Writing Activity: Research, Summary, Paraphrase

Using art to gather information, summarize, paraphrase, and recall information

Harvard University Project Zero investigates the nature of intelligence, understanding, thinking, creativity, and other topics including visible thinking. Visible thinking routines help teachers and students reflect on their learning.  The following activity was created by UMMA docent Sherri Masson, who has adapted their "See, Think, Wonder" routine to work with art and writing. For other valuable tools and lessons, please visit the Visible Thinking website. 

Engagement Strategies: When we research something new, we may struggle with the reading. What do you do when you have to read something in science or social studies that is new to you? 

Questions / Activities:

Let’s look at this piece without judgment or any attempt to analyze it. What do you see? Make a list (thick paint in the corner, a blue line running down the middle, etc.)

Go back now. Think about what you’ve seen and record the thoughts that come into your head about what you’ve noticed. What questions do you have? What do you wonder? How do you feel?

Looking, thinking and eventually writing for understanding, involves being able to go back and forth between noticing/recording and making meaning of what we see. 

Possible Props / Activities: “I See/ I Think / I Wonder” worksheet 

After listing 2-3 items and writing a thought in the right column for each, have students share with a partner. As they share out their thinking, teach into their work with information about the painting/artist. 


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Last Updated

May 18, 2017 1:54 p.m.


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