Sunday, 24 June 2012

Visible Thinking

To teach the concept of visible thinking to my kindergarteners I showed them a picture of a group of three objects. 

Ask your students to tell you what they see.  You'll quickly get a clear response.  "I see three teddybears."  The lesson comes when you ask your students to tell you how they KNOW there are three teddybears.

I did this lesson with balls, and got so many answers:

"I just know."
"Because I'm smart."
"Because there ARE three."
"It was in my brain."
"I'm ready for grade one."
"My eyes told me."

I was searching for the response that suggested my students could EXPLAIN their thinking.  Ultimately one little girl told me:

"I counted them"

It was then that I gasped dramatically and my little ones got so excited.  It took, literally ten minutes to get to this answer.  I explained that I needed them to pretend that I didn't know ANYTHING at all ... that I had never HEARD of "three" before and they had to explain it to me. 

Ultimately, we figured out that visible thinking is taking our thoughts out of our head so that other people can see them.  NO,  we aren't pulling our thoughts out through any holes (as one suggested)... but we ARE sharing them with others through writing, drawing, dramatizing or creating. 

Here is the chart we came up with!

My students thought it was great fun posing to show me they were thinking!  We had this as an anchor chart the last month of school.  It really prompted the students to elaborate on the "WHY" behind what they know and helped them to think more meaningfully.

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