Finding Balance to Find Your Purpose: Part Two
June 29, 2021
Inclusive openings and optimistic closings are high-impact collaborative strategies I use to build a stronger community of learners amongst colleagues in any business or educational team setting, or with students. It is a personalized learning approach to engage individuals from the very beginning to the conclusion of an activity. Icebreakers and “getting to know you” activities are some of my go-to strategies for team building and/or difficult conversations. These techniques engage individuals and help us all to become more aware and respectful of everyone's thinking routines.
When my team needs to focus on difficult or time sensitive conversations, I purposely plan an inclusive opening and optimistic closing activity that can springboard visual thinking routines. Some of these activities include those developed by Project Zero's Thinking Routine Toolbox.
A thinking routine is a set of questions or a brief sequence of steps used to scaffold and support an individual’s thinking. Here are just a few of my favorite Project Zero thinking routines that Dr. Catlin Tucker, K12 edtech leader from California has taken to the next level by redesigning them into interactive Google Slide deck templates. It makes learning and creative conversations much more engaging with colleagues, staff, and students! Here are a few recreated examples to use with your colleagues and students, my own collection of SEL Jamboard activities to add to your digital toolbox of resources, as well as a CASEL signature SEL playbook of activities.
- Claim, Evidence, Question: This routine helps students flesh out an idea or proposition and eventually evaluate it. Here is a supportive PDF overview of how to implement this thinking routine.
- I Use To Think - Now I Think: This routine helps students to reflect on their thinking about a topic or issue and explore how and why that thinking has changed. Here is a supportive PDF overview of how to implement this thinking routine.
- Layers: This routine provides learners with a structure for looking analytically at creative works through a variety of different frameworks. Here is a supportive PDF overview of how to implement this thinking routine.
- Parts, People, Interactions: A routine for identifying how people connect to systems. Here is a supportive PDF overview of how to implement this thinking routine.
- See, Think, Me, We: A routine for connecting to the bigger picture. Here is a supportive PDF overview of how to implement this thinking routine.
If you're new to thinking routines and Harvard’s Project Zero research, please explore more of these invaluable collaborative conversation starters to support your inclusive openings and optimistic closings. It also provides strategies for implementing these thinking routines into your next staff meeting or professional development inservice. So get ready to transform everyday conversations into creative collaborations with your colleagues!
Be sure to read Finding Balance to Find Your Purpose: Part One.
Learn more now with materials from these toolkit and resource collections: