See, Think, Wonder for "Tuning In" to a Unit about Homes!

"Tuning In" is a term that many teachers who follow the Daily 5 and Literacy CAFE know; it's a strategy that the Two Sisters recommend for "Expanding Vocabulary", but what does it mean as it relates to a unit of inquiry? "Tuning In" is the beginning stage for a unit and it serves a number of important purposes, but most of all it gets students thinking about the topic. Today I'm sharing how I used the visible thinking strategy, "See, Think, Wonder", as a way to help students activate their background knowledge about homes around the world and people's connections to their homes.

I used the following video to pique students' interests. In order to really get them thinking, I turned the volume off and explained that they would watch it twice- once to just to "see" it, and the second time to really think and form questions about what they'd seen. I gave them color-coded sticky notes on which to record their responses: purple for "see", blue for "think" and orange for "wonder".





After the first viewing students went to their tables and wrote only about what they saw. They they posted their notes on the large "I See..." chart. We did not discuss anything at this point- it was still quiet thinking time.

A couple of students' observations.

Students watching the movie a second time.

After the second viewing students recorded both what the movie made them think and what it made them wonder or have questions about. Again, they added their notes to the large charts displayed around the big screen.



Students posting their thinking on the charts.


Next, we took about ten minutes to discuss their thoughts and wonderings. Many students easily recognized that the people featured in the movie were "poor" in the worldly sense, however, what I was really impressed with was that a number of students were also able to infer that these same people were still happy. The students were getting right to the main concepts of our upcoming unit - that all people need a place where they feel comfortable and safe, and to be with their family- a sense of belonging and identity. I think that this thinking strategy was a really effective way to get students to think about "homes around the world" in a much deeper way than if we had filled out a KWL chart.

We also talked about the quality of their thoughts and questions- for example, if a student wrote, "I wonder if they are poor", we discussed that there was a lot of evidence in the movie to conclude that they were economically poor, so therefore, that would not be a thoughtful wondering. I think it's important to address comments that just seem to fill the post-it and offer little else- it pushes kids to explain their thinking and communicates an expectation of effort and accountability.

Finally, we watched the movie for a third time with the volume ON. Much if the students' thoughts were confirmed and some new light was shed. Because they had seen it twice before, the new information that they heard really stood out and registered with them. Once it was over, I asked them if the liked the movie and the "game" (I call it a thinking game) and the answer was a resounding "yes!" The whole lesson form beginning to end took a good 40 minutes, but there was lots of movement and some discussion built in so it kept them engaged. Children are naturally curious and this exercise allowed them to dig a little deeper.

Have you ever tried "See, Think, Wonder"? I'd love to hear about how you have used this visible thinking strategy in your class.

Thanks for stopping by!
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1 comment

  1. Great post, fantastic tuning in activity! Will definitely try and adapt this and use it for my next unit. I find your PYP posts especially helpful. Would love to see how you encourage conceptual learning! Thank you!

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