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Teaching Thinking in Lord of the Flies
Pelion High School Grade 12
Teachers: Priscilla Kelley and Mike Edwards
   

Project:
When discussing new content with students, have you ever wished you could see what they were thinking? Using the latest Thinking Tools from Intel Innovation in Education (www.intel.com/education/tools), Priscilla Kelley has been able to see this in her class study of Lord of the Flies. Thinking Tools are research-based and allow students to visually construct and retain new information. During their class study of Lord of the Flies, the Thinking Tool Seeing Reason allowed students to create “maps” to convey and exchange ideas, actively construct knowledge, and create visual representations of what they had learned in the novel. During their course of study, students modified their maps to show their growth in understanding over time. This helped Priscilla to gauge student understanding and also helped students direct their own learning.

Number of computers and location:
10-12 computers in a computer lab

Length of project:
The unit must be extended approximately a day longer than normal to allow for the extra discussion time and map creation. Overall the study of Lord of the Flies lasts approximately three weeks.

How project supports standards based learning:
Lord of the Flies is part of the normal assigned reading for English IV students at Pelion High School. This novel is used to help meet the SC Language Arts standards for high school.



 


How technology is integrated:
The normal sequence of reading and discussing the novel is unchanged. Periodically the class is brought to the computer lab for approximately 30 minutes. Students work at one computer in small groups of 2-3 students and discuss the complex relationships that have developed in Lord of the Flies up to that day. After determining the most important factors among the relationships and events, students place those in the Seeing Reason map. Priscilla is able to monitor the groups during class and later comment in the tool about the student work. During the next lab visit, students are able to read the comments, respond to the comments if necessary, and make additions or corrections to their map. Group and class discussions are enhanced because students are more easily able to visualize the complex relationships that William Golding portrayed in his novel.

How technology has changed the way you teach:
There are several advantages of using the Intel Thinking Tool – Seeing Reason. The tool enables students to respond at a higher level of thinking efficiently and to “see” how and what they think. Seeing Reason further enables teaching through effective and efficient teacher responses.
1. Using the tool enabled students to work together and to question other’s responses as well as their own. I observed students asking questions about classification, cause-effect, and clarification. They also engaged in a high degree of discussion, questioning and explaining and coming to a group decision.
2. The Thinking Tool enabled students to observe their thinking easily and to make changes readily.
3. The Thinking Tool made it easy for me to respond – and to “bump” teacher response up to the next level by asking a question that would lead student’s thinking to another consideration, based on their mapping.
4. The overall process was valuable not only for the thinking and for observing the thinking but also for the efficiency in getting thoughts down and changing them. Doing this on paper with the additional comments and making changes would have been “messy” to say the least; so much so that students probably would have opted not to make changes as they worked on the first mapping.
5. Students worked very independently. I spent my time observing and was never asked to assist. The students displayed a confidence in their ability to think together. They answered each other’s questions with textual references, explanations, and prior knowledge relevant to this novel.
6. Having a chance to come back to “tweak” or “overhaul” previous thinking helped them realize that thinking over a period of time and leaving an initial discussion without complete closure works better than just “putting something down.”

Contact Information:
Priscilla Kelley (pkelley@lexington1.net)
Mike Edwards (medwards@lexington1.net)



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