Harvard Thinking Routines @ Altius Education
Within our teaching practice at Altius Education, our educators seek to incorporate Harvard University’s Visible Thinking Routines which makes extensive use of learning routines that promote higher order cognition. These routines are simple structures, for example a set of questions or a short sequence of steps, that can be used across various grade levels and content. What makes them routines, versus merely strategies, is that they get used over and over again in our lessons so that they become part of the fabric of Altius Education’s culture. The routines become the ways in which we encourage our students go about the process of learning.
You may wonder why these thinking routines form the core of our approach at Altius. It is because these routines work to promote the development of a student’s thinking and the culture of our small class sizes ensure that each routine we use:
- Is goal-oriented in that it targets specific types of thinking;
- Gets used over and over again in our small groups;
- Consists of only a few steps;
- Is easy to learn and teach;
- Is easy to support when students are engaged in it;
- Can be used across a variety of contexts; and
- Can be used within our small groups or by your child as an individual.
Routines are really just patterns of action that can be integrated and used in a variety of contexts. Our educators may even use more than one routine in teaching a single lesson. Thus, you shouldn’t think about the routine as taking time away from anything your child is doing in our classes, they should actually enhance what our staff is aiming to achieve for your child in each lesson. Because our English and Mathematics learning modules allow for the integration of thinking routines, our programs are enriching and your children’s higher level thinking skills are enhanced. Because of their nature, the routines do not need to be taught but are simply used as a means of investigating and working with existing subject matter. The routines are as follows:
- What Makes You Say That? (Interpretation with justification routine)
- Think, Puzzle, Explore (A routine that sets the stage for deeper inquiry)
- Think, Pair, Share (A routine for active reasoning and explanation)
- Circle of Viewpoints (A routine for exploring diverse perspectives)
- I used to Think…Now I think… (A routine for reflecting on how and why our thinking has changed)
- See, Think, Wonder (A routine for exploring works of art, stimulus pictures and other interesting things)
- Compass Points (A routine for examining propositions)
For more information about Visible Thinking, please visit: http://www.pz.harvard.edu/projects/visible-thinking.