See, Think, Wonder

The purpose of this activity is to make meaning of an authentic resource. Students will interact with an authentic resource and provide evidence of. their  understanding based on observations. When this visual thinking strategy is used at the beginning of a learning episode, it can spark students’ curiosity and activate prior knowledge. When used at the end of a learning episode this activity can be a Check for Learning.  This activity demonstrates how to make meaningful observations to connect to prior learning and springboard further inquiry and discussion in the lesson.



  1. The teacher tells the students they are going to view an visual authentic resource and identifies the type of resource (video, image, object, infographic, etc).

  2. The teacher models the process, making sure to be comprehensible to students.

  3. The teacher distributes the graphic organizer:  a chart with four columns labeled: I see, I think, I know, I wonder.  

  4. Students view the authentic resource and, working individually or in pairs, complete the “I see” column on the organizer. Example for Novice: “I see a girl”, “I see a big family.”

  5. Students share what they noted with the whole class and the teacher lists what they say on the board.

  6. Referring to the whole class list as well as their own observations, students write down what they think the authentic resource is about (column 2 in graphic organizer). The teacher guides students to differentiate between what they see and what they think (inferencing, making assumptions). Option:  Students share what they think with classmates.

  7. After students share what they think, students list additional items (words, facts, information,etc) they know  based on the resource and the resource topic.  

  8. Prompted by the teacher question, “What things do you know?”  students share their column 3, the teacher rephrases, and writes know  items on the board

  9. In the fourth column of the visible thinking chart, working individually or in pairs, students write what additional things they wonder based on  the resource.

Helpful Tips

  1. Use images that are culture-rich and support the learning target or can-do of the lesson.

  2. When resource is a video, play it without sound so that  students complete the see stage (repeat as needed) before replaying the video with sound to complete the other stages of the activity.

  3. Integrate grouping (pairs, triads, quads) to build confidence before whole group individual sharing


  1. Create specific groups based on readiness to facilitate differentiation.

  2. Create specific groups based on interest to facilitate differentiation.

  3. Create specific groups based on proficiency level to facilitate differentiation.

  4. Allow special needs learners to use a teacher developed “post card” with key vocabulary identified.

  5. For Intermediate & Heritage Learners:  rewrite the columns on the graphic organizer to:  I see, I think, I know, I wonder and ask the learners to gather facts (I know) based on the resource and then generate sentences asking what they want to know more about the topic of the resource (I wonder).