Think Puzzle Explore - Sparking Learner Curiosity #1

How fascinating to read Michelle Lucas' article on sparking student curiosity. She shares this true observation:
There are countless articles about the need to develop ‘lifelong learners’ and increase our focus on ‘soft skills’ and drive ‘student agency’ by ‘empowering students’. However, I struggled to find many concrete examples of what this looks like inside the classroom. 
After researching the effect size and research evidence behind various techniques (Hattie, 2009), I have realised the importance of explicitly teaching, modelling, reflecting, and reporting on the attributes of great learning. James Pietsch (2018) suggests that these attributes can be habit-forming and become learning dispositions, character traits and virtues in students. Source: Sparking Student Curiosity
This topic comes up often...how to develop lifelong learners, facilitate student development of soft skills, and empower students. Michelle writes of several ways. I found the activities she uses to be worth noting below.  I encourage you to read her short article to gain some additional context.

Below, you'll find my connections to the activities she mentions. Feel free to leave a comment to share your insights.

Activity #1 - Think/Puzzle/Explore

To link concepts together, use the Think/Puzzle/Explore approach. A quick search online yielded the elements of the approach:
    • What do you think you know about this topic?
    • What questions or puzzles do you have?
    • How can you explore this topic? (Source: Visible Thinking)

The more I read online, I thought, "Wow! This could serve as a tangible way to capture data needed to successfully employ Classroom Discussion which enjoys an effect size of 0.82 in Hattie's list. With that strategy, a student has the potential of two years academic growth in half the time.
Reminder: An effect size of 0.40 is what Hattie refers to as a hinge-point regarding what is significantly effective or at “a level where the effects of innovation enhance achievement in such a way that we can notice real-world differences” (Hattie, 2009).
Classroom discussions make it possible for students to connect with one another in various ways, such as to activate prior knowledge, explore new topics, learn from others, and demonstrate learning. What's neat about classroom discussion is that it engages students. It gives all students the chance to participate.

  • Before having students respond to questions using an online platform, have students discuss briefly with a partner.
  • Listen and seek insights into how students are interpreting questions (giving the teacher an opportunity to clarify or redirect).
  • As a result of discussion prior to sharing responses, students will generate more thoughtful responses with deeper analysis and more complex ideas.
  • View and select individual students’ responses to either use as models or deepen further discussion for the whole class.
  • Make strategic decisions about what you see, such as which students to call on or how to nudge students’ thinking in advance.

They go on to say, "The main benefit of classroom discussion is that YOU, as the teacher, can use class discussion as a source of data to adapt instruction." One of the question I had was HOW to use that discussion as a source of data. Presumably, students are having conversations and you are keeping track of what they are saying.


How to Track or Document Students' Classroom Discussions

You need to find a way to keep track of what students are saying. One approach could be to use an online learning management system, such as Google Classroom or Microsoft Team "stream" or conversation area. An LMS series of Forum Posts would work, too. Another possibility might be to use a graphic organizer such as the one below.

Check out Think Pathwayz great examples
Wow, don't you love Michelle's idea about using Think Puzzle Explore in her chemistry class? (if you read her article). Her approach involves providing "hexagons with the key terms" and having students arrange them and explain their thinking for each adjoining hexagon. This serves as a way to prepare them for preparing written responses.

Using a tool like Buncee, students could do this in a digital format. But almost any tool would work, from Seesaw to Google Slides or OneNote.

Other Activities

I'm curious about the other activities Michelle uses, so I'll be exploring those in future blog entries. Stay tuned!


Everything posted on Miguel Guhlin's blogs/wikis are his personal opinion and do not necessarily represent the views of his employer(s) or its clients. Read Full Disclosure

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