#MICON13: Classrooms of Understanding

UnderstandingThis week Alice and I are sharing a workshop at The Martin Institute for Teaching Excellence 2013 Conference.  We spend a significant amount of time in our classrooms helping our students scratch below the surface of what they are reading to deepen their understanding. There are several instructional tools we use to do this, and we were asked to share what we do. We’ve titled our session “Classrooms of Understanding: Scratching Below the Surface” and have provided the following description in the conference brochure:

What does student understanding look like? How do innovative teachers equip today’s learners with the critical and creative thinking skills needed to thrive in a changing world? In this excavation of understanding, we will uncover the essentials of student understanding, delve into routines and questioning strategies that develop habits for critical and creative thinking, and unearth best instructional practices in order to transform today’s classrooms into places of deep student learning. Join us. You’ll dig it!

Participants will gain:

  1. Insight into what student understanding looks like
  2. Tools for developing (and assessing) students’ critical and creative thinking
  3. Familiarity with deep questioning strategies and visible thinking routines
  4. Awareness of the 4 aspects of creativity and how to scaffold them into instruction
  5. Reflection on current practice and transformation of classrooms into places of deep thinking and understanding

Here are the slides we used for the session:

by Philip Cummings and Alice Parker

One of the primary things Alice and I are sharing in our workshop are some of the visible thinking routines we learned through Harvard’s Project Zero and use regularly in our classrooms. We only have a limited amount of time, but we hope teachers will get to experience See/Think/Wonder, 3-2-1 Bridge, a CSI: Colour/Symbol/Image, Connect/Extend/Challenge, and I Used to Think…Now I Think… Our hope is that teacher’s and school leaders will use these routines to help deepen their learners’ understanding and raise the own awareness of the learners’ mastery.

Below are a few pictures that came out of the session on Wednesday, June 12, 2013.

Classrooms of UnderstandingClassrooms of UnderstandingIf you’re in Memphis to attend the conference, we’d love to have you join us. We have another workshop at 1:00 PM today. We will be in room D109 at PDS.