Sunday, May 5, 2013

See, Think, Wonder

Connect:  As an intervention teacher who pulls small groups of students for a limited amount of time a few days a week, I have really struggled with how to implement the thinking routines into my program.  I have wondered how to use a routine within the confines of a fairly strict reading "program."  I finally realized that I needed to take the risk, detour from my curriculum and just see where the kids thinking would take us.  I AM SO GLAD I DID!  Rather than using the typical picture walk and vocabulary discussion to preview a book I was going to be using in a guided reading group, I decided to use See, Think, Wonder around an interesting photo I took from that book.  What the students did not know was that the title and topic of this non-fiction book was Volcanoes.

Extend:  The kids took some quiet time to look at the picture and notice the strange details.  As a group we then listed all of their "See, Think, Wonders" on a group chart.

What I loved about using this routine was that the students were able to go deeper with their thinking than just the surface "information" visible in the photo.  The "see" step in the routine allowed us to list those surface elements that we so often talk about when we do a book preview.  It was within the "Think" and "Wonder" steps that we could go beyond the image.  I was so impressed with the thoughts and wonderings the students came up with!  They came up with wonderings and questions about what happened to create such a scene of abandonment and destruciton.  They all concluded that some sort of natural disaster had to have played a part.  What astounded me the most was that the kids didn't just jump in to make a prediction about what happened!  They were lost in the wonderings!  I am always so quick to ask "What do you think happened" and this process helped me to slow down and let the kid think about the picture.  In turn, the payoff in slowing down with this routine was that when it came to reading this book, the kids were able to use thier thinking to help them with challenging vocabulary within the text.  I also believe it enhanced how they determined importance within the book and their overall synthesis of new information. 

Challenge:  I  discovered in doing this routine that the kids were already familiar with it (thanks to Val!). This made it SO much easier to jump right into the routine since the kids already knew the process.  It truly illustrated the power of routine, and how this can connect BEYOND the regular classroom in to other instructional groupings.  My personal challenge is to find a couple of routines that I can use as a regular part of my group rituals-  these can then become a direct connection to what the kids are using in their classrooms.  I  think this can be such a powerful connection for an intervention program that has (self-admittedly) been very disconnected from the classroom.


  1. Yay! I am glad that taking the plunge paid off for your students and you! I will use this routine with my students too, as we are both seeking to find the time to allow the students to use their deeper thinking skills.

  2. It's exciting to hear about the transfer of these routines between different classrooms and teachers. Like I said at PLC on Friday, it's exciting to think about these routines a couple of years down the road. We won't have to 'teach' so much of the routine, but instead we can weave them into our daily instruction. How exciting! It sounds like the kids were truly engaged in the text after looking at the fascinating photo.

    Jeff and I took an idea from the last chapter of the book, and we added an evidence column after think to ensure that kids explain their inferences. It might be something you want to try if you continue to use this routine.

  3. And the kids probably loved being able to go off the beaten path with you. Small group reading is so so important and the fact that they were given time to think and have someone really stop and listen to what it is they are thinking about is priceless. Really sets the tone for a love of reading. Reading should be fun and valuable, not a task or chore.