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RDG 6940 Framework for Planning, Enacting, and Reflecting On Practicum Projects

Name: Adam Miserlian


School & District: Brewster Elementary, Rochester Community Schools
Grade(s) & Subject Area(s): 1st Grade, ELA
Part I: Project Plan
A. Rationale
For my third project in designing instruction, I met with my Principal, Teresa DiMaria and
Learning Consultant, Merritt Golick who have been working diligently on investigating innovative
instructional practices, which provide choice and increase relevance for students thinking in the
classroom. Teresa and Merritt have attended several professional workshops in Creating
Cultures of Thinking principles working directly with author, Ron Richhart. Richart and his
colleagues at the Harvard Graduate School of Educations Project Zero have spent several
years conducting research in childrens thinking to provide an invaluable economy of resources
for teachers, schools, and districts interested in transforming the culture of their schools to
support the development of students as powerful thinkers and learners through the Visible
Thinking approach. The central idea of Visible Thinking is very simple: making thinking visible.
We learn best what we can see and hear ("visible thinking" means generally available to the
senses, perceptually accessible so to speak, not just what you can see with your eyes). We
watch, we listen, we imitate, we adapt what we find to our own styles and interests, and we build
from there.Visible Thinking is grounded in sound practice and the product of a number of years
of research concerning children's thinking and learning, along with a sustained research and
development process in classrooms. Another important result of this research concerns the
practical functionality of the Visible Thinking approach the thinking routines, the thinking
ideals, and other elements. All these were developed in classroom contexts and have been
revised and revised again to ensure workability, accessibility, rich thinking results from the
activities, and teacher and student engagement (Ritchhart 2010). With these thinking routines at
the core, Teresa and Merritt suggested that I assist them in making Thinking Visible a schoolwide practice and developing a culture of thinking at our school. I would lead in presenting
thinking routines and activities that incorporate Making Thinking Visible for professional
development at our next staff meeting in October. As a Visible Thinking facilitator, I would
discuss and model some of the classroom practices with learning these new routines and
integrating them into the curriculum. In addition, I would also serve as a liaison for grades k-3 to
provide continued support, modeling, and follow up as needed, while they implement the
evidence-based best practices discussed during the PD.
B. Goals & Outcomes
My first goal is to provide coaching and support our staff with the 8 Cultural Forces that Define
Our Classrooms in order to look more critically into our own classrooms and direct our focus as
a school toward respecting and valuing student thinking. My second goal is to work extensively
with our primary grades to build cohesion as we embrace Cultures of Thinking and Visible
Thinking Routines in the classroom that have proven to be so successful throughout the district.
Intended outcomes:
The teacher will use 8 Cultural Forces handout to foster learning in classrooms.
The teacher will learn, practice, and become independent with Making Thinking Visible
Strategies by working in whole group, small collaborative groups, and individually
during the PD.
The teacher will implement Visible Thinking routines into their classrooms, getting
students to create, collaborate, and share thinking.

RDG 6940 Framework for Planning, Enacting, and Reflecting On Practicum Projects

The teacher will model phrases like, what made you say that? to provide evidence in
their classrooms.
The teacher will participate in rich discussions with first grade See, Think, Wonder
strategy.

C. Roles & Responsibilities


For this project, I am working in collaboration with my principal and learning consultant to
develop and lead in our next staff meeting promoting professional development in The 8 Cultural
Forces That Define Our Classroom and Making Thinking Visible. I am responsible for
implementing the Give one; Get one connector and giving an overview of how to promote
engagement, understanding, and independence in Ron Ritchharts Making Thinking Visible
power point to our Brewster staff. I will ensure that all materials are in order prior to the staff
meeting, and that the Smartboard is operational, power point is properly installed with a backup
on a thumb drive, the 8 Cultural Forces That Define Our Classrooms work sheets and a sign-up
sheet are provided.
D. Timeline
I met with Teresa and Merritt in October to discuss my project and verify their availability to meet
and establish a timeline for implementing the Cultures of Thinking Routines. Merritt and I would
meet during her planning time and after school on Thursdays and report back to our Principal,
Teresa on Tuesday, one week prior to the staff meeting for an overview. The staff meeting would
be held on November 18, 2014 from 3:30-4:20pm.
Part II: Project Implementation & Artifacts
A. Implementation
Prior to our PD on November 18, our staff was introduced to Cultures of Thinking on
September 22, 2014 in a district wide Professional development. The keynote
speaker provided tremendous insight into the strategies already being used in
schools throughout the district.
With this in mind, I met with Merritt to discuss in more detail. These forces include
the 8 Cultural Forces That Define Our Classrooms: Time, Opportunities, Routines
and Structures, Language, Modeling, Interactions and Relationships, Physical
Environment and Expectations. My goal is to promote an opportunity for our staff to
see just how effective these cultural forces are in our classroom and they can
develop their students thinking to facilitate powerful interactions and learning
outcomes.
In our next meeting, we examined the key points in the power point, Making Thinking
Visible: How to Promote Engagement, Understanding, and Independence for All
Learners by Ron Ritchhart. It was critical that we shared the mission of Harvard
Graduate School of Educations Project Zero: learning to think and thinking to learn,
fostering engagement, uncovering understanding, and promoting independence
within a classroom culture of thinking. In doing so, we would ensure our staff had a
clear understanding of thinking routines and how to ask the right questions.

