Strategies for developing successful thinking students

Whilst raiding the teacher reference section at school I came across a great book called ‘Thinking Strategies for Student Achievement: Improving learning across the curriculum, K-12‘ that outlines 30 strategies for enhancing the level, purpose and experience students have with thinking.  I have a keen interest in metacognition and assisting students to become more aware of their thinking processes, as indicated in other blog posts, however, the problem is what strategies to use.  So when I came across this book I was hopeful that it would equip me with the tools for implementing appropriate strategies with my own students to facilitate increased reflection.

Here are some of the strategies that I already use and how I perceive it to be increasing my students’ thinking skills:

  • Graphic organisers – these are fantastic skills for breaking down a task, a text or a concept.  Breaking down and compartmentalising sections of these require students to demonstrate critical thinking in categorising the elements into each section of the graphic organiser.
  • Jigsaw – a jigsaw activity is when students are numbered and then they discuss a question, concept or critically reflect on something and discuss with starting group and then break off into groups that are all the same numbers.  Within this new group the information is shared on what their original groups discussed and so each student collects a new understanding and new perspective that they will then take back to their original group.  This kind of activity requires a lot of thought and processing of thoughts expressed by various other students in discussions.
  • KWL chart – a KWL chart is for students to reflect on their background knowledge under the ‘K’ for know.  After reflecting on their background knowledge, students need to reflect on the gaps that still exist in their knowledge of a particular topic that is being addressed in class.  The ‘W’ stands for want to know and then the ‘L’ represents the outcomes and new knowledge and skills gained that students can identify upon reflection at the end of a unit.

I thought forward to reading this book in its entirety as it seems like it will be a very practical tool for helping me develop ways of integrating more intentional opportunities for reflection into lessons at school.


Nessel, D. D., & Graham, J. M. (2006). Thinking strategies for student achievement: Improving learning across the curriculum, K-12. SAGE.


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