Overview of Module 5 (July 6-12)

Key Ideas of Mod 5

  1. Review Module 4 learning and provide feedback to each other
  2. Build on Final Project ideas
  3. Continue to build on your understanding of thinking routines and thinking dispositions
  4. Be sensitive and aware of opportunities to apply thinking abilities by learning how to see differently
  5. Work as a learning community


Mod 5 Resources

We continue to explore the topic of scaffolds, simple routines that help facilitate the development of thinking dispositions, which in turn sensitizes us to opportunities to apply our thinking abilities. In this module, we turn to the Artful Thinking Palette also developed by the Project Zero group at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. The artist’s palette of colors is used metaphorically to symbolize 6 thinking dispositions, which are framed differently from the 7 thinking dispositions outlined by Tishman, Jay and Perkins (1993) that were mentioned earlier:


Tishman, Jay and Perkins’ Model

  1. The disposition to be broad and adventurous
  2. The disposition toward sustained intellectual curiosity
  3. The disposition to clarify and seek understanding.
  4. The disposition to be planful and strategic
  5. The disposition to be intellectually careful
  6. The disposition to seek and evaluate reasons
  7. The disposition to be metacognitive

Artful Thinking Palette

  1. Comparing and connecting
  2. Exploring viewpoints
  3. Finding complexity
  4. Observing and describing
  5. Questioning and investigating
  6. Reasoning


Skim through Tishman’s article, Works of Art are Good Things to Think About, to get a sense of how art can promote deep thinking and reflection because many artworks are inherently provocative. Art can thus be engaging, beautiful and fun resources for student inquiry.

For example, I took a picture of some trees at Belle Isle a few months ago, in winter 2014. I found the interweaving of branches of the trees fascinating. I went home and eventually used PicMonkey to play around with the colors (picture on right).

Progression of art work on trees

Something within me wanted to explore the image further. “How would the picture look if they were not just regular-looking trees?” I was also drawn to the streetlight at the corner. Playing around with textures and layers in PicMonkey, I came up with this image:

abstract expressionism

Using this image, I can provoke students to create a narrative:

  • What is going on here? What do you see in this picture? What makes you say that?
  • What about the image makes you wonder?

This questioning technique is not mine (sadly) but is inspired by the work of Abigail Housen and Philip Yenawine who developed Visual Thinking Strategies, now used in many museums to help visitors and students learn with art.

Susan Barahal’s (2008) article, Thinking about Thinking, provides further insight into how artful thinking is helping some preservice teachers to “master and internalize new thinking processes until they become second nature.”

The weekly make will thus follow our Module’s theme. You will create a gallery of artwork using the Google Cultural Institute extension on the Chrome browser.The purpose is to offer you an opportunity to try alternative ways to articulate your thinking — the use of images.

Have you ever paused to consider how dominantly we tend to rely on text to communicate our thoughts? We place a high premium on writing at the expense of other modes of expression. Check your own blogs to see how much you write instead of draw, speak, move, dance, sing…? Remember in Module 2, I referred to Nick Sousanis’ Unflattening book? What are we missing when we rely on only ONE mode of expression?

The Artful Thinking Practice exercise will focus on training our minds to consider another individual’s point of view, which doesn’t come naturally to us. However, we can be taught and train ourselves to consider alternative viewpoints which clarifies and expands our thinking.

Finally, just a reminder that we need to get together in a real-time chat this week on Tuesday Friday. See you then!



