Purpose: What kind of thinking
does this routine encourage?
To help students flesh out an idea or proposition and eventually
Application: When and Where can
it be used?
This routine works well to explore various sides and facets of a
proposition or idea prior to
taking a stand or expressing an opinion on it. For instance, the
school may be considering the idea of a dress code, a teacher might
present the class with idea of altering the room
arrangement, a character in a book might be confronted with making
a choice, a politician might be putting forth a new way of structuring
taxes, and so on.
Launch: What are some tips for starting
and using this routine?
The routine needs to be modeled with the whole group initially with
responses recorded for the entire class to see. This enables students
to build on each other’s ideas. You might record responses
using the directions of a compass to provide a visual anchor. That
is, draw a compass in the center of the board and then record responses
corresponding the appropriate direction: E, W, N, or S. It is generally
easiest for students to begin with what is exciting or positive
about the idea or proposition and then move to worrisome and need
to know. Students might be asked to write down their individual
stance or suggestion for moving forward after the initial group
You can also ask students to make an initial judgment
or evaluation of the idea or proposition before doing the compass
points and then ask them how their thinking has changed after discussion
using the compass points routine.