Learning to Think, Thinking to Learn.

Thirty years ago, some theories about teaching and learning were based on training exercises and drills. The idea was that if facts were repeated enough, then students would memorize them, and this was learning. Under this concept learning is shown by a change in behavior as a result of experience, but nothing is mentioned about what students believe, what process they use to solve problems, or their own awareness of their thinking.

This post is based on the idea that teaching means teaching students to think. It assumes that teaching is not just about communicating facts or mechanical skills like Math rules (of course, you must have facts in order to learn), but is a process of coming to understand how you think.

The idea that all students should learn how to think critically is a relatively new one (certainly since the turn of the 20th century) and one for which most schools are not well prepared. The point is how we teach thinking, and how to make students aware of their thinking.
vtVisible Thinking is a flexible approach to integrating the teaching and development of thinking with your content and curriculum. This is a project of Harvard University. The essence of this project is a series of routines for thinking. They are simple and to the point.

The idea of visible thinking helps to make concrete what a thoughtful classroom might look like. At any moment, we can ask, “Is thinking visible here? Are students explaining things to one another? Are students offering creative ideas? Are they, and I as their teacher, using the language of thinking? Is there a brainstorm about alternative interpretations on the wall? Are students debating a plan?”

The central idea of Visible Thinking is very simple: making thinking visibleWe learn best what we can see and hear, although thinking is pretty much invisible. Mostly, thinking happens under the hood, within the marvelous engine of our mind-brain.

Visible Thinking includes a number of ways of making students’ thinking visible to themselves, to their peers, and to the teacher, so they get more engaged by it and come to manage it better for learning and other purposes.

In DEEPdt, visible thinking is a game changer. Thankfully, Harvard's Project Zero has created some pretty awesome routines that can easily be utilized in the DEEPdt process. In trying to visualize ...

Here are some of its key goals (extract from his website www.visiblethinkingpz.org):

  • Deeper understanding of content
  • Greater motivation for learning
  • Development of learners’ thinking and learning abilities.
  • Development of learners’ attitudes toward thinking and learning and their alertness to opportunities for thinking and learning (the “dispositional” side of thinking).
  •  A shift in classroom culture toward a community of enthusiastically engaged thinkers and learners.
    Structure.

The routines are structured well and only take a single page for each. It covers:

• The thinking routines itself
• Purpose: What kind of thinking does this routine encourage?
• Application: When and where can it be used?
• Launch: What are some tips for starting and using this routine?

pageshot

Visible Thinking Routines: SEE THINK WONDER

If you go to the Visible Thinking website you can download these in zipped packages of PDF files. I have also upload these and you can get them from here. The Routine cover the following aspects of Thinking:

This visual features a number of key thinking routines together with examples of how to use them with learners:

visible-thinking

Resources:

Creat_pdfs.zipCreat_pdfs.zip 472 KB

Fairness_pdfs.zipFairness_pdfs.zip 544 KB

Truth_pdfs.zipTruth_pdfs.zip 357 KB

Understand_pdfs.zipUnderstand_pdfs.zip 701 KB

AERA06ThinkingRoutines.pdfAERA06ThinkingRoutines.pdf 238 KB

Pearls of Wisdom from Forrest Gump

The world will never be the same once you’ve seen it through the eyes of Forrest Gump

Forrest Gump is a 1994 American epic romantic comedy-drama film released in the  US on July 6, 1994, 20 years ago. The film won the Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director for Robert Zemeckis, Best Actor for Tom Hanks among others.

While waiting at a bus stop at Savannah, Georgia in 1981, Forrest Gump (Tom Hanks) begins telling his life story to strangers who sit next to him on the bench.

¨You’ll Never Know What You’re Capable Of If You Don’t Try¨

His story begins with the leg braces he had to wear as a child in the 1950s, and as a result other children bullied him. His only childhood friend famously advised him to “run, Forrest, run!” when they began picking on him. He broke free of his braces and later enjoyed a successful career as a college athlete.Then he ran across the country for three years, but that’s another lesson you can find below. Always try. You may surprise yourself.

¨Stupid is as stupid does¨

It means that an intelligent person who does stupid things is still stupid. You are what you do. He lives with his mother (Sally Field), who tells him that “stupid is as stupid does.” His mother runs a rooming house and Forrest teaches one of their guests, a young Elvis Presley, a hip-swinging dance.

¨Shit Happens¨

“Así es la vida” or “C’est la vie”. Shit happens pay attention and keep your eyes open.
A universal religious concept:
Taoism: Shit Happens.  Hinduism: This shit happened before. Islam: If shit happens, take hostages. Buddhism: If shit happens is it really shit? Protestantism: Shit happens if you work hard.  Catholicism: Shit Happens, I deserve it. 7th Day Adventist:Shit happens on Saturday. Mormonism: Knock Knock, Shit Happens. Judaism: Why does shit happen to me? Krishnaism: Shit happens, ring a dingy ding. Jehovah’s Witness:People now living will see shit happen. Paganism: Each shit has its own name. Atheism: Bullshit! TV Evangelism: Send more shit. Rastafarianism: Let’s smoke this shit. By urbandictionary.com.

