Saturday, April 5, 2014

See Think Wonder

     Over the years, I have come to rely upon the thinking routine: See, Think,Wonder.  Students always love it and dive right in, but I am invariably frustrated that it just scratches the surface of  concepts.  After spending time investigating the rigor of my student's tasks, I finally understand why it is in the "explore" section of the Making Thinking Visible book!; it is not meant to deeply analyze a subject, but to elicit interest, motivation, engagement, student ownership and intrigue. With that in mind, I am successfully matching thinking task to learning objective. :)  Thank you Backwards Lesson Design!

What we did:  
     When I plan each literacy unit, I also plan the thinking strategy that I want to investigate with students. Multiple thinking strategies are used all the time and hopefully with flexibility, but it is beneficial to my students when I explicitly teach one at a time. 
     It is difficult to tease out just one, so I used See Think Wonder to acknowledge multiple strategies and then for my narrative fiction unit, I wanted to zoom in on Inferring.  My learning objective was for students to realize that when we infer we use background knowledge and text/visual clues.  "See" is activating background knowledge to recognize features, "Think" is inferring based on clues, "Wonder" is questioning.  I added the "Why" after the "Think" and it has helped students to cite text evidence.
     The book, Journey by Aaron Becker, is a vivid picture discovery.  Students must infer to make sense and create understanding.  I highly recommend it!


     "I see that a girl is very lonely and her parents and sisters ignore her.  
      I think she wants to go where kids notice her and play with her, because she asked her family to play, but they ignore her and she looks lonely.  
      I wonder if she is going to go to another place and become noticed.  Maybe she will go to another world because she drew a door and went in and came to an unfamiliar place.

Next Steps:
    This strategy worked for fiction and now I begin a nonfiction social studies unit on Regions of the U.S. For the onset, my learning objective is for students to build background knowledge. I will use images so students can infer and construct meaning. This will be the foundation for the unit. My expectation is that it will motivate and engage students in order for them to develop ownership of the content.
     I also want students to metacognitively choose what thinking strategy helps them create understanding at particular times in their research.  Is it questioning or inferring?


  1. Val, I love that you added the "why" after the "think" to have the kids cite the text (as demanded by CCSS). Asking kids why is always valuable! I also appreciate that you are explicitly teaching one thinking strategy at a time, while recognizing and sharing w/ your kids that realistically, we use several or many of them simultaneously. I do the same thing in 1st, though it's a harder concept to grasp. Lastly, I like that you included the "infer" box to help them construct their thinking. Every time I've done STW it's been whole group; I'm a bit reluctant to let go and have them try it independently at the beginning of the year, though at this time of the year it could be done. Thanks for sharing the book, "Journey," I"m going to have to look into it.

  2. Your post helped me to synthesize my own understanding of the Thinking Routines!! I have never actually pushed my thinking in terms of what I was accomplishing with a specific routine, other than how it served the task at hand- I love that i can now categorize the routines into purpose! Like "explore"! Of course See Think Wonder is a routine to help kids explore a topic! I had just never thought of it in those terms! I love, too, that your journey of discovery of that fact was one borne of frustration... and then epiphany! Thanks for stretching my brain on this one!! :)

  3. I have to agree with Lynn. I sometimes find myself using a thinking routine without fully understanding the purpose. The big take away from combining the backward planning and the thinking routines, is that we no longer get to activities without thinking about the deeper purpose of the activity. I now find myself deepening my own thought process before I use a thinking routine, which in turn has made the routines much more meaningful for the students, and also more useful for my purposes (assessment, differentiation, exploration, etc.)

  4. See, Think, Wonder lends itself well to the act of inferring, so well done! Although it's a thinking routine, it can also be viewed as a graphic organizer to lead students through the inferencing thought process. What did you read (see), what are your thoughts and visuals (think), and what questions do you have now (wonder)? Some of these routines are wonderful for honing in on reading strategies. For aren't reading strategies simply thinking strategies?