Advertising high-potential ideas and work: X said something amazing!

Context: Grade 4, light study, small group work leading to an unplanned whole class meeting:

T: Could we all get together for a KB talk (meeting)? S1 just said something that I thought was so amazing. So go ahead.

S1: Well S2 and I had a problem, ‘cause we were reading about how white light shines only the true color of the object it bounces off. She had a problem. She said: “Well, how does the light know which color to bounce off?” And I thought well maybe we can’t see color, maybe we can only see color when light shines on it and bounces off.

S3: Did she write a note about that [in Knowledge Forum]?

In this class, the different students/groups were researching various issues of their interests. The teacher walked around the classroom to observe and occasionally co-participate. He captured the interesting thoughts of S1 and S2 that had a high potential, and called upon all the students to gather for a short meeting.  By doing so, the teacher helped to advertise/spread high-potential ideas and works from some of the students, encouraging further inquiry, and build shared awareness and connections among his students. Following his modeling, S3 also asked whether S1 and S2 had written a  note online yet, showing a sense (norm) that students should use the online space to share important insights or questions.

KB Minutes

Welcome to this KB Minutes blog! KB stands for Knowledge Building.

You’ve come here probably because you are interested in turning your own classroom into a powerful community of knowledge builders or helping other educators to make this change. This change requires teachers to turn more classroom control over to students, so the inquiry processes will be primarily driven by student-generated questions and deepening ideas.

This will lead to new classroom dynamics in which core decisions about learning goals, processes, and organizational structures will be co-improvised by the teacher with students. As a new type of classroom discourse, the teacher works with his/her students to engage in authentic idea-advancing conversations to deepen their understandings while finding deeper problems, goals, and connections.  So we call it  “metacognitive meetings” considering the high-level metacognitive operations that the class as a whole needs to collectively handle.

On this stage of collaborative improvisation, the teacher has a critical role to play!

Using this blog of KB Minutes, we will collect and share a set of examples of how teachers empower their young knowledge builders to continually go beyond what they know and connect with their peers to develop powerful thinking. Each post will highlight a classroom episode that showcases a specific role played by the teacher to support productive knowledge-building conversation.  The teachers’ words may seem simple, but they send important messages that empower students’ agency for continually deepening their dialogues and advancing their inquiry to higher levels.