Tuesday, April 16, 2013

See, Think, (Evidence), Wonder

Jamie and I are working on a unit on Colorado History with our third and fourth graders and they are learning about Native Americans.  To kick off this part of our learning, we used the See, Think, Wonder routine, with the added element of Evidence where students need to answer the question, "Why?" to justify what they think.  I think this was something that Val and Jamie had added when they tried this routine in literacy.

In triads, groups were given a picture depicting a scene from Native American culture, then they were prompted to fill in each column one at a time.

The connection I would make is to think about other ways I have tried to get students interested in a particular topic.  It is a step that I gloss over.  I am often in a hurry to get to the teaching of the topic.  This routine made me realize how profound it can be to allow kids an extended period of time to really examine what they think they know, record it and discuss with one another.

The other connection is to another routine that I thought gave us a similar result.  We used the "I used to think, now I think," routine to, again, prompt kids to record their thinking before we got too far into the topic.  We are in the middle of this process right now, but so far I am impressed with the way kids are comparing their previous thinking to what they know now. I think it is powerful for kids to make that comparison.

In order to extend this process, Jamie and I had to really help the kids examine what thinking strategies they were using in order to do this routine.  They were activating schema, determining importance and inferring.  This is not something that I naturally do, I think because I teach math and science and this is more natural when working with reading a writing.

The challenge for me is to slow down and allow kids the opportunity to record at length.  I was doing this routine with third while Jamie was doing it with fourth.  Because I had the younger kids, I made them do one column at a time.  First, they wrote all that they saw, I set a timer for 5 minutes and they had to really look and continue to write and they weren't allowed to go on to the next column.  It was so interesting to find out all they noticed when they spent so much time with the same photograph.  They really dug deep!

I can see us turning this into a routine that we repeat when introducing all new topics.  I would be so nice to have a standard routine where kids just dive in with their thinking.


  1. Again, you with the evidence based language! I LOVE this tweak on the routine and I plan on trying it out with my kiddos next time we do this routine. You're a very impressive teacher. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Oops, I thought this was Val's posting when I made this comment. It all still stands, except for the first sentence.

  2. We are all so pressed for time, yet you reminded us that taking time to go deep is worth it. I will remember that you set the timer for five more minutes, and the students used the time to discover more.

  3. TIME!!!! I wish we did have more time to allow the kids an environment that always allowed for the time needed to truly get authentic learning. I too try to remind myself to slow down, but find that right after that, we have to speed back up again. I loved the pictures and your reflection. It was very informative and reflective.

  4. Isn't that our eternal challenge, to slow down and allow children to marinate in their thoughts? Kudos to you for trying! I do think that the topic of Native Americans is a hard one for young children to conceptualize, but I do think that your routine will certianly help.