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Visible Thinking: Lesson Ideas from Beth Oswald

A Smithsonian Teacher Ambassador shares lesson ideas and what she learned about Visible Thinking strategies.

Beth OswaldBeth Oswald is a Smithsonian Teacher Ambassador, and Wisconsin’s 2008 State Teacher of the Year. She teaches at J.C. McKenna Middle School in Evansville, WI.

Ms. Oswald is pleased to share some lesson ideas and approaches for teaching Climate Change in the classroom.

Listen in to an audio welcome message from Ms. Oswald:


This routine is a great a way to involve students as they begin thinking about a topic. I used a photograph from the Smithsonian’s Arctic website to introduce the See/Think/Wonder routine to my colleagues. You can watch the video from my workshop to see this routine in action, and then download the PDF for further instructions.

[podcast format="video"]http://www.smithsonianconference.org/climate/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/SeeThinkWonder.flv[/podcast]


Circle of Viewpoints

This routine also works well at the beginning of a unit, especially when the topic can be viewed from diverse perspectives. Climate change is just such a topic. To see how Circle of Viewpoints works, watch the video and download the PDF.

[podcast format="video"]http://www.smithsonianconference.org/climate/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/CircleofViewpoints.flv[/podcast]

Visible Thinking

Purpose and Goals Visible Thinking is a flexible and systematic research-based approach to integrating the development of students' thinking with content learning across subject matters. An extensive and adaptable collection of practices, Visible Thinking has a double goal: on the one hand, to cultivate students' thinking skills and dispositions, and, on the other, to deepen content learning. By thinking dispositions, we mean curiosity, concern for truth and understanding, a creative mindset, not just being skilled but also alert to thinking and learning opportunities and eager to take them Who is it for? Visible Thinking is for teachers, school leaders and administrators in K - 12 schools who want to encourage the development of a culture of thinking in their classrooms and schools. Key Features and Practices At the core of Visible Thinking are practices that help make thinking visible: Thinking Routines loosely guide learners' thought processes and encourage active processing. They are short, easy-to-learn mini-strategies that extend and deepen students' thinking and become part of the fabric of everyday classroom life. Thinking Ideals are easily accessible concepts capturing naturally occurring goals, strivings or interests that often propel our thinking. Four Ideals -- Understanding, Truth, Fairness and Creativity -- are presented as modules on this site. There are associated routines for each ideal and within each module there are activities that help deepen students' concepts around the ideal. A key feature of the Visible Thinking approach is the Teacher Study Group as described in the School-Wide Culture of Thinking section. In these groups teachers reflect on student work, or documentation, generated by students when using routines or investigating an ideal. Documentation such as lists, maps, charts, diagrams, and worksheets reveal learners' unfolding ideas as they think through an issue. In study groups, teachers use the structured conversation of a protocol to look at and reflect on thinking present in student work. http://pzweb.harvard.edu/vt/index.html Included on this site are three “core” Thinking Routines to help you start implementing Visible Thinking in your classroom. More Visible Thinking information and routines are available at the web address above. For further information on how Global Warming is affecting the Arctic, visit: http://forces.si.edu/arctic/

Related Documents

PDF See / Think / Wonder
PDF Circle of Viewpoints
PDF What Makes You Say that? Interpretation with Justification Routine