Organizing thoughts and discussion

Thinking Routine Toolbox

Project Zero's Thinking Routine Toolbox is a collection of strategies and sequences that "help make thinking visible." The developers write the following: "Thinking routines exist in all classrooms. They are the patterns by which teachers and students operate and go about the job of learning and working together in a classroom environment. A routine can be thought of as any procedure, process, or pattern of action that is used repeatedly to manage and facilitate the accomplishment of specific goals or tasks." However, these routines and patterns might not be familiar to all learners. Making them explicit helps to level the playing field. Start with the core thinking routines section where you will find PDFs to download. One example is I used to I think.

Copyrighted and CC BY-NC-ND. Strategies are available as PDFs.

Graphic organizer templates 1

Graphic organizers are a great tool for organizing thoughts before writing or discussion. Different ones can be used to categorize, organize, prioritize, compare, illustrate a relationship, etc. Also, Google Drawings can readily be embedded into Docs as part of the writing process. You're sure to find what you need with 30 free Google Drawings graphic organizers.

A recorded webinar and accompanying guide on using Google Drawings are also available.


Graphc organizer templates 2

Here is another set of 25 ready to use Google Drawings graphic organizers also created in Google Drawings.


Graphic organizer templates 3

Small Group Discussion Protocols.pdf

Discussion protocols

Small group discussion protocols  for online and in-person teaching is a useful collection of ideas that you can use to encourage more dynamic and meaningful discussions.

Copyrighted. Available as a PDF.

Illustration by Radio, appears on this page. 

Prompts to spark discussion and reflection from The New York Times 

168 Writing Prompts to Spark Discussion and Reflection are based on student opinion questions from the 2021-22 school year. Each question is based on a different New York Times article, interactive feature or video. A PDF table of contents allows you to quickly scan the topics. Each of the prompts also contains student reviewed and posted comments. These can also be a useful instructional resource. Look for models of strong posts, opposing and supporting opinions and new insights.

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Copy of 0: TEACHER HYPERDECK: Teaching Students How to Take Notes rev 3-14-19

Note-taking guide and activities

On the site Driving Digital Learning is a comprehensive section devoted to note-taking. You'll find a hyperdeck guide for educators along with slide presentations and templates that you can use with learners. We've shared the guide that contains links to all other materials.


Current events toolkit

The current events toolkit from Facing History and Ourselves contains numerous discussion strategies to support a focus on current events. A teaching guide is also available. You will have to create an account to access the resources.

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