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.
"When we make the thinking that happens in our classroom visible, it becomes more concrete and real. It becomes something we can talk about and explore, push around, challenge, and learn from”
― Ron Ritchhardt, Making Thinking Visible
Creativity is the perfect means by which we can explore, challenge and learn about a given topic. This set of visible thinking routines focus on creativity and assist students in dissecting creative perspectives and making creative decisions. Detailed descriptions of each routine can be found here. These ideas are not my own, but a valuable resource which I believe should be shared and widely embraced. Please feel free to print them and display them in your classroom.
(All images have been sourced from Unsplash.)
This lesson has Visible Thinking Routines at its centre. Colour, Symbol, Image and Creative Hunt are utilised to promote student-centred learning and deep thinking. This is part of my ‘Elements of Production’ unit in the preliminary course. It is a highly engaging lesson (for both the students and the teacher!) and a beautiful alternative to a teacher-directed lesson on this topic.
Blank Paper – A4, A3 or butcher’s paper
Coloured Pencils / Markers
It is assumed students have read and workshopped a text in which to base their promotional work. I am currently using Caryl Churchill’s play Love and Information as the underlying text for our study of the ‘Elements of Production’. However, any text could be easily utilised in the same manner.
1. Interesting, Intriguing and Important – Students are given five minutes to write down five to ten things they find interesting, intriguing and important within or about the play set for study. Each student shares one of their thoughts with the class without comment or judgement. Students can add any new thoughts to their list as they listen to the comments made by others.
2. Colour – Students are asked to choose a colour that they believe reflects or encapsulates the essence of the text. They are to write this colour down below the interesting, intriguing and important points outlining why they chose that colour. They must justify their decision. Students then share this thought with the person next to them, or with the whole class, in order to give students the opportunity to see the diverse opinions of their classmates.
3. Symbol - Students are asked to choose a symbol that they believe encapsulates the essence of the text. They may draw their symbol or provide a written description of their symbol. Students must also explain in writing why they chose this particular symbol. Again they share this thought with the person next to them or the entire class.
4. Image – Students are now asked to draw an image that encapsulates the essence of this text. They are encouraged to use their colour and symbol as inspiration for this image. Tell them that an image does not include text. Remind them that they need to be able to justify their choices.
5. Gallery Viewing – Sit in a circle if possible with the students work in the centre of the circle. Give students time to really look at the images. Which images capture their imagination? Why? Which images do they want to find out more about? What makes them say that? Discuss.
6. Justification – Each student explains their images outlining the choices they made. This can be done in writing or verbally. Students can ask clarifying questions either via post-it notes during the gallery viewing or verbally.
7. Intro to Promotional Materials – Layout various theatrical promotion materials such as flyers, posters and programs. Students explore the various items by viewing and reading the text and images in silence. After they have had significant viewing time, students are asked about the images on the promotional material. Which images capture their imagination? Why? Which images do they want to find out more about? What makes them say that? Discuss. Link to their images they created for the earlier activity.
8. The purpose of the flyer, program and poster – Break students into separate groups of three to four. Give each group a different item (Eg. One group has a poster, another a flyer and so on), markers and a sheet of A3 or butcher’s paper. Nominate a scribe for each group and get each to draw two circles as demonstrated below. In the inner circle students are to write – What is the main purpose here? In the outer circle students are to write – What are the parts and their purposes? As small group students begin to examine the source they have been given and answer these questions. Following the Creative Hunt routine students mark the parts of their particular source that they found especially clever or creative with a star. Final they answer the question – Who is the target audience?
9. Peer Teach – On completing the Creative Hunt students present orally their findings to the class. Once everyone has completed their presentation ask students to make comparisons between the various items – What was similar between the items? What was different?
10. Logbook Reflection – Students recall, recount, and reflect on the lesson through their logbooks. What did they learn about the importance of promotional material in theatre? Ask them to Think, Pair, Share their responses with the remainder of the class.
This is an introductory lesson to promotion and program in theatre. Students are later given the opportunity to apply their learning and understanding to their own poster and flyer design for the given play as part of their formal assessment.
Amy Gill -