Cultures of Thinking Resources

Below you will find downloadable pdf files for some key Culture of Thinking resources.  The research and theoretical basis for the Cultures of Thinking work can be found in my book, Intellectual Character.

  1. BulletThe 6 Principles of the Cultures of Thinking Project.  These principles underpin the work of the Cultures of Thinking initiative.  They represent the core ideas about thinking and learning, drawn from research, that we are trying to enact in schools.

  2. BulletThe 8 Forces That Shape Group Culture.  These cultural forces, derived from research in classrooms where a culture of thinking was evident, form the basis for much of my work.  Each cultural force provides a leverage point for teachers to use in creating classrooms where thinking is more than an add-on activity or part of a single lesson.  We can say a culture of thinking exists when the cultural forces are directed toward and aligned with the support of good/effective thinking: 8 Cultural Forces

  3. BulletDefinition of Thinking Routines.  In the COT and Visible Thinking work, we make extensive use of thinking routines.  These strategies are often where teachers start.

  4. BulletThe Looking at Students’ Thinking (LAST) Protocol.  This protocol is used to help focus teachers attention on student thinking.  It is a useful tool for teachers as they begin to work with thinking routines.

  5. BulletThe Ladder of Feedback.  This is an adapted form of Daniel Wilson’s protocol for giving feedback.  I have adapted it for use in debriefing classroom observations.

  6. BulletAssessing Powerful Learning Opportunities.  4 criteria identifying qualities of assignments that help learner’s to build understanding.  These criteria can be used in assessing the kinds of opportunities we provide for our students in Culture of Thinking classrooms

  7. BulletA Typology of Classroom Questions. 5 categories of teacher questions we have identified in our research into classroom discourse.  While most classrooms are dominated by “review” and “procedural” questions, COT classrooms make more use of “Generative, Constructive, and Facilitative” questions.  Our current research is showing that this trend is consistent across grade levels and subject areas.

  8. BulletThe Planning Frame.  A visual and metaphorical framework to guide planning for understanding using ideas of the Teaching for Understanding Framework.  The Re-Focusing instruction example of how a typical unit can be “re-focused” to be more about understanding.  This is an example of how Teaching for Understanding is different than traditional teaching of skills objectives.  “Re-focusing” questions can be used to help you move a unit more toward understanding.

  9. BulletStudent Survey of classroom perceptions.  This is a brief survey of student perceptions of a single classroom.  The constructs being surveyed are:  Teacher Goals (Work vs. Learning), Academic Press for Thinking, Learning as Collaboration, Building a Community of Learners, and Academic Efficacy.  Each of these and the questions which are comprise each concept can be found on the Student Survey Breakdown.  In our research we have found that students view COT classrooms as more about Learning, Collaboration, Community, and Thinking than classrooms where teachers are actively embracing the idea of making thinking valued, visible, and actively promoted.   If you are wishing to use these surveys, students’ mean response for each cluster can be computed to give you a general feel of students perceptions.  True comparative analysis for research purposes requires a more thorough statistical analysis.

  10. BulletThe Leaderless Discussion Routine is a discourse/thinking routine.  In Intellectual Character I wrote about Heather Woodcock’s use of this routine in her 7th grade class.  I had never getting around to writing it up formally as a routine that other teachers could use to promote discourse and foster understanding in their classroom until now.  A key part of the routine is developing questions that will help to foster the groups understanding of the text.  To help students do this, I generated a list of question starts.  These are probably most appropriate for secondary students though they might work with upper elementary as well.  If you make adaptions for younger children, I’d love to hear how it plays out.

  11. BulletThinking Routines: Creating the Spaces and Structures for Thinking.  CHAPTER 5 from Intellectual Character.

  12. BulletThe Creating Cultures of Thinking project at Melbourne Grammar School consists of two Professional Action Groups that meet regularly.  PAG 1 is focused on looking at the discourse, language, and questioning in the classroom.  PAG 2 is addressing the question of who our students are becoming as thinkers and learners.  To facilitate our discussions, we have used  a number of protocols, some original and some adapted to fit our needs.  These include:  Opportunities Protocol Number 1.pdf , Opportunities Protocol Number 2.pdf , microlabs.pdf , and MGS Observation Protocol.doc

  1. BulletMany teachers have asked for a list of thinking routines.  We have put together a one page Thinking Routines Matrix as a part of the new book, Making Thinking Visible (see the Current Work section of this website for more downloads from the draft of the book).  Ths matrix includes a list of the 21 routines we have included in the book as well as a brief description for when, where, and how the routine is used can be downloaded .

  2. BulletIn Intellectual Character, I wrote about “language” as a cultural force of the classroom.  Initially my focus was on the language of thinking teachers used as well as their use of conditional versus absolute language.  Since then, I have done more investigation of how language shapes classroom/group culture.  A list of  these language moves can be found in the Language of the Classroom_V2.doc handout.

  3. Bullet10 Suggestions for Getting Started w Thinking Routines.   This list of tips was created on the Making Thinking Visible facebook site for teachers who are just getting started with Thinking Routines.

  4. BulletUnderstanding Map  The 8 thinking moves that support understanding.  Understanding Map in Spanish, Chinese, Portuguese, Italian, Arabic, French, Indonesian, and French 2.

  5. BulletVT Routines Intro Packet_2016.pdf  This packet contains handouts for a half-day, introductory workshop on thinking routines.

  6. BulletLanguage and Discourse Packet This packet contains handouts for a half-day introductory workshop on Language and Discourse in the Cultures of Thinking Classroom.

  7. BulletI blew it certificate blank.  Remember to take risks in your teaching!

  8. Bullet10 Things to Say to Your Students Everyday...and Why they are important.  This list of advice comes from a “Back-To-School” talk I gave in 2016 entitled “Creating Culture:  Right from the Start.”  The talk focused on our language and interactions with students and how we can set the tone through some simple and regular use of language.

  9. BulletCoT 2 Day Seminar Packet of handouts.pdf  This is a packet of handouts for the two day workshop that I give.

  10. BulletCoT Snapshot Observations This protocol is designed to facilitate reflective dialog around teaching towards the creation of a culture of thinking.  Although the basis of the conversation is a short, ten-minute classroom observation, the focus is not on giving feedback to the observed teacher.  Rather, participants use the observation as a springboard for discussion and reflection about their own teaching.  A benefit of the CoT Snapshot Observation is that it can all take place in a 45 minute time slot with no pre or post sessions required.

  11. BulletSelf Assessing the Culture of Thinking in Your Classroom. This self-assessment tool takes you  through the 8 cultural forces to reflect on how you are using each force to focus on a build a culture of thinking in your classroom.  Teachers often use this to set goals for themselves or to determine and set a school-wide focus on a particular cultural force.  This is NOT an evaluation tool and should not be used as such.

  12. Bullet4 Types of Teacher Dialog in Professional Learning Contexts. As we seek to create cultures of thinking for our colleagues and ourselves, paying attention to the type of professional dialog we engage in and try to promote can be important.