Visible Thinking

Designing for Metacognition: #SXMetacog

Session Essential Questions

1. How can instructional leaders encourage high levels of metacognitive response in activities and projects?
2. How can questioning serve as formative assessment and feedback to advance learning processes?
3. What is the role of organizational culture in developing learners who become responsible for their own thinking and personal development?

Visual Synetics

Activity: Visual Synetics

  • Complete the sentence... The experience at SXSWEdu is like _________ because_________.
  • Tweet your sentence to #sxmetacog
  • Follow the chat here

Research Framework


Thinking Routines & Project Zero

Quality Questioning

*Think Puzzle Explore

*Setting the Stage for Deeper Inquiry

  • What do you think you know about this topic?
  • What questions or puzzles do you have?
  • How can you explore this topic?

Activity: *Think Puzzle Explore Research Reflection

  • Connect with someone around you that you do not know and discuss the effect of this research on the work that you do.
  • What do you think you know about the research?
  • What still puzzles you about these research frameworks and ideas?
  • How could you explore the things that still puzzle you?

*I used to think... but now I think

*A routine for reflecting on how and why our thinking has changed

  • Go here
  • Double click on the Padlet to respond
  • Complete the sentences: I used to think...needed to occur to create innovation in education...Now I think....needs to occur to create innovation in education.


*Capturing Essence

  • If you were to write a headline for what you have learned at #sxswedu right now that captured the most important aspect that should be remembered, what would that headline be? Tweet to #sxmetacog

  • How has your headline changed based on today's discussion? How does it differ from what you would have said yesterday? #sxmetacog


*What makes you say that?

Activity: What do you want your students to be like? *What makes you say that?

  • Think about what you want your students to be like-- include any thoughts, adjectives, examples, anecdotes or other things that come to mind.
  • Use Twitter #sxmetacog to post your thoughts
  • If you are a parent, it may also be helpful to frame the question as: What do I want my children to be like?
  • Read your peers thoughts in the backchannel- think about which stood out to you and why? Discuss with those around you while we are waiting for others to finish their thoughts.

So what can we do?

Cultural Forces

Activity: Culture of Thinking

  • Select one of the 8 cultural forces that stands out to you
  • Work with a partner or group on the culture of thinking area you are most interested in exploring.
  • How can make changes within this cultural force area to support a culture of thinking? What challenges might we face along the way?
  • Use Touchcast or an app or web app of your choice to make your thinking visible

Extension: Authentic Audience

  • Ready to publish? Share your Touchcast video link via Twitter to the #sxmetacog

Activity: Final Action Steps

  • In order to move innovation in education forward I am going to or I will....
  • Discuss with the folks in this room-- can you find someone who can help you accomplish this goal?
  • Take a selfie with that person who will help you accomplish your goal! Tweet your action step to #sxmetacog


The *resources including the Visible Thinking Routines and their descriptions were compiled from the Visible Thinking website with some modifications and additions. More information can be found at

Tracy Clark M.S.

I want to make an impact on education! Would love to connect and discuss how we can be an active part of the change we want to see!