Thinking routines


I got a quick message from Peter McAsh. I was excited; did he write another blog post for me to give me a day off? I wasn’t that lucky; he sent me a link with the message

This looks like a great resource. Off the record blog post worthy.

http://www.pz.harvard.edu/thinking-routines

So, I guess it was up to me to write it.

I was intrigued and clicked through and was wowed with what I saw on the other end. Everything was driven by this menu on the front end.

You have to visit the site and explore yourself to get a sense of the scope of everything that is there. It’s a really rich collection. No summary that I could provide in a blog post would do it justice.


The design got me thinking as I explored and now type this. Access to everything is so quick and direct.

Just this morning, I was reading about how TikTok might take over the socially networked world. As you know, it’s all video. That brought a bit of emotion to me. I’m not one for visiting a site to check out the videos. I’ll quickly switch to Reader Mode in the browser that I’m using. I know that maybe someone put weeks of work and effort making things swoosh in or animate or play a video or display advertising or goodness knows what else. I’m there for the actual content.

The approach reminded me of a popular workshop that I used to do for our district’s teachers. It was about designing a portal for their resources. In its simplest, it was a collection of links to get to the good stuff. There were elements of colour, bold, italic, etc. but the purpose was to get you in and to where you wanted to go immediately. I think that may be what attracted me to blogs and blogging since it’s about content, for the most part. There may be an opportunity for a few graphics or screen captures to enhance the content and also to let the reader know that they’ve reached the right spot when they follow a link.

It wasn’t uncommon for teachers to leave with a portal to links for each of their grades or subject areas and to put it into practice right away. Put that on their personal homepage and they’re in business.

There is a danger in the concept of a portal and collection of links and we’ve all experienced it. A link gets moved, broken, or taken down and you end up with a resource of decreasing usefulness.

In the case of this resource about Thinking Routines, the design has what I value and look for when I’m looking for the best. Yes, there are times when a fancy graphic interface enhances the experience. But, it doesn’t have to be the basis for everything if your job is to get to the resources quickly. I felt that this resource does that admirably. I didn’t check every link but I found nothing broken. Truth be told, it should be easily managed since it’s all hosted at the same domain but stuff happens.

Beyond the design though, this is really a resource worthy of exploration for any classroom teacher.

Thanks, Peter, for sharing this resource.

OTR Links 08/04/2022


Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.