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Effective Metacognitive Strategies for the Classroom. Presented by Stacie VanLoenen svanloenen@pasadenaisd.org Traci Powell tpowell@pasadenaisd.org. “Two or Three Things I Know for Sure”.

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effective metacognitive strategies for the classroom

Effective Metacognitive Strategies for the Classroom

Presented by Stacie VanLoenen svanloenen@pasadenaisd.org

Traci Powell tpowell@pasadenaisd.org

two or three things i know for sure
“Two or Three Things I Know for Sure”

…”girl, there’s only two or three things I know for sure.” She put her head back, grinned, and made a small impatient noise. Her eyes glittered as bright as a sun reflecting off the scales of a cottonmouth’s back. She spat once and shrugged. “Only two or three things. That’s right,” she said. “Of course it’s never the same and I’m never as sure as I’d like to be.”

Dorothy Allison, from her memoir, Two or Three Things I Know for Sure

two or three things i know for sure3
“Two or Three Things I Know for Sure”
  • One thing I’m sure about when it comes to reading is…
  • What makes you certain?
  • What could change your mind?
two or three things i know for sure4
“Two or Three Things I Know for Sure”
  • One thing I once believed about reading was…
  • What made your certain?
  • What made you change your mind?
metacognitive strategies
Metacognitive Strategies
  • Monitoring for meaning-knowing when you know, knowing when you don’t know
  • Using and creating schema-making connections between the new and the known, building and activating background knowledge
  • Asking questions-generating questions before, during, and after reading that lead you deeper into the text
  • Determining importance-deciding what matters most, what is worth remembering
  • Inferring-combining background knowledge with information from the text to predict, conclude, make judgments, interpret
  • Using sensory and emotional images-creating mental images to deepen and stretch meaning
  • Synthesizing-creating an evolution of meaning by combining understanding with knowledge from other texts/sources
reading gradual release of responsibility
Reading Gradual Release of Responsibility








I Do

You Watch

I Do

You Help

You Do

I Help

You Do

I Watch

metacognitive tools
Metacognitive Tools


  • Mini-Lesson
  • Think Aloud
  • Shared Reading
  • Anchor Charts
  • Concrete Experiences
  • Characters
  • Props
  • Conferring
  • Student
  • Independent Reading
  • Shared Reading
  • Reader’s Response Journals
  • Sticky Notes
  • Graphic Organizers
  • Think-Pair-Share
  • Foldables
teacher tool think aloud
Teacher Tool: Think Aloud

“The think aloud gives the students the opportunity to see our thinking when we read, the connections we make, the questions we ask, our inferences, and our predictions.”

“It is through the read aloud that the teachers show students their thinking process when reading.”

Strategies That Work

Stephanie Harvey and Anne Goudvis

teacher tool mini lesson
Teacher Tool: Mini-Lesson

Explicit Teaching designed to help students work more productively during independent reading.


  • Teaching focuses on specific reading strategies and skills as well as the elements of literature.
  • Provides opportunities to participate and behave like a reader.
  • Creates a body of known texts that children can use for independent reading.
teacher tool mini lesson10
Teacher Tool: Mini-Lesson
  • Look for patterns in your conference records.
  • Observe students while they share or during discussion.
  • Attend to students’ written responses for evidence of their understanding.
  • Attend to reading behavior during Guided Reading lessons.
  • Student needs determine the immediate priorities of your teaching.
  • Utilize your TEKS as a resource.
teacher tool mini lesson11
Teacher Tool: Mini-Lesson
  • Introduce the concept with clear, concrete examples.
  • Provide opportunity for student interaction.
  • Immediately ask readers to apply their learning to one or two new examples.
  • Reinforce and extend the learning in conferences, sharing sessions, and subsequent mini lessons.
teacher tool student tool shared reading
Teacher Tool/Student Tool: Shared Reading

Teacher involves children in the text by using a big book, enlarged text,

and/or text on the overhead.


  • Provides social support from the group.
  • Provides opportunities to participate and behave like a reader.
  • Creates a body of known texts that children can use for independent reading.
punctuation promenade
Punctuation Promenade

The punctuation marks went walking,

On a day that was sunny and bright,

They started out at half-past noon,

And didn’t get home till night.

The comma kept pausing briefly,

For just a little rest,

The parentheses said, “Hurry up!

(That comma is such a pest.)”

The dash was like the comma-

Taking short breaks-to.

The colon was introducing lists,

“Here’s what we need to do:”

Semi-colon was joining up

Some phrases that seemed related,

“We’re not getting anywhere;

This walk’s too complicated.”

Brain Juice English Fresh Squeezed! By Carol Diggory Shields

teacher tool anchor charts
Teacher Tool: Anchor Charts

“Anchor charts capture the language that demonstrates strategic thinking so that kids know when, how, and why to use a strategy in their reading and can refer to the chart for support.”

Strategies That Work

Stephanie Harvey and Anne Goudvis


Good readers think about their own thinking while they read.

Thinking Stems

  • I’m thinking…because…
  • I’m noticing…because…
  • I’m wondering…because…
  • I’m seeing…
  • I’m feeling…because…



Good readers connect what they know with what they are reading.

Thinking Stems

  • That reminds me of…because…
  • I think I already know…because…
  • I have a connection to…
  • I have schema for…
  • I can relate to…because…

Good readers picture what is happening.

