautifully written story about a little girl named Unhei who moves from Korea and starts at a new school in the States.  She worries about the students being able to pronounce her name and so she tells them that she is going to choose a new name.  The students try to help her by giving her names that she then puts in a "Name Jar".  I won't give away the ending, but as you can imagine she and her classmates learn a lot along the way.  

I thought it would be interesting to use the idea of a "keyhole" preview to give the students a glimpse of the story and see what they can draw from it.  
This anchor chart is an "oldie but a goodie".  I'm not quite sure where the original source is, but it is a fabulous picture to give students the sense of how the plot works.  We are working on understanding the ingredients of Realistic Fiction, and this has been a great tie-in to our read-alouds and small group work with their guided reading books.  
And last, but not least I finally found a place for my Daily 5 charts.  Every year I try to hone a new component of it.  I started 5 years ago with "Read to Self" and I haven't looked back (shout out to one of my favorite teacher friends T for bringing it to our door).  I LOVE what the students learn from this process and it connects so beautifully to Making Thinking Visible for students.  I am not a purist in how I do Daily 5 and it changes from day to day.  I rarely offer all 5 choices and I have never been able to get through more than 2 rounds, but I really love the choice that it gives students.  The routines are clear and it helps us set a purpose for our learning.  My goal this year is to build Word Work choices and/or routines.  We'll see how that goes!  :)  
I'll let everyone know how "See, Think, and Wonder" works.  Enjoy your week!  

1 comment:

Momma Mac said...

Can you believe - Ron Ritchardt is coming to my new school for PD this week? i get to spend ALL saturday learning from him - so timely after reading this book we were given last year. Thanks for all your good ideas - as always - and I've bookmarked your songs for the classroom. Keep 'em coming. I'm going all digital with my music this year (scary!!!!) and any help like this is AMAZING.