Making Thinking Visible by Karen Morrison, Mark Church, and Ron Ritchhart is a text the EDT431 cohort women have been studying lately. Sometimes it’s hard to be 100% engaged by a book, but I found that this book has grabbed my attention with its interesting strategies for making thinking visible in class. Making thinking visible is so necessary because teachers can’t read students’ minds and need to be able to see their thought process. The strategies I have referenced in this post are just a few good ways to make that thinking visible. We’ll start with the activity Sentence-Phrase-Word.
This strategy works great when you have a text that you’d like the students to read closely and make a lot of meaning from it. This activity guides students toward the core ideas of a text and helps them find the most powerful messages from the passage that they can then share with the class. Here’s how it works:
- Give the students the text and allow them to read, after instructing them to keep an eye out for particularly attention-grabbing elements (a sentence, a phrase, a word)
- Students are looking for powerful, engaging, provoking, interesting, and meaningful parts of the text. Encourage them to look for a sentence that captures the main idea of a text, a phrase that gives them pause, and a word that makes them wonder or think critically.
- Students share out their sentence, phrase, and word. Allow the students to lead the discussion, eventually talking about the overarching themes of the text.
I have created an example of a Sentence-Phrase-Word activity that you are welcome to download. It deals with geology and the lithosphere as a general theme.
If you’re looking for a more visually engaging strategy, Zoom In is a great one. It encourages students to make hypotheses based on the information they have, and it allows students to see how their conclusions change once they get more information. Here’s how it works:
- Pick an image relating to the subject you want to teach.
- Zoom in on a small portion of the image. You should be able to sort of understand what is there, but not completely. Have students discuss what they see and what they think is going on.
- Zoom out slightly, to reveal some more of the image. This should be a significant enough change for students to make new observations and hypotheses. Give them a chance to discuss.
- Repeat the above steps until the full image is revealed.
I have made an example of Zoom In that introduces the concept of symbiotic relationships. You are free to download this file, but you’ll need to figure out a way to hide each of the images so you don’t ruin the surprise!
Step In is a strategy that encourages students to “step in” to someone else’s or something else’s shoes. It allows students to understand the relationships between different perspectives. There are many different lessons you can use this activity for, but I have made an example you are free to download that introduces the Earth, moon and sun relationships and how they affect the seasons and tides. Here’s how Step In works:
- Have the students examine a provided material, like a picture, story, video, sound, or prompt.
- Encourage students to pick an object or person involved in the situation whose shoes they want to “step” into.
- Here are some questions to help guide your students as they look at their chosen perspective:
- What can this person or thing observe?
- What might the person or thing know about or understand?
- What does the person or thing care about?
- What is physically happening to the person or thing?
Thank you for reading my post, I hope that you found these strategies genuinely helpful. Please feel free to use the documents provided throughout this post in your classrooms!