The practice of making thinking visible is not new to me; it is a primary focus of the Martin Institute for Teaching Excellence and is a frequently visited topic of discussion amongst the Resident Teachers. But the question asked by Project Zero is one with many answers. I am so grateful to have participated in so many engaging sessions, collaborative conversations, and activities that challenged me to think, am I really making my students' thinking visible? Am I actively promoting a culture of thinking in my teaching? What more can I do for my students? These opportunities to share with other teachers and hear of their experiences with thinking routines and attempts to make thinking visible in their classrooms made me excited to get back to my students and be better for them. I have seen firsthand, over the course of my year as a Resident Teacher, just how transformative making my students' thinking visible can be for my teaching, but more importantly, my students' learning. However, my time at Project Zero gave me a renewed passion for shifting the focus from my teaching to the students' learning. I left Project Zero excited to bring even more thinking routines into my teaching and so proud to be a teacher. While I had more takeaways from PZ than this blog post can handle, three moments from the conference continue to cross my mind frequently.
The third, and perhaps the greatest takeaway occurred during a latter session with Ron Ritchhart. As a closing remark he said, "The greatest validation we can give our students is simply listening to them." Moving forward, I want to be sure that I am truly listening to my students, hearing their thoughts, and encouraging them to share their thinking. After all, it always has been and always will be all about the students.