Last week I was fortunate enough to attend the AAC Fall Conference (thanks Leah!). I left with a full head, to say the least. Even the title of the conference “Assessment to Inspire Learning” gave me so much to think about. I couldn’t possibly go through it all here on the blog (although I’d love to talk later with anyone who is interested), but I would like to highlight the keynote speaker, Ron Ritchart.
Mr. Ritchart spoke on the importance of making thinking visible and offered several examples of “thinking routines” to use across grades and across the curriculum. Using thinking routines regularly in classrooms will promote engagement, deeper understanding, and development of thinking skills, and hopefully eliminate the stress-inducing, time-wasting question, “What does the teacher want me to do?”.
To see several of these “thinking routines”, check out Mr. Ritchart’s website visiblethinkingpz.org. They are thoroughly described and ready-to-go for classroom teachers. My favourite has to be the “CSI” routine. It stands for Colour, Symbol, Image and has students explore and share their own understandings by designating (and justifying) a colour, symbol and image that “best represents or captures the essence” of an idea. Not only does a routine such as this make thinking extremely visible for the teacher, it makes it visible to the students and promotes a great deal of reflection and critical thinking.
If we truly are using assessment to INSPIRE learning, routines such as these are invaluable. I can’t wait to share them with staff.