Learning and Teaching at Gilson College

Learning for living, Character for life, Hope for the Future

Look to Learn Prompts

Look to Learn Logo
A quote from Tom March’s LOOK TO LEARN website:

‘One of the best ways for students of every age to develop greater cognitive sophistication is to join in a shared looking activity with at least one facilitating adult. As infants, children sat in our laps as we read picture books together. Today we can foster critical thinking by engaging students in regular experiences of “Learning to Look.” All it takes is:

  • a computer,
  • a data projector,
  • at least one interesting Web resource and
  • an open-ended question or ‘thinking prompt’

Let’s assume you can organize the computer and data projector so what’s needed is help with the Web resources and the prompts. This LOOK TO LEARN site provides help in three ways: Continue reading


Copy and Paste these Looking Prompts if you want to make your own Look to Learn Activities. [Or] Copy and Paste these Thinking Routines to make your own activities.

What Makes You Say That?

  1. What’s going on?
  2. What do you see that makes you say that?

Claim, Support, Question

  1. Make a claim about the topic
  2. Identify support for your claim
  3. Ask a question related to your claim

Think, Puzzle, Explore

  1. What do you think you know about this topic?
  2. What questions or puzzles do you have?
  3. How can you explore this topic?

Think, Pair, Share

  1. Pose a question to students
  2. Take a few minutes of thinking time
  3. Turn to a nearby student to share thoughts

Circle of Viewpoints

  1. I am thinking of … the topic… From the point of view of … the viewpoint you’ve chosen
  2. I think … describe the topic from your viewpoint. Be an actor – take on the character of your viewpoint
  3. A question I have from this viewpoint is … ask a question from this viewpoint

I used to Think… Now I think…

Remind students of the topic you want them to consider. It could be the ideal itself—fairness, truth, understanding, or creativity—or it could be the unit you are studying. Have students write a response using each of the sentence stems:

  • I used to think…
  • But now, I think…

Compass Points

E = Excited What excites you about this idea or proposition? What’s the upside?

W = Worrisome What do you find worrisome about this idea or proposition? What’s the downside?

N = Need to Know What else do you need to know or find out about this idea or proposition? What additional information would help you to evaluate things?

S = Stance or Suggestion for Moving Forward What is your current stance or opinion on the idea or proposition? How might you move forward in your evaluation of this idea or proposition?

Connect, Extend, Challenge

  1. How are the ideas and information presented connected to what you already knew?
  2. What new ideas did you get that extended or pushed your thinking in new directions?
  3. What is still challenging or confusing for you to get your mind around? What questions, wonderings or puzzles do you now have?

The 5 W’s & H

As a class or group answer the questions as insightfully as you can.

  • Who?
  • What?
  • Where?
  • When?
  • Why?
  • How?


Write a headline that captures the most important point of this movie.

Add a Caption

There is no caption for this image, so here’s your chance to write one! Write a line that captures the humor of this cartoon.

Be Inspired – Wax Lyrical

  1. Allow the media to inspire you.
  2. Get in touch with the feelings it inspires.
  3. Put these feelings into words – don’t worry if they don’t “make sense.”

Cluster what You See

  1. Draw or use clustering software
  2. What’s the main idea or feeling? Put it in the center.
  3. Work as a class to brainstorm as much as you can about the movie.
  4. Group or connect any of the items into larger sets.

Why Do We Feel This?

  1. What is the main feeling you get from this?
  2. What specific things give this feeling?
  3. How could you do this to achieve another feeling?

See, Think, Wonder

  1. What do you see?
  2. What do you think is going on?
  3. What does it make you wonder?

Seeing Themes

  1. What is the main issue or feeling behind the video?
  2. Search for that theme in Tag Galaxy
  3. What images presented in the ball match those from your main theme?
  4. What are stereotypes related to the theme?

Claim, Support, Question

  1. Make a claim about the topic
  2. Identify support for your claim
  3. Ask a question related to your claim

Interpret This!

  1. What is the subject of this artwork?
  2. What are the artistic devices (images, sounds, etc.) used and what feelings do you get from them?
  3. Explore details from the work. What do you find most effective artistically?

Interpretation: Sum up your understanding of the artist’s intent in one statement. Be able to justify your opinion with specific insights or observations from the work.

What’s so great about…

  1. Why do you think people say this is so great?
  2. List what makes it “outstanding?”
  3. What would you do differently?

Find What’s Funny

  1. Why specific things make this “funny?”
  2. What is being made fun of?
  3. How would you make it “funnier?”


  1. Who is being stereotyped?
  2. Brainstorm as many things that you can that show this stereotype.
  3. Is the stereotype “true?” “Hurtful?” “Biased?”


  1. What feelings do you have after experiencing this?
  2. How were you made to feel this way?
  3. What would you like to do with these feelings?

KWL: Know, Want to Know, Learned

  1. What do you already know about this?
  2. What more would you want to learn?
  3. What is something new you learned by looking closely?

Pro, Con, Neutral

  1. Why would people be in favor of this?
  2. Why would people be against it?
  3. What would be a neutral position?

One thought on “Look to Learn Prompts

  1. Pingback: Look to Learn Prompts | Leading and Learning

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