Writing with Sensory Details

During our unit on narrative writing, we inquired into what makes a good setting for a story. My students came to understand that in order for a setting to be exciting, the author must incorporate sensory details into the scene so that that reader can imagine what it is like. As a class, we used photographs to help us […]

CSI: Colour, Symbol, Image

CSI is one of the more challenging  Visible Thinking Routines but it can really help students develop their understanding of a topic. The basic format is like this: Think 
of 
the 
big 
ideas 
and 
important 
themes 
in 
what
 you 
have 
just 
read, 
seen, or 
heard. Choose
 a
 COLOUR 
that
 you 
think 
best 
represents 
the 
essence 
of […]

Circle of Viewpoints

I have made a simple graphic organiser to helps students follow the Circle of Viewpoints thinking routine. I find this routine an accessible way for students to see a topic or issue from different points of view. Sometimes, I use this routine first, and then add on to it with “Step Inside“. Copied directly from […]

Timelining a Character’s Life

A recent experiment for making characters come alive: creating timelines of their lives. After interviewing characters, I had a lot of specific details about who these people were and what were some of the important events in their lives. I needed some way of making sure that the chronological events of their lives made sense, […]

Creating and Interviewing Characters

To help my students develop the characters in their stories, I’ve had them focus on making characters that seem like real people. My theory is that if students can create full, well-developed characters in their minds, then when those characters encounter a problem, they will react in realistic ways. We started with collecting a bunch […]

Three Stars and a Wish

The advantage of this assessment tool is the ratio of positive to negative comments helps mitigate hurt feelings. Three Stars: good things, positives, successes One Wish: one thing you wish was different, suggestion for next time, area of improvement I always introduce the routine with a discussion of what makes a useful star and wish. […]

Text to Self, Text, and World

This is a Microsoft Word template I made to help students make connections to what they are reading. It has three columns: text to self, text to text, and text to word. Each column has a short description of what that kind of connection is (“Connect what you are reading to something from your life.”) , […]

Discussion Operations Cards

We conduct a lot of group discussions in my class. Often the format starts with an engaging question or challenge to start their curiosity, then moves on to a discussion using a routine like Think-Pair-Share. I noticed that many of my students were using some of the same behaviours: acknowledging a previous comment, and adding one’s own […]

A couple years ago I made this set of Six Thinking Hats posters to use with my Grade Four students. I combined several useful Six Thinking Hats resources into one A4 sized poster per hat. In addition to De Bono’s book, I primarily relied on a list of questions and sentence stems related to each hat (including […]