Getting the best out of MTV in the Classroom

Everyone loves the television channel MTV and here is the best way that you can use it to for the better performance of your students! Wouldn’t that be a nice reality? Sorry to disappoint but in this blog today we are going to be discussing what MTV (Make Thinking Visible) means in the classroom.

First we need to discuss the importance of why we want to make thinking visible. The importance behind making thinking visible is that it allows students to make connections between what they imagine metaphysically and the real world around them. In this sense they are able to develop their meta-cognitive abilities. This also helps them socially as they are able to connect to their peers with shared experiences, and jump starts the inquiry process.

The Explanation Game

The first MTV strategy is the explanation game! This is a great MTV tool for students as it allows them to look at an object or item and use inquiry to explore the new topic. First they have to break the item down into sub parts, working mechanically to tell the difference in what makes a part, a part. Then they name it and explain what could be its function. Then the great part of this, the inquiry, is telling why that part does what they think it performs. Lastly, we get everyone in on the inquiry by opening up the discussion to the whole classroom and having everyone participate.


Unfortunately, we’ve got another abbreviation for a cool television reference that has nothing to do with its teaching counterpart. CSI stands for Color, Symbol, Image and has to do with students being exposed to an activity and then coming up with a color, symbol, image that represents that exposure that they received. This is great for students because it allows them to express themselves, but also challenges them as they use their creativity to design these things to best represent their understanding.

Using CSI in the Classroom – Ms. K's Classroom


Connect Extend Challenge - THINKING PATHWAYS

This last MTV tool is great because it presents new concepts in a way that gets students thinking about their lives and the world around them. First they connect the new information to their own experiences and prior knowledge. Then they push those boundaries of what they know into where they could apply this new information in their lives. Lastly, they can then inquire where else in the world they could use this information, or where they are already using it which, brings the connection back to them. Doing this all encompasses inquiry as students search to find the answers to these questions.

Those are just some of the strategies that you can use for your classroom to MAKE THINKING VISIBLE!!!!!

To finish off check out this TED talk before you go!


  1. Hey Anthony,
    I love the reference to MTV! Awesome way to incorporate the mainstream culture into your post. I think the connect- extend – challenge would be an awesome tool to use in the classroom. I like how it incorporates the students’ lives and real-world situations. This is important for students to make those connections they have with the content. This is a great way for students to push the boundaries of the classroom! My question is how can we keep students within the boundaries for an assignment like this?

  2. Hi Anthony!
    I really like the explanation game because it forces students into the why, not just the what. I think it would help them to really understand the content, not just repeat what they have been told. When it comes to CSI, how would you use this in your classroom and make it a valuable learning experience for students? What concepts do you think it might work best with, or which would it not work with?

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