Making Thinking Visible routines provide support and scaffolding for deep discussions

One of the best parts about my job as a coach is learning from amazing teachers. Each week, a teacher hosts a Learning Round which focuses on any subject or teaching practice of their choice.  There are always great take-aways, so each week, I will share them here.

images-1Elementary students often struggle to look below the surface and think deeply about challenging real-world issues. This week’s Learning Round demonstrated how Making Thinking Visible routines can spark meaningful discussions and help students organize their thoughts. The Learning Goal for this 3rd grade Social Studies lesson is to describe how wants and needs have implications beyond the self.

SEE, THINK, WONDER is a simple, yet powerful, routine that encourages students to think boat-sea-plastic-krichimcritically and ask questions. The Learning Round host used the routine as a quick way for students to be exposed to a topic and take notes. She displayed an image of a boat, surrounded by trash. Students were ask to carefully examine the picture and write a list of
what they could SEE. But they didn’t stop there. The MTV routine guided the students to THINK more deeply about how and why the trash is there, and to WONDER about how they could have an impact on this problem.

img_7260Then, she introduced the One Slide Challenge. This requires students to summarize and synthesize what they learned into one slide. This is challenging for many students. To support them, she used an MTV routine: Name It, Explain It, Give Reasons, Generate Alternatives. Students name a type of trash produced by their household. They explain this type of trash in more detail, including the types of resources that are used to make it. Then, they give reasons why we should reduce our trash of this item. And, they generate alternatives of how this trash could be reused and repurposed. With the MTV routine, all of this can be neatly organized onto one slide, and collected into a slideshow to share with the class.

If students are struggling to think more deeply, try Making Thinking Visible routines. This blog has some great ideas for getting started.

I would love to hear more ideas from you. How have you used MTV routines in your classroom?

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