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HISTORY: IMPROVING LITERACY and CREATING A CULTURE OF
THINKING IN OUR HISTORY CLASSROOMS
What does literacy and visible
thinking mean to you?
Cultures of Thinking;
Visible thinking in action
• Helps students to gain a deeper
understanding of content.
• Students have a greater motivation
for learning
• Helps to develop the learners'
thinking and learning abilities.
• Helps to develop learners' attitudes
toward thinking and learning and
their alertness to opportunities for
thinking and learning
• Helps to create a community of
enthusiastically engaged thinkers
and learners.
Literacy
Elements
Vocab Schmocab!
Students with large vocabularies
understand text better and score higher
on achievement tests than students
with small vocabularies
Stahl &Fairbanks, 1986
1. Securing the scene
Thinking routines and literacy strategies for lesson or unit starters.
Chalk talks
3-2-1 Bridge
Visual Glossaries with
When?
Great at the beginning of a
unit, especially for holiday
homework.
Why?
Students are creating word
banks that are subject
specific to assist in future
readings.
Students are exposed to the
content of the unit when
researching their definitions.
Word Splash
The word splash activity supports students’ reading by helping to provide
purpose.
Word Splash
example from AoS2 The Great Depression
Listed below are some of the words that feature in the following PowerPoint presentation. Do
you know what these words mean? Write down any words you are unsure of, and find out their
meaning. Write this ‘new’ word in a sentence to help you with your understanding.
Wall Displays
Creative classroom displays can capture
students' attention and stimulate learning.
3-2-1 Bridge
Your initial (first) responses
to the topic
thinking routine
Your new responses to the
topic
3Thoughts about the topic
3 Thoughts about the topic
I think that….
I now think that…
2 Questions you have about the
2 Questions you have about the
topic
How/what/when/who/why/where
topic
How/what/when/who/why/where
1 Analogy you can make about the
1 Analogy you can make about the
topic
topic
2. Walk through
CSI- Colour Symbol Image
thinking routine
Reading Strategy- Coding Text
Top Secret- reading
CSI- Thinking Routine
What?
A C S I is a non-verbal thinking
routine that can be used to see student’s
thoughts and informally assess student
understanding. Great for use with EAL students
or low level students.
When?
This activity is great for use after watching
a film or documentary, after a museum
visit, after reading or at the end of a unit.
It can also be used to get to know your
students
It can be used to better understand key
historical figures.
Coding Text
Tired of students reading without purpose?
Do you want students to be active thinkers as they read?
Do you want students to react to what they are reading?
Would you like to see student’s thinking as they read?
Then these strategies are for you!
Reading Strategy
for
Cold War Case Studies
Task:
Read the sheet provided using the reading
strategy called; ‘Coding the Text’.
What you will need:
2 post it notes, cut into 4 pieces,
each with a sticky on the end.
Coding the Text- Coding Key
Very important information, key
concepts.
Information you find confusing
or does not make sense?
Wow or AHA, things you find interesting,
hard to believe, or was unexpected.
As you read
Use your post-it-note markers to mark sections of the text that you find to
be:
Key concepts or information (V.I.P.)
Information you are confused about or that does not make sense (?
Information you find interesting, hard to believe, or was
unexpected
You may find that you need to move your makers as you read new
information. Your goal is to use all 8 markers.
When you finish reading…
Go back to each marker and place the appropriate symbol on
each marker:
THEN do the following;
For every V.I.P summarise the information in your own
words.
For every (?) write a question to express what confuses you
or does not make sense.
For every (!) summarise what/why you found that point
interesting…
Use the VIP chart provided to record your information
reading activity

Students get in to groups and wait for their TOP SECRET instructions.

Each group will receive an envelope with a Cold War case study reading inside. They must
complete the reading in the allocated time allowed (1xperiod) using the ‘coding the text’ reading
strategy mentioned earlier.

To successfully complete each stage of the mission, each team must submit a completed VIP
organiser. In return they receive either a 1,2 or 3 point card (the point card received is determined
by the effort put in and the amount of harassment needed from the teacher to submit the work)

This is to be repeated over the course of the week so that each team has completed 5 missions ( 5
lesson activity)

The team with the most points at the end of the week is deemed ‘The Elite’ and their profiles are
to be displayed on the ‘spy wall’.
3. Bag and Tag
Thinking routines and literacy strategies for ending the lesson.
Exit Slips
What?
Used to get the students to summing
up and capturing the essence of a
concept, idea or topic.
How?
The routine asks one core question:
If you were to write a headline for this
topic or issue right now that captured
the most important aspect that should
be remembered, what would that
headline be?
in Use
Watch the following
clip, then complete
the exit slip provided.
Thank you for taking part in this workshop.
If you would like information on any other thinking
routines or literacy strategies, please email:
[email protected]
Acknowledgements
Visible Thinking Routines
http://pzweb.harvard.edu/vt/VisibleThinking_html_files/03_ThinkingRo
utines/03a_ThinkingRoutines.html
Vocabulary quotes
http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/GeneralCapabilities/Liter
acy/Introduction/Introduction
Literacy Worksheets
Handouts, courtesy of R Cooney, Literacy Coordinator at GWSC.
YouTube Clip
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=518XP8prwZo

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