Circle of viewpoints is a “thinking routine” protocol featured in the book, Making Thinking Visible: How to Promote Engagement, Understanding and Independence for All Learners by Ron Ritchhart, Mark Church, and Karin Morrison. If you are not familiar with this book or the concept of Visible Thinking, check out this blog’s previous professional development articles here.
There are 21 “thinking routines” suggested in the book, with seven in each of the three categories. Every month I will highlight a “thinking routine” from Making Thinking Visible and how I have used it with my classes. This month I am sharing: Circle of Viewpoints
Before I explain how educators can use the Circle of Viewpoints routine with students, let’s recall how teachers and principals can benefit from making thinking visible in the classroom.
HOW TEACHERS CAN MAKE THINKING VISIBLE
If you are a teacher, these “thinking routines” are an excellent way to help your students deepen their comprehension. The book divides the “thinking routines” into three categories:
Routines for Introducing and Exploring Ideas
Routines for Synthesizing and Organizing Ideas
Routines for Digging Deeper into Ideas
HOW PRINCIPALS CAN MAKE THINKING VISIBLE
If you are a principal, this text would be a great choice for a school-wide professional book study and/or a staff development project. Not only would you provide your staff with an invaluable resource, you will most likely increase the level of thinking within the student body. Here's how it will benefit you personally:
As you do school walk-throughs or observations, Making Thinking Visible will give you something to target as you enter classrooms.
By focusing on the “thinking routines” you should find that your teachers observations are easier, because the staff will know what is expected of them.
It will also help you provide feedback to your staff as you focus specifically on the “thinking routines.”
THE CIRCLE OF VIEWPOINTS ROUTINE
The Circle of Viewpoints encourages students to think about different perspectives. It helps them to understand that people may think or feel differently from them about the same topic or idea.
The Circle of Viewpoints is a great follow-up thinking activity to a point of view unit. I have included a Point of View Overview Mini Unit for you to use with your students before doing this thinking routine. The mini unit is optional and definitely not a prerequisite to completing this “thinking routine.”
INTRODUCING THE CIRCLE OF VIEWPOINTS ROUTINE TO STUDENTS
1. Brainstorm a list of different perspectives.
2. Select a perspective to explore.
3. Give the students these sentence starters:
I am thinking of (insert topic) from the point of view of (insert chosen point of view).
I think (describe the topic from your point of view).
A question I have from this point of view is (ask a question from this point of view).
4. Have students share their completed sentence starters. As students share, encourage them to “be the character” and really act out the point of view they have taken on.
5. After sharing, have students discuss what new ideas about the topic they now have and what new questions have arisen.
WHEN TO USE THE CIRCLE OF VIEWPOINTS ROUTINE
There are lots of different ways you can use this “thinking routine.” It can be used at the beginning of a unit in order to help students imagine possible perspectives about a topic or theme. It can also be completed at the end of a lesson to encourage discussion about differing opinions.
As a literacy specialist, I like to use this routine at the end of a chapter or book so students can compare and contrast the different perspectives of various characters. I love this routine because it can be modified to be used across any subject area. I know many of my colleagues also use it during their debate units.
PRINTABLE CIRCLE OF VIEWPOINTS TEMPLATES
Today I am sharing with you the literacy-inspired Circle of Viewpoints templates. I like to use them alongside books that have multiple perspectives woven throughout the storyline.
A book that this routine works really well with is the 1945 Newbery Honor book The Hundred Dresses, by Eleanor Estes. This book happens to be a personal favorite of mine that I read aloud every year to my Grade 4 students. After reading the book, I have my students use Circle of Viewpoints to compare and contrast Wanda, Maddie, and Peggy.
Download the Circle of Viewpoints Organizers to use in your classroom!
Circle of Viewpoints is a thinking routine that encourages students to think about multiple perspectives. It helps students to learn that people may think or feel differently about the same topic or idea. It works well before, during or after a unit or book that lends itself to different perspectives.