The Visible Thinking Routines have been created by Harvard’s Project Zero and can be found in full here. My hope is that my thinking around each routine sparks an idea for you that can in turn grow and develop into deep thinking for your students. I would love to hear how you are using these routines in your classroom so please feel free to comment below. This weeks routine in practice is the Colour, Symbol, Image.
As I have mentioned previously, my school is working towards creating a Culture of Thinking. I have gained so much from the learning opportunities I have had in relation to this educational approach. I now wish to pay this forward to you. Each week I am aiming to post some thoughts and ideas around a Visible Thinking Routine. The Visible Thinking Routines have been created by Harvard’s Project Zero and can be found in full here. My hope is that my thinking around each routine sparks an idea for you that can in turn grow and develop into deep thinking for your students. I would love to hear how you are using these routines in your classroom so please feel free to comment below. My first routine in practice is the Creative Hunt.
I was recently introduced to the use of protocols in educational settings as a Professional Learning Group Facilitator. A protocol is a formal procedure or system of rules. As teachers we may use mini-protocols or practices in our classroom regularly, but rarely do we write out a formal procedure. I have found that using a formal protocol places attention on the process (let’s call it the thinking!) rather then the outcome. It also allows student to come at a task equally. Each student understands the norms of the activity as there is a clear guideline and therefore they know what to expect. For students with learning needs the protocol can act like a safety net while students who are academically gifted are able to fine tune their thinking processes due to the scaffolded approach.
I have developed the following protocol specifically for use in the drama classroom. When students perform scenes in my classroom we most definitely follow it up with discussion. However, this was a practice in my classroom that I feel was not as effective as it could be. Hence I developed the Scene Analysis Protocol. I have been using it with my senior students for the last few weeks for in-depth discussion and analysis of our HSC texts. It appears simple, but it is scaffolded in such a way that they are pushed to examine each component of a given performance. I have been very selective about which class performances we use this for as there needs to be depth in what they are presenting. For example, during our study of Jane Harrison’s Stolen students workshopped two different scenes for presentation to the class. During the workshopping process I noted which of the two scenes had more depth in the directorial choices and manipulation of the elements that could feed a rich discussion. I left that performance for last and we launched straight into the Scene Analysis Protocol. As the protocol goes for 20 minutes you need to ensure you allow enough time for it to work effectively.
A few things to note:
- Stick to the timeline. Don’t be tempted to rush through it. We need to make time for deep thinking to occur.
- Allow silence. If you are sitting in silence for a minute and a half after a few elements have been initially rattled off, then so be it! Silence is not wasted time. The students will still be analysing and deconstructing what they saw.
- After your initial prompt - “Ok… now we are going to verbally identify any Dramatic Techniques and Conventions that were evident in the performance. For example, Poetic language, humour, flashback.” - don’t say anything! Do not single out a kid for a response. If you feel they are really struggling. You might contribute an answer to model what is expected. “I noticed the use of traditional indigenous language by Sandy’s character.
- I have used butcher’s paper as the initial way to note down the discussion. You could use a whiteboard, liquid chalk on a window or mirror, butcher’s paper or a Google doc. I personally feel it is more easily accessible by hand. I have also taken photos of our notes to place on our shared Google Drive / Classroom in case the students want to refer back to it later.
If you want to know more about protocols in the classroom check out the book The Power of Protocols (2015) by McDonald, Mohr, Dichter, & McDonald. There are some generic protocols in the book as well as suggestions on facilitating and getting started.
I hope this protocol is useful for use in your classroom. I would also love any feedback on the protocol, how you have used it in your classroom and whether or not you found it useful. If you have any further questions about its use I am more then happy to answer them. Just comment below or drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org .
This is a sample of the group notes from a scene that lasted 2 minutes. The thinking (although messy) is rich and was used to write deep logbook reflections on the scene "Shirley Never Gives Up Searching" from Stolen by Jane Harrison.
Christmas is coming up super quickly and I am sure there are many Catholic drama teachers, REC's and liturgy coordinators starting to plan their Christmas celebrations. I know how challenging it can be to try and think of a new way to tell the Christmas story each and every year, (I mean we all know how it turns out right?), and so as my Christmas gift to you I am sharing The Littlest Angel. This short dramatisation has been written to celebrate not only Christmas, but also the Jubilee Year of Mercy. I hope some of you are able to use it and I would love some feedback if you do. Happy christmas preparations!
Amy Gill -