Teacher Toolkit

Thinking Routines and Discursive Strategies

Colour, Symbol, Image

Who is this for?

All grades

Why use it?

To practice making connections and representations from reading, viewing or listening to text

Bloom’s Level


What is it? This routine invites students to identify the main ideas in a text and represent them in nonverbal ways.

Materials – CSI template

Set-Up – Whole class or individually

How does it work?

1. After listening/reading text have the students select a colour that represents a core idea

2. Student then creates a symbol to represent the core idea/issue

3. Finally, students sketch an image it can be a single image or a whole scene.


Share the thinking with a partner or in a group and explain the choices. Ask students to also share their connections to the essential question or bigger ideas.


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ResourcesColour, Symbol, Image