Thinking Routines

PZ Thinking Routines from Sue Borchardt on Vimeo.

What are Thinking Routines?

“Routines exist in all classrooms; they are the patterns by which we 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. Classrooms have routines that serve to manage student behavior and interactions, to organizing the work of learning, and to establish rules for communication and discourse. Classrooms also have routines that structure the way students go about the process of learning. These learning routines can be simple structures, such as reading from a text and answering the questions at the end of the chapter, or they may be designed to promote students’ thinking, such as asking students what they know, what they want to know, and what they have learned as part of a unit of study” (visiblethinkingpz.org).

Why Do I Want To Use Thinking Routines?

Thinking routines form the core of the Visible Thinking program. What makes these routines work to promote the development of a student’s thinking and the classroom culture are that each routine:

  • Is goal oriented in that it targets specific types of thinking
  • Gets used over and over again in the classroom
  • Consists of only a few steps
  • Is easy to learn and teach
  • Is easy to support when students are engaged in the routine
  • Can be used across a variety of context
  • Can be used by the group or by the individual

How Can I Get Started Using Thinking Routines?

With the lesson objective in mind, consider the purpose that the thinking routine will serve.  There are four main categories from which to choose:

Core Routines

Fairness Routines

Truth Routines

Creativity Routines