Tuesday, February 5, 2013

See Think Wonder

As I use the thinking strategies, I come back to the concept of routine.  I realize an effective routine truly needs to be done with consistency, and in a manner that allows it to become part of our schema.  Up until now, I have tried routine after routine.  Finally, I am confident to say, that I will use the See Think Wonder routine throughout our study of Denver and Colorado.  This routine was so successful as a way to launch new content learning and facilitate discussion that I am sure to use it with each new content area.

First, students read an article about the Basketmakers in pairs to build background knowledge.  I modeled See Think Wonder in whole group and then students participated in groups of three.  They were given a photo, created a graphic organizer on white paper and I timed each section.  What do they see in the picture?  What do they think and what is that inference based on?  What do they wonder about?  This is where their thinking went beyond the photo.  Then, we used the organizer to share our thinking in new groups.  Finally, students synthesized their understanding by writing poetry, comics, stories and newspaper articles.

Connect - When beginning a new unit, it is invaluable to connect new learning upon prior knowledge.  The use of this strategy gave the students an interactive and visual way to activate their schema.  As they began to infer, they were able to look past the obvious and postulate ideas.  This led to natural wonderings based on clues they may have missed if they weren't given the time to truly examine the picture.

I connected to this routine because I am such a visual learner.  The aesthetic helps me to remember!

Extend - I believe the extension came from slowing down to focus and notice the details of the pictures.  We became archeologists for awhile and used our new knowledge to share with each other in a jigsaw discussion.

Challenge - Next time, I will provide pictures with details that challenge student thinking. Though the simpler photo's provided the opportunity to search and extend thinking, the students with more interesting pictures were really excited about their learning.  I will also model out of the box thinking based on tiny details to expand student license. :)


  1. Val,

    I too have found myself latching on to certain routines and finding the ones that work well for my students and I see their work improving as we do the routine more. I also see the value in changing up the routine though. I was doing a routine for going over homework where students were coming up to the front to demonstrate the mat on a mixed practice sheet that we do every week. I did a routine (What Makes You Say That) so that students had a way to frame their math questions for the presenter. It breathed new life into our math talk for a time, but now after several weeks I feel like their conversations are getting, well, routine... Time to change it up? I am wondering if you or others have had this same experience.

    This is a great routine for the beginning of a new unit. I like the way you used it because it allows for students to connect their prior knowledge to a visual. I also like that it gives them prompt for many ways to think about their thinking. I find this similar to the connect, extend, challenge routine that I am using a lot when I have students reflect at the end of a math unit.


  2. This is clearly a very developmentally appropriate routine for me and I am now trying to use it as a means to introduce all of my new units. I too find it so much deeper than the traditional KWL I used to use because of the wondering component. I do find however that it can become too routine in that it becomes an activity rather than a tool to drive instruction and learning. My challenge has always been to use the See Think Wonder not only at the beginning of the unit but as a tool to come back to throughout the unit. In other words, are we answering the wonderings or at least providing enough opportunity for them to reflect on them? During my next unit, I am using this routine but then making a plan to return to it as we progress through our learning about farms.

  3. I agree with all of your thoughts. I too find myself wanting to find the routine aspect, but then it seems like they reach a point where enough is enough! I also think that when I change to a different routine, they pick it up much quicker as the thinking expectations are already there and they know that is what I am expecting. I am very excited to see how our students throughout our school begin to grow over years as we all incorporate these strategies into our classrooms!!

  4. Val, I love that your students use evidence based terms, like "Based on what I see..." Was this a requirement for your students, or did you happen to post a picture of a student who did this on his or her own?

    1. Hi Jaime! It was a requirement. I keep modeling with sentence stems that refer back to evidence. I know that it will become part of their natural language someday. :)

  5. First of all, what are you doing posting at 4:08 AM???? ALthough I am posting at midnight! I love that you have "admitted" to finally settling in on one anchor routine! I have struggled with this to the point that I was scared to try ANY routine... But in learning from all of you, I have now realized I just have to jump in! See, Think, Wonder is the first routine I used with my kiddos, and by coincidence, they came from your class! It was so wonderful to have their expertise to help me throught the process for the first time and was so interesting! It was so clear that based on what they had already learned from your modeling and instruction they were already taking their observations and wondering to a deeper level! The first time through it took us a couple of days, perhaps because I had limited time with them? But I can see the benefit of sticking to one routine: it becomes more ROUTINE! And I think can become a natural part of the learning process. I love it!!Thanks for sharing!!

  6. This routine works well with science demos. I often use a cool demo to hook students before starting a unit without them having the background knowledge to give an explanation. I often resort to just a class conference to discuss due to time constraints. However, I can see the importance to take the time to get their thoughts on paper and this is a great format to do just that. Thanks for sharing.

  7. I'm very visual as well so I can relate, which is why I use this routine often. Plus, I notice the students really enjoy it! Practice makes perfect so they can "See Think Wonder" like it's nobody's business these days. So great that we're all speaking the same language ECE all the way through 8th grade!

  8. I love to read about your experiences! You write beautifully! I have enjoyed reading your articles. They are very well written. It looks like you spend a large amount of time and effort in writing the blog. I am appreciating your effort.