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Creating Cultures of Thinking: Language

Resources for "Creating Cultures of Thinking: The Eight Forces We Must Master To Truly Transform Our Schools" by Ron Ritchhart of Project Zero at HGSE. [Guide by Stephen Taylor for Western Academy Beijing]

LANGUAGE: Appreciating Its Subtle Yet Profound Power

The system of communication used by a community to negotiate shared meaning and build group coherence and understanding around ideas, behaviors, and actions. As a culture shaper, language helps us to direct attention and action. However, the words and structures that make up language not only convey an explicit surface meaning, but also impart a set of deeper associations and connections that implicitly shape thought and influence behavior. This is the hidden power of language: Its ability to subtly convey messages that shape our thinking, sense of self, and group affinity.   [Source: Project Zero]

Chapter Summary

10+1 Things to Say To Your Students Every Day

So simple, but so good. 10+1 things to say to your students every day. 

Click the image to open the original from 

Sketchnote by Lisa Hoang: 

A Typology of Classroom Questions

Recalling and reviewing of Knowledge and information

• Terminology

• Procedures

• Content

• Events and context


Procedural: Directing the work of the class

• Going over directions and assignments

• Clarifying

• Checking for attention, agreement.

• Task completion

• Organizational and management related


Generative: Exploring the topic

• Authentic questions or wonders that teacher doesn’t know the answer to.

• Essential questions that initiate exploration of a topic


Constructive: Building New Understanding

• Extending & Interpreting

• Connecting & Linking

• Orienting and focusing on big ideas, central concepts, or purpose

• Evaluating


Facilitative: Promotes the learner’s own thinking & understanding

• Requesting elaboration, reasons, evidence, justification

• Generating discussion among the class to hear different perspectives

• Clarifying and Uncovering

The Ladder of Feedback

Ladder of Feedback


In this version of Daniel Wilson's Ladder of Feedback, Sonya terBorg has added a "thank-you" rung, to show appreciation for the work. See her blog post on how she uses it (and other feedback tools) here