Tuesday, April 27, 2010

May is Big Think MONTH!

On Monday night, April 26th, after school for 4 hours, 17 ITL teachers participated in a Big Think workshop at SES. The Big Think is a metacognitive experience that is created for the end of a unit of study -- after the traditional assessment has been completed. David Loertscher, Carol Koechlin and Sandi Zwaan authored the book, and David Loertscher was virtually present via Skype during the last hour of the meeting to answer questions and provide elaboration on the purpose and meaning of the Big Think and the 9 strategies created to promote deeper understanding and opportunities to apply learning to a "real" situation. Groups worked to unpack the Big Think Strategies, and in pairs, created a short video describing each of the 9 strategies. A visual was created for each presentation. These videos were added to the Tools/BigThink/April26th section of the Blackboard class Contemporary Literacies (Every teacher in Westport can access this class). Using the Jigsaw model described int he book Ban Those Bird Units (also by David Loertscher, Carol Koechlin and Sandi Zwaan), the participants regrouped to include experts on most of the strategies in each group. They then created Big Think scenarios to go with several descriptions of actual units taught at various grade levels in the district.During the workshop we used a Web 2.o tool recommended by David Loertscher called Wallwisher to collaboratively share ideas and ask questions about the Big Think. David responded to the questions during our Skype session and also added more responses after our workshop was over. (Click on image below to see larger version of our Wallwisher page.)

Big Thinks will hopefully be created and implemented in all schools by ITL teachers with classroom teachers during the month of MAY, and some will be shared at the third and final ITL Steering Committee meeting at Staples High School on June 1st!

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