Purpose: What kind of thinking does this
This routine helps students describe what they see or know and asks
them to build explanations. It promotes evidential reasoning (evidence-based
reasoning) and because it invites students to share their interpretations,
it encourages students to understand alternatives and multiple perspectives.
Application: When and where can I use
This is a thinking routine that asks students to describe something,
such as an object or concept, and then support their interpretation
with evidence. Because the basic questions in this routine are flexible,
it is useful when looking at objects such as works of art or historical
artifacts, but it can also be used to explore a poem, make scientific
observations and hypothesis, or investigate more conceptual ideas
(i.e., democracy). The routine can be adapted for use with almost
any subject and may also be useful for gathering information on
students' general concepts when introducing a new topic.
Launch: What are some tips for starting
and using this routine?
In most cases, the routine takes the shape of a whole class or group
conversation around an object or topic, but can also be used in
small groups or by individuals. When first introducing the routine,
the teacher may scaffold students by continually asking the follow-up
questions after a student gives an interpretation. Over time students
may begin to automatically support their interpretations with evidence
with out even being asked, and eventually students will begin to
internalize the routine.
The two core questions for this routine can be
varied in a number of ways depending on the context: What do you
know? What do you see or know that makes you say that? Sometimes
you may want to preceded students' interpretation by using
a question of description: What do you see? or What do you know?
When using this routine in a group conversation
it may be necessary to think of alternative forms of documentation
that do not interfere with the flow of the discussion. One option
is to record class discussions using video or audio. Listening and
noting students' use of language of thinking can help you
see their development. Students words and language can serve as
a form of documentation that helps create a rubric for what makes
a good interpretation or for what constitutes good reasoning.
Another option is to make a chart or keep an ongoing
list of explanations posted in the classroom. As interpretations
develop, note changes and have further discussion about these new
explanations. These lists can also invite further inquiry and searches
for evidence. Other options for both group and individual work include
students documenting their own interpretations through sketches,
drawings, models and writing, all of which can be displayed and
revisited in the classroom.