Today was their first Visible Thinking Routine. We will be doing these all year long, so this exercise is the introduction. This first one was done on a separate sheet of paper, not in their journals. All future See/Think/Wonder exercises will be written in their class journals.
– After writing a proper MLA heading, students are instructed to number straight down, 1-10. Once they have done that, they were to look carefully around the room and list TEN things they SEE in the classroom that makes them wonder about English 9.
– Once each student had written down ten things individually, they turned to a neighbor and shared their lists. If they happen to mention something that both have listed in common, they are to put a checkmark next to that item. These are usually the more obvious details that simply stand out.
– After they shared, they returned to their own desks and write down three things they THINK about English 9 based on what they SEE (these had to be in complete sentences). They then were to write three things they WONDER about English 9 based on what they SEE (this is all about observation of details).
– While students are writing their thinks and wonders, I gave each student one colored Post-It note, but made sure to alternate colors evenly (I used three colors: yellow for SEE, pink for THINK, and blue for WONDER in one class, then mixed them up for another).
- For those with a yellow Post-It, they choose the most significant thing they SEE in the room from their list—just not one of the check-marked things. I want them to try to point out something that others might not have noticed.
- For those with pink Post-Its, I want them to write down the most significant thing they think about English 9 based on what they see. It has to be based on evidence, not from what others have told them.
- For those with blue Post-Its, I want them to write down the most significant thing they wonder about English 9 based on their observations.
– When each student had filled out his/her Post-It, each held them in the air so that I could see that everyone was ready to go on (I tell them that I need to see a sea of Skittles so that we can get started). I then had everyone with a yellow Post-It stand up next to their desk, and each in turn shared what he/she saw in the classroom. They came to the board and stuck their Post-It under “SEE”. After all the yellow post-its had gone, we moved on to pink and repeated the process with what they think; then blue. This way, ALL students are required to share something. We get 100% participation with these exercises.
– After all shared, the students had to consider what they have heard as well as revisiting their own observations from their list. They then were asked to compose a paragraph about what they anticipate their English 9 experience might be like BASED ONLY ON THEIR OBSERVATIONS OF THE ROOM. Anything they had to say about the upcoming course had to be based solely on their observations and not on what they may or may not have heard from former students.
“Chunk” Paragraph Structure Using “See/Think/Wonder” Routines
Begin with the Visible Thinking:
– What you SEE: (concrete details: CD) Choose specific details that will support the topic.
– What you THINK and WONDER: (commentary: CM) These are your thoughts and questions about the topic.
You may write your See/Think/Wonder sentences using first person…
Turning Visible Thinking Exercises into “Chunk” paragraphs:
– Topic Sentence: (TS) What is the focus of this paragraph?
– CHUNKS: the ratio is 1 concrete detail (CD): 2 comments (CM). A “chunk” is one sentence that contains a significant concrete detail followed by two sentences of commentary that further explain how the detail supports the topic; “chunks” have three sentences each. All sentences must support the TS. For help with staying focused on the topic, you may look back at your observations from the Visible Thinking Exercise (what you SEE). Those are concrete details (CDs). To finish the “chunk”, you may turn to your sentences that you wrote about what you THINK or WONDER about the topic. These are commentary (CMs).
– When turning Visible Thinking Exercises into paragraphs, you must remember to REMOVE all first person (“I see”, “I think”, “I wonder”) in any sentences. I do not need to see the words I SEE, I THINK, or I WONDER in your paragraphs. I know you see/think/wonder these things because your NAME is on the paper!
– Concluding Sentence: (CS) End the paragraph with a final thought about the topic.
Paragraphs, then, will follow this formula:
– TS, CD, CM, CM, CS (for a ONE CHUNK paragraph);
– TS, CD, CM, CM, CD, CM, CM, CS (for a TWO CHUNK paragraph);
– TS, CD, CM, CM, CD, CM, CM, CD, CM, CM, CS (for a THREE CHUNK paragraph).