Teacher Toolkit

Thinking Routines and Discursive Strategies

Fantastic Four

Who is this for?

Grade 3+

Why use it?

Applied to a text related to the issue/inquiry focus:

Provide purposes for reading, viewing, or listening

Activate critical, creative, and contextual thinking skills

Bloom’s Level


What is it?

This routine supports close critical reading of texts students encounter along the road of inquiry. They start by individually identifying 4 points of connection, which they then share with peers in small groups. They synthesize their shared understandings by collaborating to create a visual of their thinking and interpretations.

Materials – Related Text, sticky notes, four category signs (connections, challenge, concepts, changes)

Set-Up – Whole class, then smaller groups

How does it work?

  1. Present students with a text related to the issue (fiction, non-fiction, visual, auditory).
  2. Invite them to use sticky notes or otherwise note one of each of the following in the text:
    What connections do you draw between the text and your own life or your other learning?
    What ideas, positions, or assumptions do you want to challenge or argue with in the text?
    What key concepts or ideas do you think are key or worth holding on to from the text?
    What changes in attitude, thinking, or action are suggested by the text, for you or others?


  • Ask students to form small groups, share their responses, and create a visual to represent their 4Cs thinking.

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Discursive StrategiesFantastic Four