Research has found that teachers who are successful at promoting students’ thinking tend to develop, adapt, and make use of specific routines to scaffold and support students’ thinking (Ritchhard, R. (2002). Intellectual character: What it is, why it matters, and how to get it, San Francisco: Jossey-Bass).
Below are some of the thinking routines suggested by The Project Zero team and the Cultures of Thinking team. The routines are some suggestions of ways to make thinking visible in your classroom and for educators to be able to support students’ development of understanding.
These routines can operate in different ways in your classroom as they can be thought of as: tools, structures or patterns of behaviour.
If used as tools – as teachers we must first identify what kind of thinking we are trying to elicit from our students and then select the appropriate tool for the job.
If used as a structure – teachers need to think about how they will use student responses at each step of the sequential routine to set them up for good thinking in the next scaffolded step.
If used as a pattern of behaviour – once students have become a “way of doing things” then teachers and students can utilise the flexibility that comes with this knowledge of behaviour to greater serve their need.
The 3 categories used to organise the thinking routines reflect the inquiry steps that teachers often utilise during inquiries. For each routine there is a link to a youtube video showing the routine in action.
The first category of thinking routines is below, see part 2 and part 3 for the other categories, and the introduction.
Introducing and exploring
See-think-wonder – for describing, interpreting and wondering
image from: langwitches.org
When looking at an image ask the questions: What do you see? What do you think is going on? What does it make you wonder?
Zoom in – for describing, inferring and interpreting
For looking closely at a small bit of an image that is revealed, ask the questions: What do you see or notice? What is your hypothesis or interpretation of what this might be, based on what you are seeing?
Reveal more of the image and ask: What new things do you see? How does this change your hypothesis or interpretation? Has the new information answered any of your wonders or changed your previous ideas? What new things are you wondering about?
Repeat. Then when the whole image has been revealed ask: What lingering questions remain for you about this image?
Think-puzzle-explore – for activating prior knowledge, wondering and planning
image from: http://inspiredinsecond.blogspot.com.au/2014/03/technology-visible-thinking.html
Thinking about the subject or topic that has been presented, ask: What do you think you know about this topic? What questions or puzzles do you have about this topic? How might you explore the puzzles we have around this topic? (Like a KWL chart).
Chalk talk – for activating prior knowledge, wondering and planning
Looking at the topic or questions written on big pieces of paper, ask: What ideas come to mind when you consider this ideas, questions, or problem? What connections can you make to others’ responses? What questions arise as you think about the ideas and consider the responses and comments of others?
3-2-1 bridge – for uncovering prior knowledge and ideas, questioning
image from: langwitches.org
Thinking about the key concept or topic, begin by identifying 3 words, 2 questions and 1 metaphor/simile. Later, identify 3 words, 2 questions and 1 metaphor/simile and bridge the difference: Identify how the new responses connect to or shifted from your initial response.
Compass points – for decision making and planning, uncovering personal reactions
image from: toondoo.com
Considering the ideas, question or proposition before you: E = Excited – What excites you about this idea or proposition? W = Worries – What do you find worrisome about this idea or proposition? N = Needs – What else do you need to know of find out about this idea or proposition? S = Stance – What is your current stance or opinion no the idea or proposition? What should your next step be in your evaluation of this idea of proposition? What suggestions do you have at this point?
The explanation game – for observing details and building explanations
Taking a close look at the object you are trying to understand: Name it – name a feature or aspect of the object that you notice. Explain it – What could it be? What role or function might it serve? Why might it be there? Give reasons – What makes you say that? Or why do you think it happened that way? Generate alternatives – What else could it be? And what makes you say that?