3 Visible Thinking Routines to Support Research Skills in your Classroom

Looking for ways to support research skill development in the classroom that are easy to implement? Take a look a the 3 we’ve picked out below!

Visible Thinking Routines are great ways to document and share the thinking that goes on during learning. By making the thinking visible we’re better able to model, check for understanding and support growth for all our students. When looking at building research skills we’re specifically looking for routines that support lots of asking questions.

  1. See-Think-Wonder

Probably the most well known of all the visible thinking routines See-Think-Wonder uses an image, an object, data, etc. as the focal point. What we love about this routine is the clear scaffold of thinking to move from what you can see, to how you interpret what you see, and what questions that helps you generate. Its also one that transfers so well between topics/subjects that students can really get used to it and develop strategies to push their thinking deeper.

2. G-S-C-E

Less well known, maybe due to the acronym not being too catchy, is: Generate, Sort, Connect, Elaborate. This routine asks learners to generate a mind map of questions, facts, etc around a topic. Next they sort these into concepts, like groups or categories before seeking connections between pieces of information or questions. Finally, whilst researching the group or individual can go back an elaborate on each question/idea – building knowledge as they go. Whilst the acronym takes a while to get used to this is great for helping students build their information literacy skills.

3. I used to think, now I think

This routine is most commonly used for beginning and end of unit responses to highlight changes in understanding. It makes it a great routine for research skills because the emphasis is firmly on how far we’ve come in our understanding. A great addition to this is to ask students to add in what made them change their thinking!

Once you’ve tried these routines out there are always new ways to develop your practice. A couple of great reads include:

John Hattie – 10 Mindframes for Visible Learning

10 Mindframes for Visible Learning: Teaching for Success

John Hattie – Visible Learning

Visible Learning for Teachers

Ron Ritchart – Making Thinking Visible

Making Thinking Visible: How to Promote Engagement, Understanding, and Independence for All Learners

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