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:
- Choose a COLOUR that you think best represents the essence of that idea.
- Create a SYMBOL that you think best represents the essence of that idea.
- Draw an IMAGE that you think best represents the essence of that idea.
I have used it as a way of analyzing characters in the book There’s a Boy in the Girls’ Bathroom. I felt I was taking a risk, but I was really impressed with my students’ abilities to explain their thinking, and support it with evidence. Although the basic routine asks for only one colour, I took it a step further, and asked my students to choose one of the colour themes at Adobe’s Kuler website.
“Watermelon” is the colour theme that many of my students felt best described Carla, the school’s counsellor. When I asked them to explain, they said, “She’s happy, kind, nice, and easy to walk up to and talk to. She’s like Spring, when things are green and growing.” One excellent source of symbols is The Noun Project.