Puzzle Meet - Reflections

A reflection on the first Project Zero Sydney Network ‘PuzzleMeet’, August 2017
•    How do I support students to become healthily skeptical seekers of evidence?
•    Suppose my students could see enough to think and wonder…?
•    How do I empower my students to search for the answer and not look to me as a 'magic key'?

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Those were three of the ‘puzzles of practice’ posed by presenting teachers at Project Zero Sydney’s first PuzzleMeet event, hosted at Chatswood High School in August 2017.
PuzzleMeets are an entirely different kind of collaborative learning opportunity for teachers.  Whereas many TeachMeets are based on the model of teachers sharing their success stories, their great ideas, the things that have been working for them, PuzzleMeets are an opportunity for presenting teachers to share the things they haven’t quite figured out yet, their burning questions, the puzzles of practice that keep them awake at night…

Here are a three more of the puzzles of practice shared by our presenting teachers at PuzzleMeet 2017:

  • How does the 'Cultures of Thinking' language we use help children to become resilient people who respect and learn from others?
  • How might my students become deeper thinkers and problem solvers who effectively communicate their reasoning?
  • How might I create an inclusive and challenging environment that encourages a deep understanding of the past?

Using the ‘Brainstorming Possibilities’ protocol developed by David Allen and Tina Blythe, participants at PuzzleMeet were split into 4 separate Study Groups, each facilitated by a member of the Project Zero Steering Committee, with 3 presenting teachers per Study Group.  Each presenting teacher shared in turn their puzzle of practice, explaining why it mattered to them, and what they had tried so far in terms of answering it.  Then, after a round of clarifying questions and a period of silent thinking time, PuzzleMeet participants from a broad range of K-12 schools, both independent and government, offered helpful suggestions for what the presenting teacher might do next.

Here are another three puzzles of practice that were shared:

  • How might I encourage my students to be agents of their own learning?
  • What might change if my students thought deeply during class and consequently sought meaningful feedback from each other?
  • How can I encourage, foster and support the pursuit of curiosity in my students?

In the spirit of ‘facilitated’ meetings, the tone of each PuzzleMeet Study Group was thoughtful, supportive and collaborative.  After all, we all understood that the only person who actually knew what they needed to do next was the presenting teacher! . . . but we were there to offer things we thought might help, suggestions that presenting teachers could try, ideas that might perhaps be helpful for them to consider.

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By the end of this PuzzleMeet, participants were not only thankful to have been of service to presenting teachers, but had experienced for themselves what a culture of thinking feels like in action.  After all, a culture of thinking is not just what we ‘do’ in the classroom with our students, but how we are in schools with our colleagues.  A culture of thinking is about reflecting upon and understanding the story of our classrooms in service of deeper, richer learning for all children.  We were pleased that PuzzleMeet 2017 afforded participants with the opportunity to feel this for themselves, as well as being exposed to many helpful Project Zero ideas, strategies and approaches.

Here are the final three puzzles of practice from TeachMeet 2017:

  • How might I help my students become people who are open to different ways of understanding the world and the transcendent, using language to explore the inexpressible?
  •  How might I help students become analysers who confidently reflect this form of thinking in their written responses?
  • How can I step away from being the sage on the stage and encourage students to think for themselves?

We look forward to PuzzleMeet 2018.  And in the meantime, now PuzzleMeet’s over, keep those tweets coming!  We’d love to connect with you at our termly #PZSyd chat…

With warm wishes,

The Project Zero Sydney Team
 

Cultures of Thinking Teach Meet

Wednesday 29th March
Redlands, Cremorne
4:00 pm Arrive for a 4:15 pm start

Connecting, Extending Challenging our Puzzles of Practice

Discover ideas for enhancing a culture of thinking with strategies from the classroom. Share how you are leveraging the cultural forces  in your classroom to enhance student learning. Engage in conversations with colleagues as we wrestle with the puzzles of practice. 

Teach meets are an excellent opportunity for collaborative learning. The Cultures of Thinking Teach Meet (#TMCot) is in its third year and has become a highlight of the term for those who attend. TMCoT is joining with PZ Sydney Network to spread this termly event to those interested in the research of Harvard's Project Zero. 

Where: Redlands Junior School - Allister St Cremorne
When: Wednesday 29th March
Time:4:00pm Arrival for 4:15pm start
Who: All teachers with an interest in creating cultures of thinking (P-12+)

Register Online

Register to Present (2, 5 or 7 Minute Presentations or Posters)
http://bit.ly/TMCoT_T12017