VTS is something that is used a lot in my classroom and across my school. It is very helpful in every subject area. Trying to think of a time when we didn't use VTS to introduce a new topic has been difficult. As teachers, we are being challenged to find a resource to match every task we go through, and the first source that our team came up with when planning a math task was a related picture. Allowing students the time to question what it is and how it might relate to our new topic creates more interest and engagement in the lesson itself. We use it in social studies, science and of course reading. The best part is that students get to practice predict. I see- exactly what they see in the picture. Soon the students transfer to I think on their own. When looking at pictures from William Kamkwamba's "The Boy who Harnessed the Wind" students began to tell us (ELL teacher and myself) what they thought might be going on, and with every thought one student had, another student had a matching "I wonder." Not only are they beginning to more critically think about the classwork, but they are creating an environment where class dialogue is the norm, and its okay the question your classmates. We have also found that providing images with tasks allows students to understand vocabulary they might not have before. If they didn't know what something was, but we just saw an image, and someone else was able to name it, there was no "embarrassing" moment of having to tell the teacher or your partner that you didn't know what something meant or was.
It sounds like you are are doing at great job of incorporating VTS into your teaching practices. Too be honest, while reflecting on my teaching, I think this is something I need to improve on. This class is really showing me the many benefits of incorporating art into my teaching, and I am learning about many easy, effective, and beneficial ways to do this in my classroom. I love that you mentioned this this could enhance their ability to predict, which is another added benefit to using this strategy. And that you added that there is no embarrassment in being wrong. I am a special education teacher and I often find that my students are not very engagement, and many times this is from years of trying to get involved in the class and being told they are wrong. With this process, there is no right and wrong. Everyone has the opportunity to give their input, to grow as learners, and to feel good about themselves. Thanks for sharing!
Mattie, I can see from your posting that you have a good grasp on Visual Thinking Skills and its importance in each subject area. I agree with you when stating that we are constantly encouraged to find resources for each task that we utilize within education and create a team plan that emphasises our core standards, VTS, and many other things. Our wait times seem to be rushed anymore with the limited amount of time we have and the many things that we are to cover. Therefore, we must be conscientious to allow our students the ability to think and pause when covering a new or difficult topic. Thank you for sharing your insights.