Finding Your Best Route to Thinking Maps

Many journeys begin with a map. This tool guides the direction we take to keep us focused on the course and, often times, the shortest or most desirable route to a destination. We refer to that map and current location, following the signs and landmarks, to insure we are on the right course. Once reaching the location we feel a sense of accomplishment that this tool and our careful following got us exactly where we wanted to be.
So, how does one lose course along the way with great intentions and directions? The possibilities are limitless and perhaps speculative. Was it an unexpected detour? A change in the map reader? A change in the driver? Or, the change in course was driven by someone (something) believing they had a shortcut that would be better than the map? At this point it does not really matter because the journey has been impacted and we are not closer to our desired location – maybe even lost! What a frustrating feeling!
Stories like this are not so uncommon in the education world and those reading this post know full well the analogy being made. Case in point, Peace River Elementary exemplifies this sidetrack from the journey at hand. Route Several years ago, this well-intentioned learning community started their Thinking Maps journey and somehow lost course along the way. There is no one person or initiative to blame but rather circumstances that occurred. Yet, the knowledgeable leadership team quickly realized that they needed to get back on course to their destination of increasing student academic achievement with a common visual language.
Perusing through students samples collected that first year and now, fast-forward to 2015-2016 the student generated work is by far much more rigorous and thoughtful. More impressive is the fact that students are talking about their THINKING and even to the point of feeling confident to share their work with thought leaders from around their district. Peace River realizes that they took a detour in between years, but with their renewed efforts to redirect the course the impact has been incredible. Walking the school campus and seeing evidence of student thinking and communicating has rejuvenated a staff that believes ALL students can learn and now have the evidence to prove that to everyone. They know they are back on course.
We all have had detours along the way in our journeys but the important part is getting back on course to reach our final destination. What is your story? What sidetracked your or your school from reaching desired goals? We would love to hear your story!How did you get back on track like Peace River Elementary?

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Posted in blog, Educator Voices, General, Leadership, Spotlight School, Uncategorized
5 comments on “Finding Your Best Route to Thinking Maps
  1. Anonymous says:

    I am so proud of the success Peace River is having with Thinking Maps.

  2. James Dean says:

    Thank you so much for that. Is, it is amazing to see what happens to student thinking and learning when we are on the right Journey.

  3. Anonymous says:

    WOW! What a nice highlight for our school. I will admit we did veer off the beaten path for a short while, but with your guidance have gotten back on track and doing amazing things. James Dean and Kristi Bosworth, Peace River can’t thank you enough for your support and belief in us. xox

  4. James Dean says:

    Thank you so much for trusting us and the journey! We are so glad to partner with Peace River and look forward to continuing to move forward.

  5. James, This is such a great reminder for many achools that have lost their way with their implementation of Thinking Maps. Getting back on course will not only lead to deeper levels of critical thinking for the educators and students, but will insure a greater benefit from their initial investment of time and money in Thinking Maps. Appreciate you for sharing this!

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