Principal Cheryl Gambaro and School Improvement Co-Chairs Melina Chynoweth and Deanna Knox began the Cultures of Thinking journey by attending the first Leadership Foundations Program facilitated by Ron Ritchhart and Lauren Childs at South Lyon East High School. This program was sponsored by Oakland Schools and included a total of four sessions (9/28/12, 10/29/12, 11/28/12, 12/18/12). Our journey had begun....
Memorable learning experiences included talking with Way Elementary Principal Adam Scher and his CoT Coach about their school's six year transformation into a Culture of Thinking. Way was the first fully-integrated Visible Thinking School in Oakland County. The CoT Coach is employed part-time and meets weekly with grade level teams to develop curriculum units that embed thinking routines.
We participated in the LAST Protocol which showed us how to look carefully at the thinking of students using samples of their work while also providing the presenting teacher with valuable feedback.
The Understanding Map was introduced and we reflected upon the ways these types of thinking appeared in classrooms. Ritchhart suggests starting with the Understanding Map when building units of study.
Through the four sessions, it became apparent that as school leaders the Cultures of Thinking (CoT) initiative was something that we wanted to bring to Reuther Middle School. We began to put together a Cohort Team that included four additional members of our teaching staff to represent the four core subject areas (Nick Ontiveros, Erica Rossell, Bill Staugaard, Jen Steffes) and registered for the Cohort Sessions that were offered by Oakland Schools for second semester.
This is Reuther Middle School's Culture of Thinking journey.