M5f. Using the Top Ten Pit Tools (Preview)

Module 5 has thus far focused on the Four Cs of Thinking. This is because of the old adage, ‘It’s not what you do, it’s the way that you do it.’ Those ‘four Cs’ – critical, creative, caring and collaborative thinking – will ensure the strategies we’re about to look at are used in the ‘right way’. Indeed, it could be said that not only are they preferred partners but essential enablers for the pit tools to work properly.

So, with the Four Cs covered, it’s time to turn to Chapter 6 of the LC Book. You’ll notice it is entitled ‘Construct Meaning’ because each of these tools – used in conjunction with one or more of the Four Cs – will help your students organise and make sense of all the conflicting ideas that caused them to go into the Learning Pit in the first place. In other words, these tools will help your students construct meaning and thereby climb out of the pit.

Read & Reflect

Focus:  LC Book, Chapter 6

Chapter 6 begins with an introduction to ‘constructing meaning’ and the ways in which this can be done, particularly through dialogue. After that, it looks in depth at ten different tools, each of which can be used in isolation, in context and/or within the curriculum to help your students climb out of the pit.

Do not feel the need to use all ten tools, nor indeed to follow them in the order in which I have written about them in the LC Book. Pick and choose the one(s) you think will support your students the most at any given time in which they find themselves in the Learning Pit. Ultimately, of course, you will want to get to the point where students are making the selection themselves based on their understanding of, and experience with, each tool. At the beginning though, you will need to pick one at a time and teach your students how to use it effectively.

The tools to choose from, and the sections of the LC Book in which you will find them, are as follows:

Learning Outcome Highlight

Compare, contrast and sequence information more effectively

Learning Outcome Highlight

Identify the key features and characteristics of important concepts

Learning Outcome Highlight

Understand some of the ways the Learning Pit can be used to support student learning

Learning Outcome Highlight

Understand some of the ways the Learning Pit can be used to support student learning

6.3.1 • Concept Targets

6.3.2 • Interchange

6.3.3 • Ranking

6.3.4 • Opinion Lines

6.3.5 • Opinion Corners

6.3.6 • Concept Lines

6.3.7 • Concept Circles

6.3.8 • Concept Tables

6.3.9 • Venn Diagrams

6.3.10 • Inference Squares

Post Your Thoughts

As you use each one of these pit tools with your students, I recommend that you jot down some notes on what worked well (WWW) and what would be even better if (EBI).  You may use the WWW EBI PDF found in the materials section above. This will help you to reflect on your students’ progress as well as to keep track of which tools you’ve introduced and which you haven’t yet. Also, if you share your experiences in the Learning Pit Forum using the link below.  it will also give food for thought for other participants in this academy as well as invite responses and support from others.  Title your entry WWW EBI.

Learning Pit Forum