The Amazing Race

Digital Learning Edition: Race Leg 6

Seeing is Believing: Making Thinking Visible by Utilizing Technology Tools

The goal of making thinking visible in all learning environments is to promote engagement, understanding, and independent thinking for all students while they are exploring content. We can pair visual thinking strategies with digital tools to accomplish this task. Below you will discover ways that technology tools can help students gather information, organize and synthesize it, and apply it in ways that are meaningful.

In this leg of the journey, we will identify examples of Visible Thinking, learn why we use Visible Thinking Strategies and Routines in class activities, and discover ways we can immediately implement these resources in our lessons.


1. Watch the brief Making Thinking Visible video.

2. Watch the Overview video.

3. Choose a task option: Scenic Route or Express Pass.

4. Complete the activity explained in the task and upload to the task's corresponding padlet. You can access your padlet by scanning the one that goes with your chosen task option (see below).

5. Post summary statement on Twitter. (Just explain how the tool you used coupled with a Thinking Routine increases student engagement and improves content retention.)

Making Thinking Visible

Race Leg 6 Overview Video


Scenic Route (beginner):

Choose 1 tool from the Thinking Tools Table (below). Watch the tutorial video on how to use the tool (if provided - some tools are self-explanatory) . Then, integrate the tool and its corresponding thinking routine into a lesson that you are currently working on with students or plan to do with students. Add a description of the activity and an image representing the activity to the Scenic Padlet link below (see QR code). The image could be a picture you took of the class working (no student faces, please), a screenshot of the activity, or a graphic organizer used. There is a sample entry on the padlet labeled sample response. Make an appointment with your Digital Learning Specialist to assist you if needed.

Express Pass (intermediate):

Choose a digital tool from the FBISD-approved Web Tools or iPad App List (located on Digital Learning Dept. Digital Resources web page), pair it with a Thinking Routine (either one listed on this smore or another from the Ritchhart resources, and integrate these into a lesson you are currently working on or plan to do with students. Upload a brief video or audio file to the Express Padlet which explains the tools used and how the exercise was/will be beneficial to student learning and engagement.

Scenic Route Video

Leg 6 Scenic Route

Express Pass Video

Leg 6 Express Pass

Helpful Resources

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Making Thinking Visible Video Notes: Thinking Routines

According to Ron Ritchhart, Principal Investigator for the Cultures of Thinking Project and Senior Research Associate of Project Zero, we can use classroom routines to aid students in mastering content. " A routine can be thought of as any procedure, process, or pattern of action that is used repeatedly to manage and facilitate the accomplishment of specific goals or tasks."

Here are some other Thinking Routines. What tech tools come to mind as you think about each routine?

See-Think-Wonder This routine helps stimulate curiosity and sets the stage for inquiry. Students begin to form opinions about a thing.

Ask students to make observations about an object, image, or event, answering these three questions:

● What do you see?

● What do you think about that?

● What does it make you wonder?

Compass Points This routine helps students explore various facets of a proposition or idea (such as a school dress code) before taking a stand on it.

Ask students these four questions, recording their responses as the directions of a compass to provide a visual anchor.

● E = Excited. What excites you about this idea or proposition?

● W = Worrisome. What do you find worrisome about this idea?

● N = Need to Know. What else do you need to know or find out about it? What additional information would help you?

● S = Stance, Steps, or Suggestions for Moving Forward. What is your current stance on the idea or proposition? What steps might you take to increase your understanding of the issue?

The Explanation Game This is a routine for understanding why something is the way it is.

Teacher models: "I notice that..." and "I wonder why it is this way."

Students explain: "That's because..." or another stem to answer the teacher. Accept all responses.

Teacher elicits critical thinking: "What makes you think so?"

Students justify answers.

Headlines This routine uses summary statements (like newspaper headlines) to capture the essence of an event, idea, concept, or topic. It works especially well at the end of a class discussion in which students have explored a topic and gathered new information and opinions.

Ask students, "If you were to write a headline for this topic or issue right now that captured the most important aspect to remember, what would that headline be?"

Connect-Extend-Challenge This routine helps students make connections.

- Use after students learn anything new.

- Ask students these three questions:

● How are the ideas and information presented connected to what you know and have studied?

● What new ideas extended or pushed your thinking in new directions?

● What is still challenging or confusing for you? What questions, wonderings, or puzzles do you have?

Color, Symbol, Image

As you are reading/listening/watching, make note of things that you find interesting, important, or insightful. When you finish, choose 3 of these items that most stand out for you.

  • For one of these, choose a color that you feel best represents or captures the essence of that idea.
  • For another one, choose a symbol that you feel best represents or captures the essence of that idea.
  • For the other one, choose an image that you feel best represents or captures the essence of that idea.

Generate, Sort, Connect, Elaborate

Select a topic, concept, or issue for which you want to map your understanding.

  • Generate a list of ideas and thoughts that come to mind when you think about a particular topic/issue.
  • Sort your ideas according to how closely related they are to the topic. Place central ideas near the center and more tangential ideas toward the outside of the page.
  • Connect your ideas by drawing connecting lines between ideas that have something in common. Explain how the ideas are connected in sentences .
  • Elaborate on any of the ideas/thoughts you have written so far by adding new ideas that expand, extend, or add to your initial ideas.

Continue generating, connecting, and elaborating new ideas until you feel you have a good representation of your understanding.

Watch this brief video to see how to access the FBISD Digital Resources:

FBISD Digital Resources

Week 6 Host

Michele Lyles, Digital Learning Specialist

Feel free to email or call me if you hit a roadblock or speed bump this week.