If I could take one thing away from the Harvard Visible Thinking Course it is the importance of group work. Not just students being thrown together haphazardly but effective and thoughtful groupings. Group work that allows students to learn from one another, to openly share their ideas through a variety of different means and ultimately group work that forces engagement in the learning so in order for students to get their point across to one another they must argue and present evidence.
For the start of next school year, I want to remember the following things:
- Specifically teaching – how to work in a group? – Handy that our first UOI is “How We Organise Ourselves”
- Essential agreements for working in a group
- Role playing and ways to communicate respectfully and responsibly
- Strategies and skills
- Making learning visible happens in a variety of ways – including bulletin boards. In the past bulletin boards have been used as documentation boards. Students weren’t engaged in them in the best possible way. I have found that for me, documentation is most powerful when students put their own ideas up. Instead of me sticking it on the board they put decide what to put and where to put it in order to make connections. By giving them control they learn that their ideas are valued. They also learn that their ideas are powerful because it is their ideas that inherently drive the learning.
- Using “speech bubbles” early on to help represent their thinking. Even if at the beginning of grade 1 it involves scribing and/or drawings.