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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Thinking Moves and Other Great Routines for Learning

We all know that learning doesn’t happen through the mere delivery of information or we would all be geniuses, after all information is coming at us a mile a minute these days.  Learning only occurs when we do something with that information.  For our students, that might mean that they can identify the parts, develop questions around, look at different perspectives, reason, make connections and synthesize explanations with the content they are given.

Thinking Moves
The people at Harvard’s Project Zero call these “thinking moves” and have demonstrated that they are the activities that lead to learning.  These folks have also substantiated what I have been saying all along “When kids have structures for learning, better learning emerges.” They assert that you can teach children learning routines, give them a repertoire of “thinking moves” from a very young age, that will deepen their qualitative and quantitative understanding of the world.  Learn more 
Sourced from:  The Cultures of Thinking Project at Project Zero Harvard Graduate School of Education
Now, that’s what I’m talking about!
Teaching kids how to think, connect and use the information that they are getting is the whole gist of any classroom.  So, what if you don’t get kids at a very young age?  What if they come to you without a repertoire of thinking moves?  Well, it is never too late to give them a “thinking routine” that can help them understand and clarify the issues, develop arguments, assess what is important and name what should happen next.  SCAN is the perfect thinking routine to introduce your middle school and above to a deeper understanding of the issues, regardless of the content area that you teach.  SCAN, explained in my last blog, is a simple thinking routine that is easy enough for adolescents to use and robust enough to be valuable for school leaders.

Bottom Line
Making good thinking processes routine for our students can help them become better learners and is giving them a tool that they can use for life.  Teaching kids how to think, not what to think, should be our ultimate goal. How do you promote thinking in your classroom?

BTW: Free Tech Tool gets them started
The SCAN online tool, a collaborative internet site due to go offline on June 30th, has got the SCAN critical thinking “routine” built into it.  With its engaging online discussion style and library with a variety of topics (plus you can write your own), it is a great way to get kids to develop that thinking routine and incorporate it into their daily lives and your daily lessons.  Check out this simple video to see how the free SCAN tool works.

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