Creating Energizing Discussion & Reflection Opportunities with Thinking Routines

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Activities and assignments in online courses can sometimes begin to feel redundant, as students respond to similar types of questions or engage in similar types of activities each week. How can we stretch students’ thinking, and help them to engage with the course content and with each other in deeper, more engaging ways? One solution is incorporating Harvard’s Project Zero thinking routines into instruction. These research-based routines are aimed at making student thinking visible through utilizing a variety of structured protocols. 

In this webinar, we will explore the Thinking Routines website, discuss the different categories of routines, and engage in experiential activities based on the routines. We will also explore concrete ways that the routines can be incorporated into a variety of course activities and assignments (such as formative assessments, discussions, reflections, reading responses, and more). In addition, we will discuss how thinking routines can be used in creative ways in order to provide students with multimodal opportunities to share their thinking and learning. Participants will leave the session with dozens of thinking routines that they can immediately implement into their instruction, regardless of the discipline they teach.  

Intended Audience: 

Faculty, Instructional Support, Training Professionals

Key Takeaways:

By attending this session, attendees will be able to: 

  1. Describe what thinking routines are and how they are organized.
  2. Identify thinking routines that would work well for specific course activities.
  3. Plan methods for incorporating thinking routines into instruction.
Speaker Bio


Tolulope (Tolu) Noah, Ed.D.
Instructional Learning Spaces Coordinator – California State University, Long Beach

Tolulope (Tolu) Noah, Ed.D. is the Instructional Learning Spaces Coordinator at California State University, Long Beach, where she facilitates faculty development about teaching and technology. Previously, she was a Senior Professional Learning Specialist at Apple, helping educators nationwide explore how they could use iPads and MacBooks to enhance teaching and learning. Tolu has also had 16 years of teaching experience in both higher education and K-12. She was an associate professor in the undergraduate teacher education program at Azusa Pacific University, where she was honored to receive the university-wide Teaching Excellence Faculty Award in 2019. Prior to becoming a professor, Tolu was a 5th and 6th grade teacher in Los Angeles. Tolu is incredibly passionate about teaching, and she enjoys helping educators explore how they can effectively integrate content, pedagogy, and technology in support of student learning. She frequently speaks at conferences and presents workshops about a wide range of teaching and technology topics, and she was recently named by EdTech Magazine as one of the 30 Higher Ed IT Influencers to Follow in 2023. Tolu is currently writing her first book provisionally titled, Making Workshops Worth It: How to Design and Facilitate Engaging Professional Learning Experiences in Higher Education, which is under contract with Routledge. You can connect with Tolu on Twitter, Bluesky, LinkedIn, or via her website.