Thinking Routines

When inquiring into a new theme mainly, we start by finding out what the students already know and then we builds our inquires on that.So that is why a thinking routine is always the best. We can start by putting the topic in a concept map and reflect on it either individually or all class to gather to get all what we know about that topic. And then we can let them gather in groups and do together the KWHL chart, which I am fond of (what I know, what I want to know, How do I know, what did I learned).

This thinking routine is really good for kids and by time they start doing it by themselves, and even if they are too young they will observe the teacher doing it with them and when they get older they will start doing it by themselves.

The KWHL chart is mainly suitable for various inquiries and make space for more wonders.



  • Time needed

It takes about 10 minutes for the concept map and 25-30 minutes for the KWHL.

  • Pair/group work

Concept map either individually or whole class

KWHL chart is group work

  • Materials needed

Markers and one construction paper for the concept map.

Depend on the group number we get construction paper/each.

  • Instructions/steps for the KWHL

1-before the students start doing the KWHL chart, the class setting should have been rich with resources that supported that topic in order to provoke the students to ask questions.

2-either the students would fill the “what I know about that topic “, “what I want to know about it ” and “how will I know the answers” part all together.

3- And then at the end of the unit they fill “What I learned about” part.

Or we take a step each time they fill only the I know part and days later after provocations they fill the I want to know part ,…etc.