Welcome to my Classroom: MTV

As an educator, it is important to think about the differences between schooling and education. Schooling is simply the action of students going to school whereas education is the knowledge a student requires as a result of schooling. Just because schooling is happening doesn’t necessarily mean that education is happening. Often within a classroom, only surface level learning happens through the memorization of facts and repetition. As educators, we should be focused on providing a deeper level of learning to our students. How do we do this? By focusing on developing understanding through more active and constructive processes. What is understanding? An outcome of thinking. So it is very important for students to be thinking. How do you know if your students are thinking? You make thinking visual, in the book Making Thinking Visible, it talks about the importance of making thinking visual within a classroom as well as different strategies to do so. Through the rest of this post, I will be discussing some of these strategies and how they can be used to teach content in a science classroom.

1. Red Light, Yellow Light

For this strategy as students read, view, or listen to material have them consider the following questions:

  1. What are the red lights here? That is, what things stop you and your tracks as a reader/listener/observer because you doubt their truth or accuracy?
  2. What are the yellow lights here? That is, what things slow you down a bit, give you pause, and make you wonder if they are true and accurate or not?

Zoom In

For this strategy have students observe a portion of an image closely and answer these questions

  1. What do you see or notice?
  2. What is your hypothesis or interpretation of what this might be based on what you are seeing?

Next reveal more of the image and have students observe and answer these questions

  1. What new things do you see?
  2. How does this change your hypothesis or interpretation? Has the new information answered any of your wonders or change your previous ideas?
  3. What new things are you wondering about?

Repeat this process until your students have seen the full image and have them answer this question

  1. What lingering questions remain for you about this image?

The Explanation Game

Have students observe an object and then provide this information

  1. Name it. Name a feature or aspect of the object that you notice.
  2. Explain it. What could it be? What role or function might serve? Why might it be there?
  3. Give reasons. What makes you say that? Or why do you think it happened that way?
  4. Generate alternatives. What else could it be? And what makes you say that?

More Information


  1. Hi Maya! I love your post. I really like the zoom in technqiue! I think that would be really engaging, and pairs well with the Explanation Game. I’d like to see aspects of the Explanation game paired with the Zoom In method. For example, zooming in on parts of an organism and having students discuss what it is and its function. What do you think of that pairing?
    Good post!

  2. Hi Maya! Great post. I also plan on incorporating red light yellow light in my classroom one day. I feel like it is a great way to make students recognize what they are reading, and understand how to slow down and grasp literature that they may be presented with. Can you think of any reading you might like to incorporate this strategy into? Thanks!

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