¨Be kind¨

After graduating, Forrest enlists in the United States Army, where he befriends Benjamin Buford “Bubba” Blue . Not only did they sleep back-to-back to avoid the mud, but after Bubba died, Forrest lived out Bubba’s dream of being a shrimping boat captain. Forrest was a good friend to Bubba because Bubba was so loyal to him. It’s simple: To Have Good Friends, Be a Good Friend.

“There’s only so much fortune a man really needs and the rest is just for showing off”

After earning a fortune, Forrest gave Bubba’s portion of the shrimping boat business to Bubba’s family. “There’s only so much fortune a man really needs and the rest is just for showing off,” he reasoned. “So, I gave a whole bunch of it to the Foursquare Gospel Church and I gave a whole bunch to the Bayou La Batre Fishing Hospital. And even though Bubba was dead, and Lieutenant Dan said I was nuts, I gave Bubba’s momma Bubba’s share. And you know what? She didn’t have to work in nobody’s kitchen no more.” If you can share your wealth, it’s worth doing. It’s Great to Give Back.

¨You have to do the best with what God gave you¨

Mrs. Gump: You have to do the best with what God gave you.  The Bubba Gump Shrimp Company becomes a huge success due to the elimination of competition. Forrest leaves the company in the hands of Dan, who invests their wealth in shares of a “fruit company” (Apple Computer), making them both millionaires. Forrest gives Bubba’s mother a sizable check, causing her to faint, then to retire from her low-paying domestic job. From the outside, that must have looked foolish, but he didn’t care: He was always true to himself. Do What You Love, No Matter What.

 

Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get 

 Forrest Gump: My momma always said, “Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” Expect the Unexpected and Be Open-Minded.

¨Dying is a part of life¨

“Momma always said dyin’ was a part of life. I sure wish it wasn’t. Little Forrest, he’s doing just fine. About to start school again soon. I make his breakfast, lunch and dinner every day. I make sure he combs his hair and brushes his teeth every day. Teaching him how to play ping-pong. He’s really good. We fish a lot. And every night, we read a book. He’s so smart, Jenny. You’d be so proud of him. I am. He, uh, wrote a letter, and he says I can’t read it. I’m not supposed to, so I’ll just leave it here for you. Jenny, I don’t know if Momma was right or if, if it’s Lieutenant Dan. I don’t know if we each have a destiny, or if we’re all just floating around accidental-like on a breeze, but I, I think maybe it’s both. Maybe both is happening at the same time. I miss you, Jenny. If there’s anything you need, I won’t be far away.”

To know more about Forrest Gump Quotes and its wisdom:

Mind mapping

This post introduces one of the simplest and most useful of all the systems thinking tools, the mind map.  There are many variations of this tool, including concept mapping and spider diagramming but they are all generally used to view multiple, complex (non-linear) relationships in a system.

You can use mind maps for:

  • Making notes during a lesson
  • Planning for an essay
  • Illustrating a process
  • Brain storming
  • Revising

To get started, you simply pick a topic and depict it either in words or a symbol in the middle of a page.  Here is a well-known mind map of how to mind map.

1000px-MindMapGuidlines.svg_

Viewing this graphic you can easily get a sense of what a mind map is all about rather quickly.  How to get started:

  1. Start in the center with a description of the topic or theme
  2. Write whatever comes to mind next as a “sub-topic” and draw a connecting line, do it again, and again….
  3. Use images and symbols as much as possible
  4. Select key words and print clearly
  5. Each word/image should sit on its own line or inside its own bubble
  6. The lines should be connected, starting from the central image.  Important connections between concepts in different sub-section should be indicated
  7. Use colors to code for key ideas or sub-systems (sections of the map)
  8. Use thinker lines to indicate more important connections
  9. Put the most important ideas are near the center (its a hierarchy of ideas)
  10. Do it your own way!

In the classroom, mind maps are often used as a tool in the planning stage for writing exercises, as learners can structure ideas and discuss how they are related, but you can also use it to revision and to find out what they have learned.

Mind maps work visually. They stimulate your brain, helping you to:

  • Think of more ideas.
  • View multiple, complex (non-linear) relationships in a system
  • Recall information more easily.

To begin, for the first time, is best to start with a brainstorming of words based around the topic. The teacher writes the list of words which came out of the brainstorming on the board. Learners organise the words in a mind map and then compare ideas on how they have grouped words and related them.

Let’s start with a simple example:

1.- Begin at the center of a clean sheet of paper and write the name of your topic/title. In these case “mind mapping”.

2.- For each main idea draw a branch from the centre, using a different colour. Write key words along the branch.

Publicación1

3.- Now use smaller branches to represent linked ideas. Use the same colour as the main branch.

recalling-vocab-mind-map1

4.- You could also use images or symbols to illustrate your ideas.

how to mind maps

Thanks for your time, I hope it used to try to start making a new mind map and if you are a teacher to introduce this new thinking tool in the clasroom.

FrankTudela2012