About the Making Thinking Visible 2 category

To bring this back into your practice, let’s take some time to think through a lesson in your classroom. In this Discourse category, please provide responses to the following prompts:

  • What is a big concept in your discipline that you feel confident you can teach using inquiry or inductive teaching? (Something that you know students can find on their own given the right circumstance)

  • How might students engage design in conjunction with inquiry?

  • What artifacts that show their thinking might they create along the way?

  • What is it about this topic that lends itself to this approach to teaching?

  • What materials, data, guiding questions, or creative parameters would you need to insure student success in achieving your outcome?

  • How does this lesson plan reinforce the grammar, challenge the grammar, and/or work within the grammar of schooling?

After sharing your responses, be sure to respond to your colleagues! Read over and respond to at least two of your colleagues. Share your questions and values after reading their responses.

In my discipline, I could teach theme using the inquiry method. I think that students could take something we have just read and engage in trying to determine some lessons learned or other methods to think about potential theme topics. From there they can try grouping each other’s topics and determine a theme they’d like from there.
Artifacts will include items like brainstorm boards, citations found in the novel, and the flags in the book that helped them determine sections to work on.
The topic helps students to select something of their own and make decisions as justification. Allowing them to explore is better with this topic because it gives them more choice. Students would need access to their novels, some materials like some prompts about lessons or about characters that might guide them to determining their theme.
In some ways it reinforces the grammar because it still stays within some of the parameters of an essay and could lead to traditional measures of grading. It does challenge because I do not have to give them the theme definition or have everyone do the same items. Instead, they can explore their own choices. This helps to challenge the grammar.

In my Social Studies practice I teach the concept of propaganda through inquiry. Through this concept students learn critical thinking and how to analyze media bias. I typically give them examples of propaganda and news sources and give them the essential question: What is this media trying to do?
Some of the propaganda is very obviously trying to persuade you and some of the news sources are obviously informational. But some are more difficult to analyze. Students are free to research any details to gain context or understanding of the sources.\

I think I could expand upon this project to have students design their own propaganda and news pieces based on their new understanding of their characteristics through this inquiry project. They could present these to their peers without revealing which are propaganda and which are informational and their peers could guess based on their knowledge. This would help both the whole class and the presenters understand how successful they had been at making each source if they get it right, but also if the class guesses the type wrong it shows everyone difficult it can be to decipher whether something is propaganda.

This lesson feels very typical in some ways of social studies classes. It has students analyzing sources and developing critical thinking. However, it does challenge in the way that it is inductive. I don’t lecture about the qualities of propaganda and then have students do a closed application activity. Instead, students have more control over their exploration and the way that they apply that knowledge.

I feel that I can tackle teaching the details of our standard writing assessment tool — 6+1 Traits of Writing. Though the specific vocabulary may be new, I do believe that students have encountered all of the necessary aspects in various points of their life. Through exploration and collaboration, I believe they can find a more genuine and personal understanding of these key ideas related to writing.

I am still waffling a bit on the exact artifacts that will be constructed. Certainly, a digital journal/running document will be necessary to keep information organized. I would really like to see students collaborating on this piece and assembling a final class-wide product — something like a “Student’s Guide to the 6+1 Traits of Writing” or the like. Perhaps that would be digital, but I think an additional print copy that could be used easily in the classroom would be pretty rad.

Students interact with language every day. Much of what our tenth grade curriculum focuses on is breaking down research and writing skills and formalizing the practice. One struggle I had in previous years was creating the habits of self-reflection after written works were initially assessed; the rewriting and revision stages were challenging. I believe some of that challenge came from a lack of familiarity with the vocabulary and how it connects to the students’ own work.

At the core, I am reinforcing the grammar of our district by focusing on a framework that is a required part of curriculum. However, by moving this framework away from a rubric used for summative assessment and instead putting it in the students’ hands, I hope to create a more authentic experience of the writing process within the classroom.

Crystal and Alexis’s projects both sound like interesting experiences for students. I feel we all fell into the same situation in which mandated curriculum boxed in the scope of our exercise a bit, but I do think we are all thinking of “small changes” that could lead to powerful educational moments.