Making Thinking Visual - Cultures of Thinking

So I have been attending a workshop called "Cultures of Thinking".  It is with Mark Church and based out of the idea of "Making Thinking Visual".  

My brain has been squeezed and expanded on many levels. The workshop started out not as I had expected, but in turn have found it to be what I need. 

I have always had this fascination about how art provides kids with a chance to problem solve and critically think- however I never thought about all the other opportunities to enhance students thinking and learning. 

It's all about providing time and opportunities for kids to think - actually think, reason and explain why and how they are thinking that. It is hard to really explain, because it is not a concrete thing, but rather an organic action that ebbs and flows based on the kids and their responses. 

Our discussions have been deep, confusing, enlightening and amazing.  Our readings have echoed our conversations - my favorite part so far is: "Instead of covering the curriculum and judging our success by how much content we get through, we must learn to identify the key ideas and concepts with which we want our students to engage, struggle, question, explore and ultimately build understanding.  Our goal must be to make the big ideas of the curriculum accessible and engaging while honoring their complexity, beauty, and power in the process." Making Thinking Visual - pg 26

AMAZING!  This is always what I struggle with - thinking time versus curriculum in the 50 min I have once a week.  I would love to have my normal 50 min and then 25 minutes or so later in the week for a humanities class where we could devote time to history, connections, all sorts of awesomeness.  Realistically, I will somehow need to balance and thinking and product. 

I am excited to explore this - I will succeed in some lessons and fail in others. Together my students and I will make new connections, learn to think, learn to truly listen - we will think to learn. 

It will be a brave new world one lesson at a time. 


Last Day

It's already and finally the last day of school.

As I type this - both my classrooms are packed up for the summer.  Posters are down, boxes are stacked, bookshelves are covered, and that pile of crap that I have meant to 'put away' since sometime in October has finally been taken care of. 


My rooms feel so empty, so foreign -- it's like cleaning out your dorm room and realizing that it was never really yours to begin with.

There are so many things we did this year - so many great memories.  At the same time I feel like there is so much that I didn't accomplish, so many projects and ideas that are still on the 'inspiration/to do lists'.  (Never fear, most of them are pinned ;))

Good bye classrooms.  I shall see you soon -  I shall be excited, ready, and my patience restored!