Every man loves having new tools! One of the best things that I took away from a PD opportunity in our city – the “I Love Teaching” conference, was the Hot Tools resource by Phillips and Watts.
Their website has a range of teaching resources you can purchase but the one that caught my eye was one that combined some graphic organisers with some literacy keys in a bucket at the bottom – and we’ve been using them A LOT!
Here’s an example of the thinking box that I’ve posted about on our class blog. This tool helps us define a subject and we used it to gather our thoughts about what science is after some tuning in activities. The example below was a student who was able to come up with a really thoughtful definition and has certainly helped me see where the next steps are in her thinking.
The key for me with these tools are the literacy keys at the bottom – they help scaffold the students into much deeper thinking than they would otherwise do. For this tool there are key works like, ‘adjectives’, ‘adverbs’, ‘metaphors and similes’ etc They help prompt the learner into thinking deeply about the subject.
I’m always looking for ways to encourage them to go ‘deeper’ and not skim along the surface. It’s far to easy, I think, for really talented thinkers to do the bare minimum – is that a symptom of our ‘comfort’ society?