Support Online Learning with Powerful Thinking Routines

Project Zero at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education has created a collection of Core Thinking Routines as part of their Visible Thinking Project. Teachers can view the entire collection on the Project Zero website, where each routine is described in detail (e.g., purpose, application, launch) in both English and Spanish.

These routines encourage students to be intentional thinkers.

  • What do they know or notice?
  • What is their perspective or position on an issue or idea?
  • How can they support their position or thinking?
  • What do they wonder? What are they confused about?
  • How has their thinking changed? What caused that change?

These thinking routines can be modified and adjusted for different age levels and subject areas, making them extremely versatile. As teachers read the descriptions of each routine provided on the Project Zero website, it is clear that these routines would work well to engage students in dynamic face-to-face activities and discussions. Given that many teachers are working with students online, at least part-time, I created the Google Slide decks below for teachers to copy and use in an online learning scenario. Each slide deck focuses on a specific thinking routine and is designed to engage the entire class. That way, students can learn with and from each other.

Thinking Routine #1: See, Think, Wonder

Thinking Routine #2–Claim, Evidence, Question

Thinking Routine #3–I Used to Think…Now I Think

Thinking Routine #4–Connect, Extend, Challenge

Thinking Routine #5–Compass Points

Important notes:

  1. The title of each thinking routine is linked to a detailed PDF created by Project Zero describing the routine and how teachers can use it.
  2. The image of each Google slide deck is hyperlinked to a sharable version. In order to make a copy, you need to be signed in to your Google account so that the copy has a place to save. When you click on the slide deck you want to use, you’ll be prompted to “make a copy.” Once you have your copy, you can edit and modify it.
  3. The structure of each slide deck (e.g., tables, icons, instructions) is built into the master view of each slide so students cannot change it when working on their slides. To edit or modify the slide decks for your grade level and subject area, click “View” at the top of the slide deck. Then click “Master” to make changes on the back end of the slide deck.
  4. Since these slide decks are designed for the whole class, you will need to share the deck via Google Classroom, or your learning management system, so that anyone with access can edit the slide deck. You should have a conversation with your students ahead of time about only editing the slide deck with their name on it.

Teachers using these thinking routines with students can share their experiences using the hashtags associated with each. I’ve included the hashtag for each thinking routine on each of the Google slide decks. I would love for teachers using these routines with students in a blended learning or online learning scenario to share how they are using them. That way, we can crowdsource ideas to inspire other educators to try these valuable thinking routines! You can post a comment here sharing your specific lesson or you can post a note on Twitter with the hashtag for the thinking routine and tag me @Catlin_Tucker.

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18 Responses to Support Online Learning with Powerful Thinking Routines

  1. Ashley Yazarlou says:

    This is wonderful. Thank you, Catlin!

  2. Purva Sharma says:

    The questions are intriguing and requires thinking. Thanks for the routines, Catlin!

  3. This is wonderful. Thank you, Catlin!

  4. Belinda K says:

    Thank you so much for your generosity in sharing this resource.

  5. Molleen Dupree-Dominguez says:

    So good, as usual. I’m planning to use this with Ethics & Media students as we examine news sites. I will have students look at a site that does not align with their personal biases and walk through these thinking and wondering patterns. Thanks for this tool to help my students think deeply!

  6. Geeta Dalal says:

    These are so useful
    Thank you for sharing

  7. Maria Garcia says:

    Hi, I love the Google Slides with the activities. It is mention that you have them in Spanish but I do not find them. Thanks for these wonderful ideas and work.

    • Hi Maria,

      If you click on the title of each routine, it will take you to the Project Zero website where they have English and Spanish descriptions of each. The slide decks I created are only in English.

      Take care.

  8. Camellia says:

    Wow nice stuff thanks to Catlin, you provide interesting ideas! Gret work I really enjoy reading your online learning routine!

  9. Yolanda Calderon says:

    Wow great information Thank You

  10. Sabrina Smith says:

    I like these resources you have shared with us. I cant wait to learn more about them.

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