Visual Thinking Strategies-2012

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Newsletter - June 5, 2012

Training Dates:

June 7-8, 2012

VTS Practicum

Eugene, OR


July 23-24, 2012

VTS Practicum
New Orleans, LA

August 28-31, 2012

Advanced Practicum

Seattle, WA


Sept 13-14, 2012
VTS Practicum
New York, NY


Sept 20-21, 2012
VTS Practicum
San Francisco, CA


Sept 21-22, 2012

VTS Practicum

Columbia, MO


Sept 27-30, 2012

European Symposium
The Netherlands


November 8-9, 2012
VTS Practicum
Seattle, WA


Regional Events:


Aug 6-8, 2012
VTS Institute
Brattleboro, VT

Click here to see all our events.



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Success Stories 2:

An Update from Michigan

Gay Lundin is an art teacher at Voyager Elementary in Howell, Michigan, previously featured in both a newsletter and now as a success story on our website. Her work with VTS has been an incredible opportunity for both her own teaching practice, and the students in her classroom. Her update is this week's newsletter:


by Gay Lundin


Visual Thinking Strategies was chosen as the sole instrument to measure my teacher effectiveness this year and my district rated me the prized title of "Highly Effective Teacher." Like many school districts across the nation, classroom teachers are seeking strategies that sustain the National Common Core Curriculum. I chose VTS to evaluate my achievements with a S.M.A.R.T Goal in English language arts and the writing process within my art room. SMART is a educational acronym for: Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely, and Evaluative--widely used in school districts to generate greater accountability for teaching and learning.



My SMART Goal read as follows: 100% of all ninety 3rd graders will show measurable growth in writing using VTS strategies in the art room as a part of their thinking portfolios. At least 90% will receive a secure status on the assessment scale (beginning/developing/secure) using the VTS Writing path marker rubric. This was a rigorous expectation to accomplish in concert with a very rich hands-on art making curriculum that includes oral VTS.


In September we started with a pretest, and then four scored writing sessions between October and March, ending with the post test in April. The third graders were genuinely excited as they reviewed their scores, discovering continuous improvement while owning their data. The year was filled with crafting a well-supported inference, adding detail to that inference, and then asking students to modify their creative thinking to critical thinking. As they learned to revise their inference by constructing a reverse schema with opposed evidence, a deeper understanding of perspective was gained. We referred to this thinking as the, "Because", "And", & "Or" statements." What a community of learners!


In April, our third graders joyfully celebrated exceeding the set goal of 90% with 94% achieving our objective. Their thinking portfolios are filled with rich authentic writings, rooted in an inquiry-based art production program already sustaining oral VTS. Voyager Elementary has implemented VTS school-wide for over four years and as I continue to grow into a skilled facilitator, it has been enlightening to measure those now transparent thinking skills into recordable data, to reflect on the student's thinking, and ultimately measure the students ability to transfer their knowledge of decoding visual images into the higher level thinking skills associated with VTS writing.


VTS is at the core of my success in the classroom. Together with the SMART goal, were a series of classroom observations guided by our district and the Instructional Strategies of Robert Marzano. One strategy teachers found particularly challenging to implement was, "Generating and Testing Hypothesis".™ A skill respected by administrators for its approach to learning by constructing opinions and examining those inferences within a facilitated discussion, all within the framework of building a new knowledge base. VTS stood as the seminal model for my success, ultimately crafting my "highly effective" status. As practitioners of VTS, we recognize and understand that the process is successful for students, and it is also a measurement of highly effective teaching practices.


For more information on thinking portfolios or teacher best practices, you can email