Archive for Thinking
Kuhlthaus’ “Learning as a Process”chapter was an important reading for me professionally.
I articulated in a recent post “What sort of library?” the aspects of the learning environment I was striving for – and then I read this chapter! The learning environment I am aiming for is constructivist, where the learning is active and dynamic.
It was enlightening and exciting to read and understand the theories explained by Kuhlthau in this chapter. I had lots of “a-ha” moments and “so that’s why!” and “I’ve seen that too” thoughts.
I will scaffold my thoughts and responses using a Visible Thinking routine called “Connect, Extend, Challenge”:
|CONNECT:||How are the ideas and information presented
CONNECTED to what you already knew?
- learning is active and dynamic
- students are “constructing their own personal worlds”
- students construct their own knowledge from the information they collect
- information seeking to broaden their understanding of the world
- thinking and reflecting go hand in hand with learning by doing -> higher order thinking skills and metacognitive thinking. Visible thinking routines can be used to scaffold student thinking and reflection.
- the idea that the “Problem and solution stand out completely at the same time” (Dewey quoted in Kuhlthau, 2004, p.16). Often we can see the solution to a problem at the very same time as the problem itself becomes clear, this is especially the case when researching – clarity and a sense of “a – ha” that’s the answer happens at exactly the time that you understand or “get” the problem that you were struggling with.
|EXTEND:||What new ideas did you get that EXTENDED or pushed your thinking in new directions?|
- to provide useful and appropriate scaffolding that will support students to take control of the process. Students need to be able to confidently be able to use routines and scaffolds that they know will help them organise their thinking.
- knowing how to learn – empowering and enabling students to have the responsibility = skills, strategies and processes
- working towards deep understanding and being able to transfer it to other situations. In the rush of the classroom we have to have strong convictions to give over the time to support and promote learning experiences that contribute to deep understanding. It can be done, and very rewarding when it is done.
|CHALLENGE:||What is still CHALLENGING or confusing for you to get your mind around? What questions, wonderings or puzzles do you now have?|
- Making inferences - jumping from the known and beyond the given information is the aim of learning and what the students I teach find very difficult to do. I’m not sure if it lack of opportunity to do this, lack of scaffolding or something else? Is it because they haven’t gone through the entire phases of reflective thinking – maybe they are stuck on conceptualizing the problem and are therefore unable to make the jump to tentative interpretation/ hypothesis making.
In her work on inquiry learning, Carol Kuhlthau is heralded as being the first person to incorporate feelings into a model of the inquiry learning process. Upon reflection, there is a lot more to incorporating thinking, feeling and acting in learning than just identifying the feelings students are having at particular times in the process. Kuhlthau’s model has let me know where in the inquiry learning process my students are most likely to have uncomfortable and negative feelings, and be ready to give up. But more importantly, she has matched these feelings with what the students are doing cognitively at this time.
This will enable me to provide scaffolds, organisers and learning experiences to support my students in their cognitive tasks at these points in the process.
By electing to use these scaffolds, organisers and learning experiences students should be able to reflect, infer, predict or see patterns in their information and therefore technically be in a better, more supported/confident/aware and positive position to make the jump to the next step in the inquiry learning process.
So my role is to have on hand a selection of learning experiences, scaffolds and routines for students to use at various times in the learning process, but especially at those times when their feelings are low and negative.
My learning of and about the inquiry learning process is deepening my understandings of what is involved in the information process and will hopefully lead me to be able to transfer this knowledge in practical and meaningful ways across age groups, grade levels and Key Learning Areas.
Image: “Icelandic Faces”
Here are some definitions of Information Literacy:
Langford (1998,p.59): information literacy is a type of literacy that has been transformed to work with the technologies of the time.
My comment: Literacy is active and changing and as the types, sources, reliability and access to information change and develop through the use of the internet and web2.0 applications, students must be able to make sense of this information.
Abilock (2004, p. 1): information literacy is a transformational process where information is taken and used.
