Giving Back Their Thinking

A few weeks ago I explored the question “are we stealing their thinking?” . As I wander around the halls, pop in and out of classrooms and listen to teachers share during collaborative meetings, I am excited to see all the ways teachers are putting the ‘thinking‘ in their students hands.

Here are a few examples:

Grade 4 – This Grade 4 teacher was reflecting on all the times we – as teachers – choose deadlines for our students. We often pick the due dates. We debate how much time students will or won’t need. We chunk the tasks to scaffold the process. Usually behind closed doors with no students involved. This teacher decided that time management was an important skill to develop in our young learners at an early age and opened up this discussion as a class. Then her students had to design their own timeline for their summative task!

time management

KG 1 – This KG 1 class was exploring the big idea of expressing ideas and feelings through art, and her students wanted to share their feelings about Kelso the frog (our conflict resolution helper). She was transparent and inclusive in the planning process, leaving the ‘heavy cognitive lifting’ to her students.

“How are we going to find out what a frog looks like?”

“How can we learn how to make a frog using art?”

“What supplies will we need?

art planning

Both of these teachers could have easily done the thinking for their students. The Grade 4 teacher could have come up with a timeline for the students and given it to them. The KG 1 teacher could have chosen an art project and selected the materials ahead of time. But instead they put these cognitive tasks in the hands of their students.

What other thinking are we doing in our prep time that students could (and should) be doing for themselves?

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