Develop Important Student Thinking Skills with the Thinking Routine Toolbox

 How do you infuse critical thinking and decision-making into your classroom? Critical thinking is an important part of the learning process and developing important cognition skills; however, if you are like me, you tend to run out of strategies that students can use to model the thinking process. 

I recently came across Project Zero's Thinking Routine Toolbox, which is filled with scaffolded thinking routines aimed at developing thinking skills within students. Interested in trying a routine out? Project Zero's website contains ten categories, such as core thinking routines, possibilities and analogies, introducing and exploring new ideas, and more. 

For example, I often introduce new ideas and concepts to students. Don't get me wrong, the KWL charts that I often use are great; however, there are times when I want to try something out of the ordinary! I recently came across a thinking routine called Compass Points.

Students are asked four questions corresponding to the points on a compass (N, S, E, W).

  • What excites you? 
  • What worries you?
  • What do you need to know?
  • What is a stance or suggestion for moving forward?

This is a great protocol for student reflection, discussion, or both. 

In conclusion, whether you are a techie or non-techie person, Project Zero's thinking routines can help stimulate discussion, develop critical thinking skills, and increase learner engagement. You can very easily adapt any of the following routines to many of the technologies that you are already using! 

Give it a try and let me know what you think! 

Matt Bergman (2022)




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