Thinking Routine

Cognitive Strategy, Cognitive Routine, Learning Routine

UDL 3.3

A Thinking Routine is a clear set of procedures (e.g., See, Think, Wonder Routine) or physical learning moves (e.g., Fist to Five) that help students process and internalize information. Thinking Routines encourage students to explore content more deeply by making connections to previous knowledge, critically analyzing material, and monitoring and reflecting on their learning. As a result, challenging content is made more accessible and students gain confidence and independence as learners. When Thinking Routines are used regularly in the classroom, they promote a culture of inquiry and encourage students to work together to build shared understanding. Essential Components of Thinking Routines: -- Easy to remember (often incorporate mnemonic devices or rhyming) -- Simple (e.g., set of questions, short sequence of steps) -- Used consistently by students independently or in small groups

Ready-to-Use Resources

Graphic Organizer

KNWS Math Graphic Organizer

Graphic organizer to support students in solving word problems.The organizer is based on the KNWS problem solving strategy and guides students to identify what they KNOW from the information stated in the problem, what information is NOT needed, WHAT the problem asks them to find, and the STRATEGY they can use to solve the problem.

Grade 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12 · Math · 1 pages

Implementation Tips

Where to Start
When first introducing thinking routines with students, start by choosing one broad or core routine that can be used in a variety of classroom activities (e.g., See, Think, Wonder). Initially, model the routine and use it frequently with the whole class. As students become more familiar with the routine provide opportunities for students to practice using it independently and in small groups.
Reminders for Routines
Invite a range of physical learning moves and responses (e.g., snapping, clapping, etc.) Giving students touchstones, such as a hand gesture, cue, or visual representation will help them more easily remember thinking routines.
More Examples of Thinking Routines
To find more examples of thinking routines and descriptions of how they can be used in the classroom, visit [[|Visible Thinking]] and [[|A Culture of Thinking]].
Project Zero
Check out this short [[|video]] from the Project Zero at Harvard University to learn more about thinking routines and how they can benefit your students.


Promoting Inquiry: See, Think, Wonder
The See, Think, Wonder routine encourages students to make careful observations and justify interpretations with reasons, while also stimulating curiosity. At the beginning of a unit or lesson, present students with an object related to the topic you will be studying (e.g., artwork, image, artifact, etc.). Invite students to make observations about the object by asking, “What do you see?” As each student responds, follow up with the questions: “What do you think about that?” and “What does it make you wonder?” Student responses can be recorded on a class chart of observations, interpretations, and wonderings. [[|Detailed Description of See, Think, Wonder Routine]]
Student Reflection: I Used to Think...But Now, I Think
The "I Used to Think...But Now, I Think" routine helps students reflect on their learning and consider how and why their thinking has changed. Use of this routine also builds students’ recognition of cause and effect relationships. This is a simple routine that can be used after reading a text, watching a film, or at the end of the lesson. Following the routine, students share their reflections about a specific topic using the sentence starters “I used to think…” and “But now, I think...” Once students gain familiarity using this routine, it can done in small groups or pairs. [[|Detailed Description of I Used to Think...But Now, I Think Routine]]
Math Problem Solving: KNWS
The KNWS strategy helps students plan, organize, and analyze how to solve word problems. Prior to engaging in actual problem solving, students work in groups or individually to discuss and identify each element of KNWS and record their responses. Students can use the KNWS Graphic Organizer or divide a sheet of paper into four columns with the following headings: --K: What do I KNOW from the information stated in this problem? --N: What information do I NOT need in order to solve this problem? --W: WHAT exactly does this problem ask me to find? --S: What STRATEGY or operation will I use to solve this problem?
Writing Arguments/Opinion Pieces
The POW-TREE routine guides students in writing arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence. Students can use the POW strategy for any writing task by taking the following steps: --Pick an idea or opinion. --Organize your notes and generate ideas. (using TREE routine) --Write and say more. When writing argumentative essays, the TREE strategy is added to help students organize their notes. [[|Sample TREE Graphic Organizer]] --Topic sentence - Say what you believe. --Reasons - Give three reasons to support your opinion. --Explain reasons - Say more about each reason. --Ending - Restate your belief.
Physical Gestures: Fist to Five and Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down
Fist to Five is a simple cognitive routine that helps students monitor their own learning. Teachers can use Fist to Five after a lesson (e.g., poetry, fractions) or specific skill that has been taught explicitly (e.g., close reading, mental math). In this routine, students hold up a finger that corresponds to a self-assessment of their own learning: --1: I don't understand the content at all --2: I need to go over this again --3: I think I get it but am not that comfortable --4: I get it --5: I can explain it to someone else For younger students, teachers can use a simpler version of Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down: --Thumbs Up: I get it --Thumbs Sideways: I need more practice --Thumbs Down: I don't understand For another example of physical hand gestures, click this [[|Number Talks]]

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