Skip to Content

Found 2 Resources

What Makes You Say That?: Project Zero Visible Thinking Routine

Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access
A "Visible Thinking" routine for interpretation with justification from Project Zero. 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. Asks the questions, "What's going on?" and "What do you see that makes you say that?" WHAT MAKES YOU SAY THAT?

Interpretation with justification routine

1. What's going on?

2. What do you see that makes you say that?

Purpose: What kind of thinking does this routine encourage?

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 it be used?

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."

Layers: Project Zero Visible Thinking Routine

Smithsonian Center for Learning and Digital Access
A "Visible Thinking" routine for structuring analysis of creative works from Project Zero. This routine provides learners with a structure for looking analytically at creative works through a variety of different frameworks. Frameworks include: narrative, aesthetic, mechanical, dynamic, and connections.

LAYERS

A? routine for structuring? analysis of? creative works?.

Each Layer Consists of 4 Possible Elements to Seek Out and Identify in the Work

NARRATIVE The story, the back or pre story, the other or hidden story, the message

AESTHETIC The appeal (what pulls you in?), the reward or take away, the skill/mastery of the artist on display, the new/different/unusual

MECHANICAL Technique, Form/structure, Methods, Symbolism

DYNAMIC Surprise, Tension, Emotion and Movement

CONNECTIONS To other works (in and out of the medium/genre), to history, to oneself, to the artist's other works or personal life.

Purpose: What kind of thinking does this routine encourage?

The routine provides learners with a structure for looking analytically at creative works through a variety of different frameworks.

Application: When and Where can it be used?

There are many layers through which one can approach or look at any creative work (literature, dance, painting, etc.). Some layers may be more appropriate than others given the work being examined. Part of analysis involves selecting appropriate frames or layers to use in one's analysis. Selecting interesting and unexpected layers can help one understand the work better. Sometimes this means rejecting the obvious layer and starting with one of the other layers.

Launch: What are some tips for starting and using this routine?

After looking closely at a creative work to fully notice what is there, students select a "layer" from the list to use in their analysis. This analysis can be done individually, with a partner, or whole group. Initially you may want to introduce one layer at a time with the whole class so that students have some collective experience using the layers. Initially the analysis should be done verbally so that students hear and can build on other's ideas and contributions. Other possible ways of using the layers are:

1) To identify prominent and hidden qualities: In this work, what layer immediately speaks to you? What makes you say that? Which layers seem more distant? What makes you say that?

2) To compare and contrast: Use the layers to contrast 2 works to see how they relate to one another. Looking at 2 works, where do you see connections as well as differences in terms of the layers?

3) As a sieve: Pick one element from each of the layers through which to explore the work.

4) As a source of questions: Use the layers and their elements to identify questions you want to ask an expert about the work of art.