Photo’s from The thinking Project:
A note from Rachel Pickett:
These photos were taken during a teacher training workshop in October, 2015. The Thinking Project has been partnering with STEM Launch K-8, an urban public school in Thornton, Colorado, with the goals of helping kids to identify and question thoughts that cause stress, think and see from multiple perspectives, build self-confidence and empathy with others, and create a kinder classroom setting rooted in the study of thinking. In October we trained the sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-grade teachers at STEM Launch both in The Work and in ways to integrate The Work into classroom management and curricular content.
We often use metaphors when we design curriculum. One metaphor we use in camps and classrooms is the Brick Wall of Stress → Tree of Questioned Thoughts → Sky of Possibilities. During the teacher training, we learned this metaphor/process by experiencing it. Teachers first wrote down a situation that stressed them out on a “brick” (a red sticky note), and then shared their “brick” with the group and placed it on the Wall of Stress. After we did The Work on a stressful thought, we wrote the thought we questioned on a leaf sticky note, shared it aloud, and then placed it on the Tree of Questioned Thoughts. The leaves on the tree represent new growth. As we question our stressful thoughts, it allows new growth in our minds, in our ways of thinking. Finally, on a sticky-note star, we wrote a new perspective or possibility we discovered from doing The Work. We shared these out and then placed them on the Sky of Possibilities, to symbolize the infinite possibilities and perspectives we begin discovering as we question our stressful thinking and see our turnarounds.
We also explored ways The Thinking Project can test out the integration of The Work and the study of thought into content curriculum. We brainstormed ideas for making The Work accessible to sixth graders (example: “start with ‘what are you feeling?,’ use emojis”), how to make copies of Common Stressful Thoughts About School and teen One-Belief-at-a-Time Worksheets available digitally, ways The Work connects to learner traits STEM Launch is already using (example: without a stressful thought we often experience ourselves as compassionate, collaborative, courageous… These are also Habits of a Learner characteristics that STEM utilizes), and ways The Work can integrate with upcoming Problem-Based-Learning units.