RDG 6940 Framework for Planning, Enacting, and Reflecting On Practicum Projects

The following Thursday, Merritt and I discussed how effective it would be to have my
first grade class participate in the See, Think, Wonder routine for introducing and
exploring ideas and to then share it with the staff to demonstrate how students draw
on their greater insights to broaden their curiosity and guide future inquiry.
I completed the See-Think Wonder routine with my class, based on a visual image
found in our social studies unit depicting Christopher Columbus journey across the
Atlantic. I shared the results with Merritt and discussed our plans to present my
students work at our PD.
The following week was our PD. The day prior, I printed enough copies of the 8
Cultural Forces and the staff sign-up sheet and checked with our Media Specialist to
ensure the Smartboard was operational and that my power point was saved on a
data stick. We also met with Teresa to give her an overview of the PD and share my
findings from the I See, Think, Wonder routine.
The PD was very successful and after seeing a thinking routine from my first grade
class, the staff shared a deep interest in the uses and variations of the routines
offered in Making Thinking Visible from kindergarten to fifth grade. We ended our
session with plans to meet separately with grades K-2 and 3-5. I would focus my
attention on the K-2 staff and Merritt would follow up with 3-5 to model two Making
Thinking Visible Routines: I See, Think, Wonder and I Used to Thinkand Now I
Think...

B. Artifacts
The artifacts included in this project include:
Staff Meeting Agenda (See project folder for this pdf file artifact regarding this project).
See Think Wonder Routines (See project folder for this pdf file artifact regarding this project).
The 8 Cultural Forces That Define Our Classrooms outline (See project folder for this

pdf file artifact regarding this project).

Picture of staff discussing students work using the: Think, See, Wonder Routine.
Power Point: Making Thinking Visible

RDG 6940 Framework for Planning, Enacting, and Reflecting On Practicum Projects

8 Cultures of Thinking Introduction at PD/Staff Meeting

RDG 6940 Framework for Planning, Enacting, and Reflecting On Practicum Projects

RDG 6940 Framework for Planning, Enacting, and Reflecting On Practicum Projects
Part III: Professional Reflection on Project
A. Reflection on Project Impact
From the reception I received from the staff and the level of engagement during
the PD, I feel our building is developing insight and understanding of the Cultures
of Thinking project and caring to see that it is a journey promoting dialogue and
valuing student thinking. They understand that thinking routines have to be used
often to really become part of the classroom culture and that is going to take time
to establish these norms and that we have to continue to work collaboratively as
a staff to accomplish this mission.
B. Reflection on Professional Growth as Reading Specialist
I have really embraced and valued my work with Merritt (Learning Consultant) in
this project. Working as a team to build a culture of thinking for our staff has
provided me with invaluable experience as a literacy coach. It is extremely
rewarding to see the impact you can have on individuals when you feel confident
and utilize your strengths. I think one of the most challenging aspects of this
project is time management. Merritt and I had a conversation about how she
would like to embrace the coaching aspect as acting Learning Consultant by
visiting more classrooms but having District meetings, IEPs and meetings with
TEAM take a great deal of her time away. As it is, she is sometimes pulled away
from some students that she meets with daily in small groups so this project
provided a nice opportunity for both of us work with staff to promote professional
development.

RDG 6940 Framework for Planning, Enacting, and Reflecting On Practicum Projects
References
Ritchhart, R., & Church, M. (2011). Making Thinking Visible: How to Promote
Engagement, Understanding, and Independence for All Learners. San Francisco,
CA: Jossey-Bass.