Mod 5 Activities

  • Course engagement is an ongoing activity.
  • In particular, check out other learners’ Module 4 reflection posts and makes aggregated on the Blog Hub.
  • Add comments to at least 3 different participants’ posts. Refer to How to Write Blog Comments as a guide.
  • You will create 1 make in this module. You will use available art works to express your thinking. 
  • Create a Google Art Project gallery to explore a theme of your interest (or a theme related to your Final Inquiry Project). To do so, follow these instructions:
    • Use your Chrome browser to search for a Google Chrome Extension — https://chrome.google.com/webstore/category/extensions Google Cultural Institute
      Google Cultural Institute (GCI)
    • Add the extension to your Chrome browser.
    • Once it has been added, you will see the following interface:
      GCI User Interface
    • Click on the Art Project.
    • Explore some galleries. For example, Math in Art shows how math and art are not two separate disciplines, but that they are intricately linked in some way. Happiness and Leisure compares different states of the mind. So does Happiness and Sadness.
    • Your Make is to create a gallery that explores a theme of your interest or a theme related to your Final Inquiry Project.
    • One way to search is to enter a keyword to search for artworks (click on Artworks on the top menu). For examples, using “happiness,” I found 205 items.
      Google Art Project Explore function
    • If you like the art item, hover your mouse over the picture, a + icon will show up. Click on it to save the item to your “cart.”
    • Continue searching till you find about 10 art items. I’ve found that a more fruitful way to search is to click on User Galleries and search through what others have found. The following item is from the Gallery called Happiness and Leisure. Click on the + icon on the top of the page to save it to your cart.
      Click on + sign to add item
    • When you are ready with some items, create a new gallery — on the top right hand corner “My Galleries.” Give it a title and description. Drag your saved items to your gallery.
    • I created a new gallery called “Play” and dragged the picture from my “cart” to the grey dotted line panel — e.g. The Girl Writing a Letter by the Sea at Sunset. To me, this picture expresses one of my views about what play is.
      How to add items to a gallery
    • Make sure to set your gallery to PUBLIC.
      Public Setting for Google Art Gallery
    • Share your gallery out on Twitter when you are ready.
      Sharing Google Art Gallery settings
    • Then, create a blog post to document your efforts. Record your Gallery web link and a short explanation about your selections. Why did you pick those images? You don’t have to explain in detail why you picked all 10 of them.
    • Add VCUTHINK hashtag to your GalleryMake. Publish the post! Have fun learning!
  • Continue to build on your topic for your Final Inquiry Project based on my comments and questions on the Google document.
  • Schedule an appointment with me to talk about your Project if you need assistance to figure it out.
  • Write a blog post to report briefly about your progress, fears and hopes.
  • Add VCUTHINK as a category and tag it InquiryRpt3.

It’s time to get connected at the same time and to be in a live chat session together so that we don’t feel like we are doing our own thing, isolated from each other. Let’s chat about what we’ve learned so far, go over some major topics we have been learning and talk about your Final Projects.

I will send an invitation to everyone to meet via Google Hangout.

Using the Step Inside routine, practice seeing things from a different perspective.

  • Choose a person, object or element in an image or work of art, and step inside that point of view. Consider:
  • What can the person/thing perceive and feel?
  • What might the person/thing know about or believe?
  • What might the person/thing care about?

Take on the character of the thing you’ve chosen and improvise a monologue.

Speaking in the first person, talk about who/what you are and what you are experiencing in a blog post. Include the image of the work of art in the post.

Add the category VCUTHINK and the tag STEPINSIDE.

This exercise promotes empathic understanding.

  • Set up a time to have one of your course-mates interview you about what you’ve been learning. Use Google Hangout or some other appropriate method.
  • Ask:
    • As you reflect on these last 4 to 5 weeks’ of course work, which one(s) of the Artful Thinking and/or Tishman, Jay & Perkins’ Model of thinking dispositions were you most aware of developing in your own learning?
    • What thinking routines were you most aware of using to monitor your development of thinking dispositions? Or which ones would you like to use more often to improve your thinking?
    • Which thinking disposition will you focus on as you begin your next project in this course and in your daily life?
    • As you think about your future, how might what you’ve been learning be used as a guide in your life?

Presentation Format:

  • Write it up as an interview. Remember to include a short introduction stating who the interviewer is and how it was conducted.
  • Assign the category VCUTHINK to this reflection. Assign the tag REFLECT5 to this post. Publish the post.

Continue to search for content on the web using keywords related to Module 5. Add at least 2 bookmarks to our Diigo group BY Sunday Jul 12. These resources are available to help you think through and learn more about the topics you are studying. You can refer to and read these resources at your own pace.

Updated: July 7, 2015, 8:29 PM

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