Thinking @ ISLux

Small Moves

December 7th, 2016  |  Published in Culture of Thinking  |  3 Comments

Photo Credit: thPRudQCBLFfxbT2VCST Flickr via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: thPRudQCBLFfxbT2VCST Flickr via Compfight cc

What are Small Moves? How do you make them? What has been happening at ISL? Are you making Small Moves? 

For some reason my thoughts turn to Elton John and his song Tiny Dancer. So here is a little accompaniment as you read the rest of this blog post.

As mentioned in the previous blog post …. we can hear and see evidence that thinking is well on it’s a way to being valued, visible and actively promoted in the Lower School at ISL.  How is this happening in such a short space of time?

Well I think much of it can be linked to the Power of the Pull. Or put simply

How Small Moves, Smartly Made, Can Set Big Things in Motion

CC R. Ritchart 2012

CC R. Ritchart 2012

During our last Faculty Meeting ( on 30th November) we celebrated ISL’s journey towards a Culture of Thinking.

The ATL’s asked the faculty to think and record:

The responses were amazing. Truly amazing. There was so many Small Moves happening in the classrooms and learning spaces of ISL.  All of these Small Moves have set Big Things in Motion in creating a Culture of Thinking at our school. There is power in numbers, you see.

  • Time – “Taking the time to teach a lesson – not in one single class period, but stretching the lesson over the course of a week, to dig into understanding” and “Slowing down and allowing students more time to dig deeper and try new things”
  • Modelling – “Modelling language for students – sentence stems” and “Modelling the process of thinking as readers. Using these for discussions, considering perspectives, allowing students to think for themselves – to agree/disagree”
  • Language – The language that teachers are using is changing “Watching pronouns, making sure they are inclusive” and ”  The power of “What makes you say that?” I find it a wonderful way to push thinking forward and find out what a child is thinking.”
  • Environment – “We changed our environment. We opened our dark den creating a sense of wonder” and “We decided to open up the space in the classroom and offer more flexible spaces for those students who need more room or cannot sit still”
  • Interactions – “Number Talk with no hands up. Secret thumbs up.” and “Stepping back from giving answers…giving students time to think”
  • Routines – “Used thinking routine to get feedback from parents at our open morning” and “Using See Think Wonder Hear with early years I’ve committed more time to deep meaningful thinking and learning without worrying about benchmarks. I feel like students have benefited in tong term.” and “I use headlines repeatedly to wrap my head around what the best way to use it is with third graders”
  • Expectations – “Asked supervisor to focus on the cultural forces rather than a traditional observation.” and “Using CSI, Chalk Talk, Think/Pair/Share, more deliberate planning for high level thinking for lower level language proficiency EALs”
  • Opportunities – “I am offering students opportunities for first thinking, then subsequent thinking, reflection or increased understand of concepts” and “having students use mathematics notebooks as a journal to write down their own thinking and then share with others”

You see there is power in numbers. Small Moves, Smartly Made, ARE setting big things in motion at ISL Lower School. 

Here is the full document of the Small Moves that are making such a big impact at ISL’s Lower School  International School of Luxembourg’s Lower School bid to create a Culture of Thinking.

We would love to hear from you about, what is making the biggest difference for you in your learning space? Join in the conversation.

What Small Moves are you making? Why is it making a difference? Join in the conversation. 


  1. Jane Nordli Jessep says:

    December 17th, 2016at 6:07 pm(#)

    I am impressed with how you are weaving the threads of Visible Thinking, Cultures of Thinking, and Making Learning Visible into a rich tapestry of thought-full, thought rich, thought provoking new frames and methods to inspire and nurture student thinking and actions.

  2. Joel Bevans says:

    December 19th, 2016at 9:31 am(#)

    Hi Jane,
    Thanks so much for your comments. We are using it as platform to share what is happening at ISL and sharing our practice with other educators globally.
    I think the Course from Harvard has been so helpful for the ATL’s to work together collaboratively and to help begin our schools journey to creating a Culture of Thinking, Making Learning Visible and Visible Thinking. Thanks for all your support and guidance on the course. It is much appreciated.
    Cheers, Joel

  3. Back to the Future… our next steps – Thinking @ ISLux says:

    December 20th, 2016at 11:40 am(#)

    […] this page is a list of things that we can do now, in a years time and in 5 years time. I think the small moves (mentioned in a previous post) are many of the things that have been catergorised in the now. People are already trying things out […]

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