My comment: This is an active sort of definition – information literacy is a process or strategy to work with information in a purposeful way.
Herring & Tartar (2006, p. 3): list of things information literate students will be able to do.
My comment: Add the idea of reflecting on the way the information was used to serve an identified purpose.
All of the authors added extra dimensions and aspects to my understandings of information literacy.
Langford’s references to information literacy complementing technology is very relevant as students are dealing with many types of information in many formats and from varied sources. They need strategies and skills in identifying, deciphering and evaluating the information they come into contact with.
Abilock’s idea of using information for personal, social and global purposes support both constructivist and connectivist thinking where students are learning for an authentic purpose and audience.
Herring & Tartar identify actions that students are able to do with information in a step by step manner.
It seems to me that information literacy is a process to help students “help themselves” learn. So much about learning is not just content related facts. Students need to be able to collect, sort and use information in many ways to make meaning from what they read, view and hear. Information literacy is both a process and strategies to help them do this.
Herring, J. and Tartar, A. (2006). Progress in developing information literacy in a secondary school using the PLUS model. School Libraries in View, 23, 23-27
Why Teacher Librarian?
I have had the opportunity, over the last few years, to have been given the gift of freedom in my work in my classroom as a primary school teacher. I have been actively encouraged and allowed to think, to read, to find out, to imagine, to play, to try new ways and even to fail.
This translated into working with amazing, and varied, groups of students and creating wonderfully authentic learning opportunities for us all. I have had the chance to see first hand the effects of engaging students meaningfully in their learning, of working alongside them as they take up the reins of their own learning and move off into the wonderful world of wondering.
I have seen how this works in one classroom, but beyond my classroom is a group of passionate, dedicated and enthusiastic teachers who are achieving amazing learning in their classrooms as well. This sort of student centred learning should not be kept in single classrooms – it should be shared across classes and grades and stages and teachers.
So I see my moving to the Library as a chance to move my own personal learning, the learning of the students, and learning with my fabulous colleagues forward and outwards from learners in single classrooms to learners across the school.
I know I will continue to keep on
- questioning and
- trying new ways of learning …
…….. this time from the centre of the school, the heart of the school – the Library.
Here are the extra planning and programming bits and pieces that you asked for in the workshop yesterday:
Planning Proformas/ Grids
My wiiMusic Worksheets
My wiiSports Tennis Plan
I hope that these sheets help guide you in planning and using games consoles in your classroom.
Please link back here so we can all see what you have tried in your classroom.
Who says that learning is all not all fun and games????
If you need/want any other info or help or ideas please just leave a comment here
The best laid plans of a bracing walk through the wilds of Scotland with John were overthrown by the weather, and so we spent a great few hours in the cosy surrounds of the elegant lounge room at the Bridge of Orchy Hotel (in the west central Highlands of Argyll).
In The World According to Three Educators by a Fire, this is what we came up with:
Know your goals as you set out.
Take a steady approach, but always with your goals in mind.
Be prepared for serendipitous events, embrace them, use them and learn from them.
Allow students to lead their learning – support, encourage and celebrate learning as it happens.
Need to backward plan at times to enable a more open and exploratory type of learning to take place.
Do we “tick the boxes” or teach in a creative, child-centred and thought provoking way where students and teachers are given permission to learn and discover together, in a partnership of learners?
Do we encourage young teachers (all teachers?) to engage with their students, form relationships and learn together using new technologies and applications to enhance learning and relevance?
Do we support the exciting and innovative, scaffolding the teacher (like we do the students) so that they have freedom within a framework?
Quite simply, I think we do, I think we have to.
We owe our students and teachers to encourage and advocate for the inspiring, the innovative, the exciting and the relevant.
Snug and warm in a tiny café off the Royal Mile, we met up with the Adventure Author team: Judy, Cathrin and Keiron, to catch up and to discover what everyone had been up to since we last met.
The Adventure Author Project has finished, and the intrepid three are moving on so it was a good time to recap and talk about what they had found out and where they might go next.
