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Thinking about how we think and learn allows us to pay attention to and control our cognitive processes. By using these metacognitive skills to continually monitor and regulate their thinking and understanding, learners are able to better plan their reading and writing strategies and think critically about what they read. Metacognition improves throughout childhood and peaks by the end of adolescence.
Metacognition refers to the ability to think about our own understanding, that is, "thinking about thinking." There are several important components of Metacognition:
Advance graphic organizers link prior knowledge to upcoming learning to help students anticipate and understand the structure of new information.
When annotating, students engage deeply with a text and make their thinking visible while reading.
When adolescents can connect and communicate with authentic audiences about their interests and values, reading and writing become more personally meaningful and relevant.
Students practice making and finding meaning in texts through book discussions moderated by teachers to varying degrees.
Checklists and rubrics help students understand expectations as they navigate more complex tasks and assignments.
When peers are able to work together to plan, draft, edit, and revise during the Composition process, their writing quality improves.
For adolescent learners, the Composition process can become more robust, as learners begin to express ideas through multiple media, which includes visual, audio, and digital production.
When students express information visually, they are activating more cognitive processes while problem solving and increasing their experience with alternate texts.
As part of a varied curriculum, explicit instruction in reading comprehension strategies from teachers can help older students use strategies meaningfully and flexibly.
Teaching students how to effectively search the internet is critical for helping them learn how to find accurate and relevant information and aids in developing information literacy.
Research shows that, along with traditional reading comprehension strategies, students use unique strategies to read the non-linear, hyperlinked structure of online texts.
Overtly encouraging all students to seek support, ask questions, and advocate for what they believe in creates a safe space for risk-taking and skill development.
Teaching students how to systematically evaluate sources prepares them to navigate in an increasingly complex, digital world.
Providing constructive feedback supports students' writing development by letting them know how to improve their writing.
When students are aware that learning involves effort, mistakes, reflection, and refinement of strategies, they are more resilient when they struggle.
As students move through multimodal stations pertaining to a particular unit, the social and physical nature of the activity supports deeper understanding.
Setting overall goals with actionable steps for achievement can help students feel more confident in their skills and abilities.
Visualizing how ideas fit together helps students construct meaning and strengthens their recall.
Providing feedback that focuses on the process of developing skills conveys the importance of effort and motivates students to persist when learning.
During guided inquiry, teachers foster student autonomy by designing lessons centered on meaningful questions in which students locate, analyze, and present relevant information on their own or in small groups.
Independent reading promotes literacy by emphasizing student choice with teacher support in selecting books, as well as setting the expectations that everyone is a reader.
As students work with and process information by discussing, organizing, and sharing it together, they deepen their understanding.
Journaling allows students to reflect on their thinking and feelings, process their learning, and connect new information to what they know.
By observing, rereading, and closely analyzing published writing, students see examples and learn the strategies of good writing that they can integrate into their own Composition.
Through short but regular mindfulness activities, students develop their awareness and ability to focus.
Creating patterns for remembering content information, important Vocabulary, narrative structures, etc.
Providing multiple texts on the same topic or theme allows students to interact with multiple perspectives and develop their critical thinking skills.
When students provide constructive feedback on each other's work, they learn to give relevant suggestions, receive specific ways to improve their writing, and engage in Metacognition.
When students reframe negative thoughts and tell themselves kind self-statements, they practice positive self-talk.
When teachers ask questions or have students create questions before introducing a text, they activate student interest and help them assess what they already know about a given topic.
Providing guiding prompts and questions for students to use when reading or participating in discussions deepens their understanding of texts and gives them space to question and grapple with issues of power, justice, and equity.
When teachers provide students with model texts for their writing, they learn to identify effective elements to incorporate into their own writing.
Teachers can provide individualized support through one-on-one conferences to assess reading comprehension, understanding of content, and spark further interest in reading.
When students explain to others, they deepen their understanding and gain confidence in their learning.
Student reflection on learning, particularly when done collaboratively, is critical for moving knowledge of content and strategies into Long-term Memory.
Students build their confidence, strategy use, and comprehension by reading and rereading multiple texts.
When students monitor their comprehension, performance, and use of strategies when reading and writing, they build their Metacognition and actively participate in the reading process.
Sentence frames or stems provide language support for students' writing and participation in academic discussions.
Providing a story or concept map prior to lessons or having students create their own maps during or after reading helps learners identify and organize key elements of a text.
Giving students voice and choice in their learning is critical for making learning meaningful and relevant to them.
Bringing students' every day literacy practice of texting into the classroom provides regular, low-stakes practice communicating with authentic audiences.
During reading, giving students the opportunity to explain their thinking process aloud allows them to recognize the strategies they use, solidify their comprehension, and move knowledge into their Long-term Memory.
Think-pair-share encourages meaningful student discussion by allowing for extra processing time and multiple shares.
Writing conferences allow students to fully immerse, share, reflect, and receive feedback during the writing process, promoting Motivation for continuing the sometimes lengthy revision process that occurs in the upper grades.
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