Cultures of Thinking

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Cultures of Thinking Foundations

In the Cultures of Thinking project, we see the most gains in student performance and school transformation when the leadership at the school is in a position to make the discussion of thinking, examination of student work, and the taking of risks in trying new teaching practices central to the work of the school.  The Leadership Foundations seminars, led by Ron Ritchhart, lay the groundwork for this development by building on and extending the professional learning culture that currently exists at the school. These sessions serve as opportunities both to develop a vision of the project and to put in place structures for professional conversations and teacher learning at the school, thus laying the groundwork for extending and enhancing the professional learning with teachers that will begin in 2016.

Participants: Each school-based team is comprised of a principal and 1 or 2 teacher leaders.


Time: 8:30 AM to 3:00 PM
Cost: $1,000 per team
Location: Oakland Schools Technical Campus Southeast
                 5055 Delemere Avenue, Royal Oak, MI 48073
SCECHs: $10 payable the last day (application pending)


Cultures of Thinking Foundations/Cohorts

The Cultures of Thinking School Leadership Cohorts meet for 2 two-day sessions as follow-up to the Leadership Foundations to expand and deepen the leadership capacity in each school. These seminars are designed for teachers, administrators and school leaders, across all grade levels and subject areas, interested in supporting and developing their students as thinkers and learners. We focus on practical ways educators can create a culture of thinking in their schools and classrooms, foster the kinds of thinking opportunities that lead to deep understanding of content, and look for evidence of student thinking and understanding. We also explore the 8 Cultural Forces and how they can be shaped to support student thinking. Participants are introduced to a variety of thinking routines: what they are and how they can be used to create more thoughtful classrooms.

Participants: The school leaders from the Foundation Seminars continue, along with 4 or 5 more teacher leaders.

Dates: (Select One Cohort)

Cohort I: January 21 & 22, March 21, May 10, 2016
Huron Valley—Lakeland High School
1630 Bogie Lake Rd, White Lake, MI 48383

Cohort II: March 29 & 30, April 13, May 17, 2016
Rochester Administration Building
501 W. University, Rochester, MI 48307

Cohort III: June 27, 28, 29, & 30, 2016
Oakland Schools
2111 Pontiac Lake Road
Waterford, MI 48328

Time: 8:30 AM to 3:00 PM
Cost: $2,000 per team
SCECHs: $10 payable the last day (application pending)

Join CoT Oakland on mi PLACE 

mi PLACE is a virtual platform for professional learning and collaboration sponsored by Oakland Schools ISD. Log in requires a Google account (school-based or personal). Professional educators actively and directly engaged in K12 education are welcome to join.

To log in for the first time:

  1. ​Before going to mi PLACE, use your browser to log in to your school (or personal) Google account. This is the Google account you'll use in the mi PLACE community.
  2. Go to
  3. Click on the red Google button to log in, use your school email address and network password (or personal Gmail address and password).
  4. Give mi PLACE permission to use your Google username for mi PLACE.
  5. Complete the profile screen - including your district, building, and the county you work in.
  6. Be sure to set your default settings for receiving individual emails versus a daily email digest from mi PLACE, as well as your preferences for forums notifications and subscriptions. These are some of the first fields on the profile screen.

    Search for a specific group in the Collaboratorium to join:
    Click on the green tab for the Collaboratorium.
  7. Click "Search for Groups."
  8. Use the search fields to find the CoT Oakland group
    1. Group Name - type in a keyword from the group's name CoT Oakland, or
    2. Group Creator - type in the first name of the group's creator
  9. Click on the group name to request to join.
  10.  If this is a Private group, the group owner will approve or deny your request and then you can enter the group (or not). CoT Oakland is Public so you just click JOIN and you're in!
  11. Post an introductory message and if you have a topic or a question you'd like to pursue, please start a discussion.

The groups you are a member show up on both the "Collaboratorium" page and the "My Learning" page when you log in for easy future access.​