Judy shared some of the newer features of the Adventure Author software:
1. Comment Cards – which allow comments to be made and shared between students and the teacher
2. Evaluation Page – specific criteria to be evaluated
- star rating
- attach evidence option
3. To Do List – to keep track of what has been done and what needs to be done next
And we discussed how they have been used by students how they might be used by teachers to scaffold and support writing (as well as game making).
Judy and her team insist that students are at the centre of their learning – that students need to drive their own learning, work together to explore and discover and then share what they have found out.
This approach seems to give students the permission to take responsibility for their actions/plans, gives them the structures to develop their learning around and the confidence, time and expectation that they will then share and evaluate what they have done or discovered.
We discussed how this approach works in various settings (with undergraduates and Primary students) and all felt that an unexpected bonus was the creative way students could (and did) respond to the challenge of being in control of the what and how of their learning.
As always, some wonderful and thought provoking ideas about creativity ensued – eg does one create and then find a purpose for the creation or does one create for a purpose or does one create because they can?????? (Maybe all at different times).
Thanks team for a great afternoon and night of interesting, provoking and thoughtful discussions and sharing. Looking forward to hooking up with something new in the not-too-distant-future.
I have always got my class to set goals at the beginning of each term or semester. I think that this is one small way that my students can learn to grow as effective and more independent learners. I think that setting goals for the term or semester can help my students organise themselves and “learn to learn”.
Goal setting is important
- to focus
- to get involved
- to “own” learning
- to build confidence
- to motivate
- to set what needs to be done
- as a path to learning
Some times and classes are more successful than others -
- is it the particular students, their understanding, their commitment?
- is it the structures or scaffolds that help the students to set goals and targets?
- is it the follow through/reminding / checking / follow up that SUPPORTS students and keep them focussed?
Students gain much from articulating their goals and their targets to reach their goals, and in my experience they need to
write it down
mark it off
look for “personal bests”
celebrate reaching targets
think about the goal
Student goal setting needs to be open, students need to be accountable, they need to be able “see” and “say” their goals and targets.
Now, in the spirit of keeping on, we will track where we want to go this semester ….
In this session we looked at the various characters in the game.We discussed (as we moved through the game, often retracing our steps, or jumping ahead to see/watch/view the particular character we were talking about)
- the lack of main or “big” characters in Haluz
- what each character added to the game
- the personality characteristics that each character had/showed
- how we knew what the character was like – and what made us think that way
- background music
- way the character moved
- what the character did
- what the character might have been feeling/ hearing/thinking at different points in the game
- and how this influenced the characters movements
- how the words we used to describe changed according to how the character was feeling/acting
During this session we couldn’t help but act out different ways of moving, of reacting, and of thinking whilst we were “in character”.
The kids then had some time to work on writing about one of the characters. I think they made some great attempts at actually “being” the character …… what do you think?
“Sendrick the snake had never heard music before, so he hastily pulled himself out of his basket when the strange music began playing” Sarah.
“Zaffa the hungry snake ferociously swallowed the cute furry mouse like a racing car going at great speed” Moustapha.
“Watching the mouse as carefully as a shark spying on it’s prey, Valisa, the suspicious snake waited for the mouse to peek out of the tiny hole” Momtahina.
“George excitedly popped out from his basket when he heard the beautiful music” Steven.
“I stomped outside to see what was going on. Even though a vulture-like predator had my satellite dish I couldn’t help but smile. I was about to embark on a miraculous quest …” Timothy.
“Peeping out of the ancient box, one eye after the other, I rise carefully with caution, to the roof of the slimy lizard’s mouth. Jerking upwards towards the lizard’s dirty, disgusting tongue, I shake my head sideways and bump into the lizard’s throat, giving him a constantly sore throat” Naomi.
“Carelessly, I sprang out of the straw basket swaying to the music, not thinking of what I was doing. Only one thought was on my mind, “sway to the music” for I had not heard the marvellous music that I was swaying to right now for what felt like a hundred years” Natalie