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Adolescent Literacy Guide (Literacy Gains, 2012). Metacognition. Purpose: To develop an understanding of the Adolescent Learner with a focus on the components of Strategy, Metacognition, Voice and Identity, Critical Literacy and Questioning. . Learning Goals

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Purpose: To develop an understanding of the Adolescent Learner with a focus on the components of Strategy, Metacognition, Voice and Identity, Critical Literacy and Questioning.

Learning Goals

  • explore “Metacognition” as a component of Adolescent Literacy
  • explore ways we can encourage student metacognition so that they understand themselves as learners, understand a given task, and understand a variety of strategies and how to use them in a variety of situations.


  • First word
  • Learning
  • Ink Think
  • Table Talk
  • Look Back
  • Marshmallow Challenge
  • Barriers to learning
  • Last Word
  • Give me Five!
what do we mean by metacognition
What do we mean by "Metacognition"?

Adolescent Literacy Guide

  • "Metacognition refers to students taking active control over their thinking processes so that they understand themselves as learners, they understand a given task and they understand a variety of strategies and how to use them in a variety of situations " (ALG 22)
metacognition guiding questions
Metacognition: Guiding Questions
  • What opportunities do students in the subject have to use assessment as learning (e.g., set goals and strategically plan for learning)?
  • How does the subject support students to monitor and adjust their thinking?
  • How does the subject provide opportunities for students to develop and use metacognitive strategies?
  • What resources, people or materials will support students to be reflective of their learning?
thinking metacognitively
Thinking Metacognitively

"Simply, metacognition is thinking about thinking. When students are metacognitive, they have an understanding of learning in three areas: they understand themselves as learners, they understand a given task, and they understand a variety of strategies and how to use them in a variety of situations." (Jetton & Dole, 2004)." (ALG 24)

thinking metacognitively1
Thinking Metacognitively

Edugains: Exploring Metacognitive Habits of Mind


why teach it
Why teach it

Metacognition contributes to successful learning, and moves students toward independence, interdependence, and self-efficacy. Through metacognitive strategies, students learn to master information and solve problems more easily. (Brock et al. 2005; Scruggs, 1985) (ALG 25)

ink think
Ink Think
  • Each person choose a marker.
  • At the centre of your paper, write What is thinking? When you tell someone that you are thinking, what kind of things might actually be going on in your head?
  • Individually, silently add your thoughts to the chart paper.
      • Main ideas should branch off of the central idea.
      • ‘Listen’ to others by reading and add to their ideas: details, examples, specificity, related ideas
  • Prepare a summary to share with the larger group.
exit cards check ins
Exit Cards/ Check Ins

Table Talk:

  • Read through the booklet “Self assessment and Goal Setting”. How might you use these prompts?
  • Choose 3 and explain how you might use them in the next 2 days in your class.
  • Share with your table group.
look back
Look Back

Please take 5 minutes to make a list of all the things you have learned in the last two weeks that you didn’t know before or know as well back then. Next to each new learning you identified, please describe how you learned it and why that way of learning was effective for you.

marshmallow challenge

In 18 minutes...use

20 pieces of spaghetti

1 metre tape

1 meter string

1 marshmallow

to build the tallest free-standing structure. The marshmallow needs to be on top.


Recall: Summarize what you did in this activity

Explain: Explain the purpose of this activity

Results: Describe the results of what you did/ found out

in this activity and what they mean.

Uncertainties: Describe what you are still unsure about.

New: Write at least two new things that you learned

from this activity.

thinking logs
Thinking Logs
  • I was successful in…
  • I got stuck….
  • I figured out…
  • I got confused I …
  • I didn’t expect…
  • I think I need to redo…
  • I need to rethink...
  • I first thought…but now I realize…
  • I’m not sure…
  • What puzzled me the most was…


A student writing journal in which students respond to a series of sentence stems as thinking starters.

  • I was really surprised when…
  • I will understand this better if I…
  • I stopped…because…
  • I think tomorrow I would like to try…
  • The hardest part of this was…
  • I figured it out because…
  • Right now I am thinking about…
  • I wish I could…
  • I really feel good about the way…
  • I used to think..., but now I think…
barriers to learning
Barriers to Learning
  • Divide up the barriers in your group (some will need to take 2)
  • Read your barrier. “What does it look like in the classroom with our students?”
  • Share your barrier with your table group and what it looks like in the classroom.
  • How do you support students in your classroom to disrupt/ challenge these barriers?
the power of questions
The power of questions

Teachers can engage students in metacognitive thinking by posing questions. (27)

relate to themselves as learners
Relate to themselves as learners
  • What are my strengths? How do I use them?
  • How can I adapt to a learning situation given my learning preferences?
  • What skills do I still need to develop? How will I adjust for skills I still need to develop?
  • What resources, people or materials can help me be successful?
  • How will I monitor what is working for me?
  • How has my thinking about this topic changed as I've gathered more information?
relate to a given task
Relate to a given task
  • What do I have to do? What am I trying to accomplish?
  • What skills do I need to complete the task? Which of these skills are my strengths?
  • How close am I to my goal? What will help me recognize that I am meeting the learning goal?
  • What things have I accomplished that might help me be successful in this task?
  • How is this task like other tasks I have attempted / completed?
  • What are my options and alternative approaches?
  • How well did my choice(s) work?
relate to strategies and how they use them
Relate to strategies and how they use them
  • What strategies am I using? What strategies do I need to use?
  • Are the strategies I am using helping me reach my goal? If not, are there other strategies or approaches that might move me closer to the target?
  • Do I need to go back and re-read, re-do, or re-think anything?
  • How am I practicing my strategies?
in conclusion give me five
In conclusion: Give Me Five
  • Technique used to promote and publicly share personal reflections to a prompt.
  • Students are given a prompt to think about for 1-2 minutes.
  • Five students then volunteer to share their reflection.

Some reflection prompts:

    • What was the most significant learning you had during today’s lesson?
    • How “in the zone” do you feel right now as far as understanding ....?
    • How did today’s lesson help you better understand....?
    • What was the high point of this week’s activities on ...?
    • How well do you think today’s discussion worked in improving our understanding of ....?