Smith / Willett 2nd Grade Thinking Routine: See Think WonderConnect: You begin by looking at an image or a problem and asking the students “What do you See” and writing everything they say down in the column. Then, you ask “What do you Think” about anything that they noticed. This probes them to look a little deeper at what they noticed on the surface to see if there is any significance to it. Finally, you ask students “What do you Wonder?”, which allows them to take what they thought about the image or problem and let their imaginations run wild…what is the setting, what happened to cause this problem, why did the author/painter/creator set it up this way, what are we supposed to take away from this? These are all high-level inquiries that propel our students into discovering the “answers” for themselves.
What I did: I used this routine as an introduction to our Tracks Science Unit Investigating Earth Materials. The big idea for the unit is to discover the properties of natural materials that are at the surface of earth including rocks, soils and water. I brought in poster size print of an Ansel Adams photograph of Canyon de Chelly National Monument, Arizona. I chose this print because it shows a canyon with exposed sides, river flowing through the bottom of the canyon and a flat grassy area next to the river. Someone with a strong background in geography would know that the river erosion carved out the canyon and exposed the layers rock and sediment that have been deposited over millions of years.The see-think-wonder routine was a useful tool to help me determine what my students knew about earth materials and how they change over time. It also got them excited about this unit.
The students were silent and looked at the poster for about 2 minutes. I asked them to use a stickie note and record what they saw. Some were very literal. “I see lots of rocks.” “I see muddy water.” A few were poetic. “I see ribbons.” “I see a snake.” Everyone got to read and post their notes on chart paper. Next we talked about what they thought the picture showed. Again each person posted their I think post-it note. Finally I asked them what they wanted to know about the picture and write their I wonder on a note to be posted on the chart. Comments included, “I wonder how tall the mountains are.” And “Are there volcanoes there.”
Extend: The day after our routine, we went over some of the sticky note thoughts, sights, and wonders listed from our group of kids. Students were given time to discuss their reasoning and thinking with each other through turn to talk, pair share.
Students naturally chose posting that they thought were most insightful. They were psyched to get started with the investigating earth materials.
Challenge: My challenge is to create a learning environment where students know the expectation is that they will use their schema, analyze information and think deeply about whatever learning is taking place. I think the more we use these routines, the more ingrained deeper level thinking will become in all the students.