42 Minutes(X) = 2.5 Hours: The Creation of an Algebra 1 Thinking Classroom

Date of Completion


Document Type

Open Access Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Nina Greenwald


The Critical and Creative Thinking (CCT) Graduate Program promotes opportunities for meaningful question making and creative solution finding which led to my creation of an Algebra 1 "thinking classroom." The CCT program enabled me to identify the resources, thinking tools and steps needed to achieve this objective that resulted in transforming my classroom into a culture of thinking that motivates students to think mathematically and dramatically improves their understanding. This synthesis documents the processes that led to the proposed redesign of my Algebra 1 classroom for the 2005-2006 school year. It describes the initial infusion of critical and creative thinking skills into my classroom gradually leading to a more explicit and consistent use. The redesign is documented in five steps: restructuring the pace for teaching the content skills; selecting the thinking dimensions which will support the thinking culture; creating artifacts for the visual environment; designing "The Labs" (a portion of each unit devoted to student-centered learning); and crafting the introduction of the dimensions into the classroom. The culture of learning in my algebra classroom is modeled after that which I experienced in my CCT courses and inspired by leading authors in the field. As my knowledge and thinking shifted throughout the Program so did my understanding of missing learning environment aspects within my own classroom. As a result each 42-minute algebra class feels like 2.5 hours of highly immersing, thought-full learning experiences for students. As my experiences, thinking and classroom change, I continue to reflect on the attributes needed to improve the thinking culture within my mathematics classroom. This search for the means to create and maintain a mathematics "thinking classroom" where students extend their learning beyond the four classroom walls and beyond the dismissal bell is in essence how I will be able to create this culture, redefine this culture, and extend this culture beyond the boundaries of my current thinking.


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