Event Details

Thinking routines have become extremely popular over the last decade and are often recognized as a hallmark of Project Zero practices.  With this popularity and wide-spread use has come the opportunity to look more closely at just what effect thinking routines have on teaching, on learning, and on schooling.  These issues could not have been properly examined when thinking routines were first being introduced almost 15 years ago. Now, however, extensive research and ongoing collaboration with schools have generated new learnings that create the opportunity to take the practices of making thinking visible to the next level.

Drawing from the research presented in the new book by Ron Ritchhart and Mark Church, The Power of Making Thinking Visible, this course will explore both the goals and practices associated with making thinking visible, examining six specific ways that thinking routines have “power” for learners and for teachers.  Participants will delve into two of these powers: promoting deep learning and enhancing formative assessment.  Since the best way to learn a routine is to experience it as a learner, throughout the course, participants will use new thinking routines for to deepen their own learning. Each step of the way, the instructors will “pull back the curtain” on the thought process that teachers go through to use the routines to maximum effect. Participants will have the opportunity to develop and receive feedback on plans for implementing these practices in their own context, whatever that context may be: online, in person, or a hybrid of the two. 

The course will explore the following key questions: What are the core practices associated with making thinking visible, and how do they relate to and interact with one another?  What are the benefits or powers—for students and teachers--in making thinking visible? How do the most effective teachers use thinking routines to maximum effect?

Required Text: The course text is The Power of Making Thinking Visible. Please make sure to have access to the text by the start of Week 1. The text is available in both hard copy and ebook formats. If you don’t already have the book, we suggest trying whatever local bookseller you regularly use, checking availability at a local library, or purchasing online at the publisher’s site (Wiley), on Amazon, or through other online book sellers. If you are based in the United States and would like to support independent booksellers while shopping online, consider purchasing your book via Bookshop.org.

What past participants are saying:

“This course was a rich learning experience. It has challenged a 30+-year teacher to rethink teaching and learning.”

March 2021 Participant

“The course’s focus on student-driven learning is incredibly important if we want to produce 21st century learners. The routines and strategies we learned throughout the course will help initiate this.”

March 2021 Participant

“Good professional development for teachers provides concrete strategies that are easy to set up and allow for small changes. The various strategies presented in the course have a wide application and don't require time-consuming preparation. They are very easy to make routine within my own practice.”

March 2021 Participant

“The design of the micro practicum promoted all three types of engagement: with ideas, with others, and with action. As the weekly assignments were built around MTV routines, effective connections were readily made between theory and practice. The routines themselves are accessible and adaptable for all learners, grades, subjects and contexts.”

March 2021 Participant

Course Designers & Instructor

Co-Designer: Ron Ritchhart has been a researcher at Project Zero, Harvard Graduate School of Education since 1994. His research focuses on understanding how to develop, nurture, and sustain thoughtful learning environments for both students and teachers. His interest in “cultures of thinking” has led him to conduct research in such areas as intellectual character, mindfulness, thinking dispositions, teaching for understanding, creativity in teaching, and the development of communities of practice.

Ron's research is classroom and school-based, believing that teaching is a complex art and science that must be understood in context. A strong theme of learning from best practice runs throughout much of Ron’s work. On many of the projects on which Ron has worked, he has produced videos of best practices related to teaching for understanding, creative and innovative teaching, and the use of thinking routines.

Prior to joining the Project Zero research group, Ron taught for fourteen years. He began his teaching career in New Zealand teaching 35 six- and seven-year-olds in a state school in Christchurch as part of a teaching internship program. From there he taught art in Indiana before moving to Denver, Colorado where he taught third and fourth grade. Frustrated with the way he was teaching mathematics, Ron pursued a mathematics education degree and later taught middle school mathematics. In 1993 he received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Secondary Mathematics Teaching.

Ron earned his Ed.D. degree (2000) in human development and psychology from Harvard University. Ron's research on how teachers create thoughtful learning environments that support the development of students' intellectual character was the basis for his book: Intellectual Character: What it is, Why it matters, How to get it. His framework for understanding group culture detailed has been influential in shaping education in schools and museums throughout the world. His new book, Making Thinking Visible, explores how teachers around the world have been using the ideas of Ron and his colleagues at Project Zero to improve students’ learning.

Prior to attending Harvard, he earned a Master of Arts degree (1990) in curriculum and instruction from the University of Colorado at Denver, and a Bachelor of Science degree in education from Indiana University.

Co-Design & Instructor: Mark Church works with schools throughout the world wishing to create cultures of thinking in their classrooms. He believes in the difference teachers can make for students when they strive to make thinking visible, valued, and actively promoted as part of the day-to-day experience of their learners. Mark encourages teachers to become students of their students, and more broadly, students of themselves and the choices they make to leverage the power of making thinking visible.

Mark is currently a consultant with Harvard Project Zero's Making Thinking Visible and Cultures of Thinking initiatives, drawing upon his own classroom teaching experience and from the perspectives he has gained working with educators throughout the world. Together with Ron Ritchhart, Mark is co-author of the book Making Thinking Visible: How to Promote Engagement, Understanding, and Independence for All Learners (Jossey-Bass, 2011) and The Power of Making Thinking Visible: Practices to Engage and Empower All Learners (Jossey-Bass, 2020).


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