Introduction – Thinking Education
Another series of blog posts will begin to run simultaneously with our review categories, technical writing advice, and story drafting. This series is named ‘Thinking Education’ because it gets to the heart of what education aims to develop: thinking.
Thinking Education aims to explore are some practical thinking activities. As well as the methods for these activities which are designed for students to be able to practise critical and creative thinking. These are not designed to be experiences in which there can be no wrong answer. Rather, these are designed to challenge students to become deep and progressively thoughtful. Allowing students to push their particular spark of genius to new levels.
Part of Thinking Education posts will also be dedicated to looking into other educational activities and theories. For example ideas such as differentiation, revision ideas, and new ICT techniques.
I am a teacher with students in a multi-campus school. I teach through virtual classrooms created with the aid of video conferencing. This forces me to be more creative with the development of material and activities to prompt the students to develop as self-directed learners.
As such, attached below is a particular routine I as a teacher have attempted recently with great success. A variation on a routine called ‘My Favourite No.’ How this activity runs is from the following video:
Variation of ‘My Favourite No’ across Zoom
- The teacher asked students to provide a character (evil villain), an item (a cow prodder), and a setting (Bondi Beach).
- Students wrote down their paragraphs over 15 minutes.
- The teacher then quickly checked these paragraphs via Breakout Rooms and asking students to share screens (this could also work via email).
- The teacher took a screenshot of their favourite paragraph. They then asked the class for ways to better improve the work.
- The teacher also added some of their own changes to the paragraph. They then asked students for ‘why’ they made those changes.
Running of the Activity
In reflection this is how the activity ran:
- The students loved the idea of writing the paragraphs. Indeed the whole idea of the activity worked well. Students said afterwards that they enjoyed the exercise. However it was apparent that students were not as engaged in the editing of the paragraph as they were with the initial writing of the paragraphs. Perhaps this needs to be trialled with some sentences and some answers to specific writing questions. For example, such as ‘re-write this sentence and I will pick my favourite No.’
- On the positive the activity was a success. It engaged the students’ creativity and produced greater engagement with the editing process.