Strategy: 3-2-1

What is it?

The idea is to give students a chance to summarize some key ideas, rethink them in order to focus on those that they are most intrigued by, and then pose a question that can reveal where their understanding is still uncertain. Often, teachers use this strategy in place of the usual worksheet questions on a chapter reading, and when students come to class the next day, you're able to use their responses to construct an organized outline, to plot on a Venn diagram, to identify sequence, or isolate cause-and-effect. The students are into it because the discussion is based on the ideas that they found, that they addressed, that they brought to class.

How to use

1. Three

After the lesson, have each student record three things he or she learned from the lesson.

2. Two

Next, have students record two things that they found interesting and that they’d like to learn more about.

3. One

Then, have students record one question they still have about the material.

4. Review

Finally, the most important step is to review the students’ responses. You can use this information to help develop future lessons and determine if some of the material needs to be taught again.


Compare and Contrast 3-2-1

As a way to compare and contrast, have students record three similarities between two items, two differences, and one question they still have about them.

Reading 3-2-1

When reading, have students record three of the most important ideas from the text, two supporting details for each of the ideas, and one question they have about each of the ideas.

Pyramid 3-2-1

Have the students create a triangle and divide it into three sections horizontally. In the bottom section, the students record three things they learned for the day. In the middle section, the students record two questions they have. In the top section, the students describe how the information learned is applicable to their everyday lives.

Academic Vocabulary 3-2-1

To increase comprehension and use of academic language, ask students to explore a concept through 3-2-1. First, have them speak with a partner. Provide the structure for 3 minutes of conversation using targeted academic language. Then, ask students to write 2 sentences using the language. Finally, have students read 1 paragraph which contains the targeted vocabulary.

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Technology Spin

You could have students post their 3-2-1 to a Padlet wall or you could have them create a 3-2-1 Google Doc to work on collaboratively with a group.

You could even use the discussion board feature in BB Learn.