I’ve been thinking a lot about thinking lately.  About how much information we give our students.  I started out teaching by giving them all the information. I told them things, lectured, asked them to do particular questions, what to write down, even when to begin and end. Over the years, that has changed.  Now? I give them support. I encourage them. I give them a chance to struggle.  It’s definitely a change.  My role is no longer to deliver information, instead I’ve become the guide on the side.  A change that definitely didn’t happen over night. But a change I would never, ever regret.  Now? Learning is in their hands.

When I think of all the skills they are developing as a result of this switch, I realize what it means.  They are master’s at using Google to find information.  They are great at brainstorming thick questions, the meaty kind that dig deep.  They are constantly reflecting and discussing with each other on a variety of topics.  They are choosing tech tools based on what they want to create, not because “the teacher said to.”

I look around my room on days like today and realize how powerful small changes and small phrases are.  Instead of “Let’s discuss this as a class,” there’s “Turn to your neighbor and share your thoughts.” Instead of “Listen to me tell you what I think,” there’s “What do you think?” Instead of “Use this website,” there’s “How many sources do you think you need?”

I want to try to make sure every moment is maximizing their thinking. Because then, I believe that’s where the real learning is.

Small changes, big learning.