Visible Thinking - See-Think-Wonder



Context: We are working on a one-kid show for our unit on Self Expression.  The kids have to choose an emotion and investigate it in front of the class for 30 seconds through the use of their voice, body, and face.  To get them thinking deeply about the scene they will portray, we did a See-Think-Wonder in groups.

Silence: I had the kids look silently for about a minute and not say anything.  I did not specify what they were looking for, which I think is an important aspect of this that the authors didn't really reflect on in detail in the book.  During this time, the kids are cognitively going through all the steps that will follow.  They are thin-slicing the picture, organizing their thoughts, and getting a feel for the whole image.  I believe this happening on a sub-conscious level, hence the importance of not orienting attention to anything in particular.

I noticed that some of my kids were locked on to the image and I could see their eyes scanning and darting across the screen.  Others looked for a couple of seconds and then looked down at the carpet.  Perhaps they were process with the image in their mind, or perhaps they were uninterested and had switched to something else?  I don't know.  But I do know this, silent observation is something we are going to practice more.

SEE:  This is where the learners are observing and describing what they see, not interpreting.  These are the things that are really in the picture.  A man in a suit, a silver bucket near his feet, a tree with no leaves, red light, empty chairs.  Try and explain the things in as much detail as you can.

The kids did well with this stage after some prompting to dig deeper.  Instead of writing simply chair, how about you describe the chair in more detail.  Again, we will need to work on this skill more.

THINK:  Finally, we get to start putting together the images and making some interpretations.  What is happening in the image?  Here is where we are making our interpretations, but it is important to note that these need to have some grounding in the observations we made.   The man is waiting for someone.  He is a preacher.  He is lost and looking for directions.  He is practicing a speech. Each one of these can fractal out into new directions and create new stories or possibilities.

Some of the kids nailed this stage and did a great job, while others went into an imaginative rant that was thinly connected to the picture.  They said that he was a vampire hunter and he was chasing a master vampire.  Others said he was a business man who was lost.   Others didn't make a whole picture, but simply made a series of interpretations.  We need to work on the layers of interpretation.

WONDER:  this is where we let our curiosity go and ask questions.  Wondering is similar to thinking, but more expansive.  It speaks to a broader interpretation of what the themes, issues and ideas are.  My kids, for the most part, just took their thinking and turned it into questions.  This will be a big focus of our de-brief next time we do this routine.

Share and Compare: We walked around and compared what our maps looked like and paid attention to the similarities and differences.  We wondered why they thought the way they did, and how they looked at the same thing so differently.  I asked the kids to try and figure out why their interpretations differed, or to postulate a theory about it.  One boy commented that his group was focused mainly on the bucket, and the mystery of the picture came from that, but another group basically ignored the bucket in their interpretations and focused on the tree.

 Final Reflection: This was a really great activity, and it must be done over and over again.  Like the authors say, creating the culture of thinking is so important, and this needs to be become part of the collective brain.  Also, I need to choose REALLY rich and deep images.  This one was alright, but it could have been better.  There just wasn't enough stimuli in it.  Also, I discovered that the most important part of this activity is the sharing discussion afterwards.  In this discussion, I need to make the thinking moves (describing, interpreting, wondering) explicit and have discussions about how we engage with that type of thinking.  I modeled my thoughts to the kids and they found that very helpful, but the discussion slowly drifted back towards the image, and not the thinking behind it.  Put the thinking on the stage and See Think Wonder the thinking.....

[caption id="attachment_1261" align="aligncenter" width="300"] See Think Wonder[/caption]

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