Making Meaning- A Thinking Routine for constructing collective meaning of words, ideas, concepts or events

Jam Lesson 8

 Making Meaning Thinking Routine making meaning pic

Age group: senior students – year 12

Students prepare for the IB Diploma certificate



As part of the IB Diploma my students in year 12 prepare the English B subject which has five themes.

One of these themes is IDENTITY

So we worked on this theme for about four weeks in which we discussed what identity meant to them, we watched some videos related to this theme, we researched and curated some articles which dealt with the subject. So by the end of the four weeks, we were ready to wrap up this theme. I did not want to give them a summative or regular test so I decided to try this new Thinking Routine from the book by Ron Ritchhart and Mark Church (The Power of Making Thinking Visible: Practices to Engage and Empower All Learners 1st edition- and use it as a formative assessment.

So the routine goes like this:

Decide on the topic you want your students to reflect on

We chose: Identity

Then I divided them into two breakout rooms so that they would all have the chance to share their ideas. If done with very large groups you run the risk of not listening to all their voices.

Each of the students shares ONE word they connect to the chosen topic

Then each of them expands on any of the words they have all chosen. You might have students choose to expand on all words or only on some. It is OK

Then they were asked to connect those words (expanded or not) and they explained their connections.

After that, they formulated new questions they now had after working for this long on this theme.

Final step: They all write their own definition of the term: IDENTITY. This was done in the main session.

In the pdf, you will have this routine expanded for you to see what my students came up with.

As a follow-up (not shown in this jam) we reflected on the new questions they had and we revised their own definitions. All in all, it was a great way to assess their understanding.

A word of caution: this routine works best when done with a topic the students have some knowledge on or have been working on for some time before attempting to work on all of these connections.

Hope you enjoy it. Feel free to contact me if you have further questions.

Jam Lessons January 3rd



María Barberis
María Barberis

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