The Power of Visible Thinking

As my grade 5 students navigate the PYP rite of passage of Exhibition, they continually reaffirm to me the power of belief in the self, goal setting, self reflection, and visible thinking routines. My students’ steps have proven to be leaps toward a deeper understanding of the inquiry process. ┬áTheir carefully crafted thoughts will continue to remind everyone where we were and where we’re going. One student firmly stated as she furiously jotted down her speculations, “Well, Miss Nicole, you know the best thing you can teach us is how to think for ourselves.”

What a joy to see students using their visuals to discuss their surprises, anxieties, brainstorms, stresses, happy moments, successes, “I wouldn’t do that again”, and next steps of XN with their parents during our half-way check in meetings. It’s all part of the journey!

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Mixed Expressions



4 thoughts on “The Power of Visible Thinking”

  1. Dear Nicole,
    Thanks for sharing your blog with the G5s and Visible Thinking routines. I always enjoy reading about how other teachers are experiencing using them and sharing this experience. It is amazing how these routines can help clarify and structure students thoughts. I have also noticed that once the routines become part of the classroom routines and ways of working students really start to benefit from them. It’s also nice to see the documentation of their thinking as I also have many similar pics of mindmaps and reflections. I find that looking at them later or sharing them with a colleague can help me get better insights of the students thinking and learning progress. Another interesting thing I noticed while I transformed to using more VT routines in my classes was that I started becoming more cautious on the language I used to explain, question and discuss with students. It’s all made made the learning more meaningful! Thanks, Niels

    1. Hi Neils,
      I love the visible thinking routines–yes! I am taking a Maker-Centered course through Project Zero Harvard Graduate School of Education. Hope to get some practical ideas to put into place straight away! Have a great year.

      1. Hi, that’s interesting, I am doing the Creating Cultures of Thinking course, just started…let me know how that course is… Went to a Makers spaces workshop last year and really liked the idea, but at my current school Admin is not to interested in it… unfortunately. There is a lot to be said for maker centered learning, but many think it is just project based hands on fun, at least that is the things I hear which I cannot be bothered to argue against as these people clearly haven’t done their homework! So enjoy it and write a Spectacular blog on it:)

        1. Hi Neils,
          Yes, the maker centered ideals definitely work well in conjunction with the PYP. As the course goes along, I am realizing though that it all needs to be connected. I mean, the design cycle and what the students make must be something with a purpose, I think. Will get back to you later. Thanks for responding.

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