Thinking Stems

  • I’m picturing…
  • I can imagine…
  • I can feel…see…smell…taste…touch…hear…
  • My mental images include…
asking questions
Asking Questions

Good readers ask themselves questions when they read.

Thinking Stems

  • I wonder…
  • Why…
  • I don’t understand…
  • It confused me…
  • How could…

Good readers think about what’s going to happen and make inferences/predictions based on what they know and what they have read.

Thinking Stems

  • I can tell that… because…
  • My guess is…
  • Maybe…
  • Perhaps…
  • It could be that…
  • This could mean…
  • I predict…
  • I infer…
monitor for meaning
Monitor for Meaning

Good readers stop to think about their reading and know what to do when they don’t understand.

Thinking Stems

  • Is this making sense?
  • Wait! What is going on here? Observe what you notice
  • What have I learned? What did you notice
  • Do I need to reread? Link to your life
  • What does this word mean?
  • How do I say this word?
  • What text clues help me fill in the missing information?
  • I didn’t get the … so I…
determining importance
Determining Importance

Good readers understand the main idea of the text and what the author’s message is.

Thinking Stems

  • What’s important here…
  • What matters to me…
  • One thing that we should notice…
  • I want to remember…
  • It’s interesting that…

Your brain is like a strainer!


Good readers identify the most important ideas and restated them in their own words.

Thinking Stems

  • Now I understand why…
  • I’m changing my mind about…
  • I used to think _______, but now I think…
  • My new thinking is…because…
  • I’m beginning to think…because…
teacher tool concrete experiences
Teacher Tool: Concrete Experiences

“An initial exposure to a thinking strategy; a lesson with a concrete focus. Connections are easily made, creating bridges of thinking from the known to the new. Concrete lessons anchor future learning.”

Comprehension Connections: Bridges to Strategic Thinking

Tanny McGregor

teacher tool characters props
Teacher Tool: Characters/Props

“Metaphors help us make reading comprehension, an otherwise invisible process, more concrete for our students.”

“When we use metaphors in our teaching, we help students learn by linking a new idea to a more familiar one. The metaphor becomes a symbol for thinking, or in this case it represents the strategies for reading.”

Interactive Think-Aloud Lessons

Lori Oczkus

teacher tool conferring student tool independent reading
Teacher Tool: ConferringStudent Tool: Independent Reading

“Independent reading is much more than a just-sit-there-and-read experience. It gives the teacher a structured time to touch base with each student over a period of time, assess progress, and target instruction. Even more important, it gives students time to read what they want to read, share what they’ve read, and receive the support they need for further reading explorations and reflections.”

Traci Gardner

student tool reader s response journal
Student Tool: Reader’s Response Journal

“Reader’s response helps our students increase their ability to frame questions, express their opinions, and degenerate new knowledge and ideas. In the process, they discover both the intellectual and emotional pleasure inherent in literature as well as the joy of sharing this pleasure with others.”

Strategies That Work

Stephanie Harvey and Anne Goudvis

student tool sticky notes
Student Tool: Sticky Notes
  • Sticky note discussions are powerful tools that:
    • Help students organize and better understand different reading selections
    • Provide an outlet that allows the student to stop, think, and respond to the written text
    • Provide guidelines and goals for comprehending each text
    • Decrease the chances of boredom by targeting specific skills

*It is easy to target those students with comprehension difficulties, but to also allow them to validate their responses along with the others.

Examples: Something you liked about the text, connections to the text, something you disliked about the text, comparisons/contrasts, questions you have about the text, descriptive words or phrases that paint a mental picture that you can illustrate

student tool graphic organizers
Student Tool:Graphic Organizers
  • Graphic organizers can:
    • Help students focus on text structure (differences between fiction and nonfiction) as they read
    • Provide students with tools they can use to examine and show relationships in a text
    • Help readers focus on concepts and how they care related to other concepts
    • Help students read and understand textbooks and picture books
student tool think pair share
Student Tool: Think-Pair-Share
  • Students learn, in part, by being able to talk about the content. Think-pair-share provides a structure for this discussion. It limits off task thinking and off task behavior. Accountability is built in because each must report to a partner, and then partners must report to the class. Students get to try out their answers in private, before having to go public. Kids who never speak up in class are at least giving an answer to someone. Because the silent thinking time is built in, you eliminate the problem of the eager student always shouting out the answer.
student tool foldables
Student Tool: Foldables
  • Foldables:
    • encourage student ownership
    • provide a kinesthetic component
    • promote long-term retention
    • promote reading
    • encourage critical thinking
    • display and arrange data making it easier for students to grasp concepts
    • replaces teacher-generated writing, or worksheets, with student-generated print
assessment and evaluation
Assessment and Evaluation

Formative Assessment

  • Occurs while learning is happening
  • Drives instruction
  • Examples: Running Records, WRAP/DRA, Observing think alouds, sticky notes, retellings, reader’s response, Literacy Folder
  • Summative Evaluation
  • A mastery check
  • Did you understand?
  • The final piece
  • Examples: Rubrics, Thinking Maps, Graphic Organizers, Foldables, Open-Ended Response, paper/pencil
reading is thinking
Reading is Thinking

“Each time one prematurely teaches a child something he could have discovered himself, that child is kept from understanding it completely.”