Developing and Embedding Thinking Skills and Personal Capabilities
A thinking frame makes thinking visible using a graphic organiser. Like a writing frame, a thinking frame uses prompts to help pupils work through an activity. The prompts encourage pupils to record the sequence of their decisions and speculations. This creates a record of thinking that pupils can use to inform their decisions and scrutinise the process they are following.
Using a thinking frame as a graphic organiser introduces particular thinking words. It also highlights the mental moves involved in carrying out the relevant thinking approach for that activity.
The most important part of creating a thinking frame is breaking down the activity into stages. For example, in an activity in which you want pupils to consider how to solve a problem, the first stage might be to more precisely define the problem.
Then ask your pupils to fill in the stages as they work through the activity. This slows down their thinking, so that they start to reflect on what they are doing at each stage as they record their responses. You can then use this record to look back over the sequence pupils followed and discuss what happened at each stage.
To prepare a thinking frame for pupils to complete and use to reflect on their thinking, you need to set aside time to consider the thinking involved in the activity.
Taking this time will help you to give pupils the language they need to discuss their thinking. This is a way to lead them to deeper insight and understanding. Giving pupils time to think about their thinking encourages them to talk about their strategies and approaches to carrying out a task or activity.
You can find examples of thinking frames in the Downloads section. This section also contains the Making a Thinking Frame PDF, which gives advice and guidance on designing your own thinking frames.