Getting your students to “Think like Tom” has a big impact on Common Core instruction
On Tuesday we discussed moving toward Common Core implementation and proficiency in working with Design Question 4 (Helping Students Generate and Test Hypotheses) in the Marzano Teacher Evaluation Model. As we said, the ultimate goal is to create lifelong learners who can think critically, which is also the central focus of Marzano Domain 1.
Thinking like Tom* is one way to begin to make this transition to higher order knowledge utilization: decision making, problem solving, investigating – all Common Core goals. Evidences for Thinking like Tom classroom include:
1. The student is comfortable with the Marzano New Taxonomy. The teacher has gone through the taxonomy and taught what the levels mean, sound like, and look like. Even young students are familiar with an age-appropriate taxonomy.
2. The student can write higher-order questions and can identify questions that are at the lower levels of the taxonomy as opposed to those at Level 3-4.
3. The student becomes an observer, and can differentiate between facts, understands real outcomes, and uses strategies in Element 18 (“examining errors in reasoning”) correctly when doing investigations
4. Students use the power of observations to construct reasonable explanations of experimental findings, and use these observations to make new hypotheses.
5. Students can defend their conclusions when the teache uses investigative interrogation or probing questions.
6. Students are introduced to role models that use critical thinking skills in their professions. Role models like Thomas Edison, Walt Disney, Marie Curie among others should be introduced. There are a number of websites that are good resources. A TLT (Thinking Like Tom) Design Question 4 classroom is an inquisitive classroom and involves active learning and probably web-based technology integration.
The Benefits for Students Involved in Design Question 4 are:
1. Students are fully involved in an active learning process. Students who are making observations, collecting data, analyzing data, synthesizing information, and drawing conclusions are developing useful problem-solving skills they can use in school for the remainder of their education.
2. Students develop the lifelong skills needed for critical thinking. They also develop the ability to think creatively and expand possible solutions to problems.
3. Students are comfortable using logic and reasoning for drawing sound conclusions in life, in the workplace, or even in relationships.
4. Students learn that mistakes are learning opportunities. Studies on success show that people who believe that their skills can grow not only succeed more, but they also enjoy their work more and actually cope better with challenges.
Developing a Think like Tom classroom is creating a classroom culture in which students know that it is important to keep trying, to have confidence in their ability to succeed. When Edison was asked how he kept from getting discouraged when he had tried over 2,000 ways before one worked, he responded that he had not made 2,000 mistakes. He had had more than 2,000 learning experiences that moved him closer to the answer!
*From Telegraph to Light Bulb with Thomas Edison (2007) by Deborah Hedstrom