- Brief introduction/overview of Qs/time to reflect before beginning
- “What came up for you when you read this book?”
- Round of response
- “What cultural force do you feel is strong for you in your classroom and which one do you feel is weaker?”
- Round of response
- “When you read the book, what personal goals did you set for transforming your classroom this year into a culture of thinking?
- Round of response
- Open conversation
I was so impressed with the depth of response and the thinking exposed during this protocol. The teachers in our team really dove deep into the book and did a lot of self-reflection this summer! I shared a couple of quotes from Adam Scher's story from the book that pushed my thinking:
- "Can teachers teach thinking if they are not thinkers themselves?" (p. 284)
- "How can we possibly expect our students to engage in reflection if we are not constantly modeling what good reflection looks like? (p. 283)
Next, we completed the Self Assessment (Appendix H) - "The Development of a Culture of Thinking in My Classroom." We tallied up our results and posted on charts (one for each cultural force). We sorted the responses in each area. We looked at outlier responses and had conversations about what we noticed. We were not surprised to see "interactions" as the strongest, as this has been a focus of ours over the past couple of years. Nor were we surprised to see "time" as the weakest. Individual results are posted in parentheses out of a total possible point value of 25. The results were as follows:
- Time: total=60, avg=12 (8, 8, 13, 13, 18) WEAKEST AREA
- Opportunities: total=64, avg=12.8 (11, 12, 12, 13, 16)
- Language: total=67, avg=13.4 (11, 11, 12, 16, 17)
- Routines: total = 71, avg=14.2 (10, 12, 13, 17, 19)
- Environment: total=78, avg=15.6 (13, 13, 15, 17, 20)
- Modeling: total=81, avg=16.2 (14, 15, 15, 18, 19)
- Expectations: total=17.8, avg=17.8 (12, 13, 13, 15, 18, 18)
- Interactions: total=96, avg=19.2 (17, 18, 20, 20, 21) STRONGEST AREA
We then begin to make plans for sharing the book with staff this year. The following is a recap of our plan for the year:
- Big ideas: Continued Transformation into a Culture of Thinking and Sharing our Story
- We are planning to embark on a year-long study of the new book and the 8 cultural forces using small inquiry action vertical teams led by the leadership team members as facilitators.
- Our inquiry question: What else might I do to grow and develop my thinking about students' learning and deepen the culture of thinking in my classroom and at my school? (adapted from Mark Church's story)
- The structure of the learning is going to be reading-discussion-action-reflection (based on Ron's suggestion from the book...p 11).
- Teachers will have autonomy over the actions they want to pursue and reflect on within the context of the cultural force we are studying. (either chosen from the back of each cultural force chapter or created on their own).
- We are going to follow a timeline of cultural forces in order to have a whole group shared experience as well as follows:
- Interactions (our strongest area)
- Time (our weakest area)
- Reflection will come in the format of Here's what (I did...), So what (happened)....Now what (am I going to do next)....teachers will bring an artifact to share. In addition, I am going to personally make my thinking visible on this site. See prior post.
- We will use Dennis Spark's article, Strong Teams, Strong Schools to help us facilitate our team meetings. Purpose, Accountability. Structure. Trust.
- The leadership team will model reflection on our CoT Weebly. Everyone will commit to one written reflection for the year. Teachers can follow the "teacher talk" format we've used before: routine tried, context of the lesson, reflection, etc. or create their own. Reflections do NOT need to be a routine. It's about transformation and cultural forces. The rest of the staff will also be encouraged to share.
- Twitter - everyone will make an effort to tell our story through Twitter using the hashtag #dolsenthinkers. and encourage their colleagues to do the same.
We wrapped up the meeting very energized and excited about our year! I shared a couple more quotes for the teachers to think about:
- "Leaders steer the conversation, to a culture of thinking and make room for teachers to dwell in this space." (Lauren Childs, p. 303)
- "Patience and persistence are crucial for any change initiative to achieve staying power." (Jim Reese, p. 293).
I thanked everyone for their leadership, patience, and persistence in transforming our school into a culture of thinking. I also thanked the team for helping to create a space for thinking and helping our colleagues dwell in this space.
It is going to be a great year.
PS The meeting was also super-fun because we got to find out that a new visible thinker would be joining us! Congrats to our principal, Megan! What a great surprise!