It’s a thinking routine to help students think in a structured way. Thinking routine is used to integrate students’ development of thinking with content learning. This works really well with visual learners. 

Why try it?

To encourage students to make careful observations, stimulate curiosity, promote critical thinking skills. The goal of a thinking routine is double fold:

  • Cultivate students’ thinking skills thereby building creative mindset
  • Deepen content learning

When should we use it?

This can be used across all subject matters.

  • At the beginning of a unit/topic to motivate student interest and get the students hooked to the topic.
  • At the end of a unit/topic to leave them with some questions/ideas to explore further.


Students should be asked to make an observation about an object–it could be an artwork, image, artifact or topic. For example:


The students will answer the following questions:

  1. What do you see? (SEE)

Student response: They describe what they see in the picture.

Encourage students to back their observations with reasons.

  1. What do you think about that? (THINK)

Student response: They share what they can infer.

  1. What does it make you wonder?  (WONDER)

Student response: They will think and share on the following questions:

What information is missing?

 What do you like to know?

 What questions do you have?

 What ideas does this raise?)

Students can be encouraged to explore more on their ideas also to share ideas with one another.

This activity can be done with students individually, in groups or in pairs.They can either answer the questions verbally or document the by writing them down.

An example of how children can put down their thoughts.

The teacher can also provide some formats to the students which they can use to put down their thoughts. Here are 2 examples:see-think-wondersee_think_wonder_image

Here is an example of an effective use of See-Think-Wonder routine in a classroom of Reuther Middle School. For more examples click here.



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