Harnessing the Power of Thinklets as Learning Artifacts

CueThink has the unique ability to capture authentic and intimate portraits of student thinking, problem solving, and learning. Teachers can leverage the power of CueThink by providing scaffolds as students share their thinklets with different audiences.


Building Agency and Reflection

                                        Tagging in Action

                                        Tagging in Action

While students often look outwards when sharing work, they can benefit tremendously when given the opportunity to reflect. Beth Holland argues that, “As educators, our challenge is ensuring that students have an opportunity to engage in reflection such that they create a meaningful product to actually visit again and again.”  CueThink is designed to enable students to produce meaningful work that is worth revisiting. After thinklets have been created, discussed, and refined, they can be tagged using CueTeach 1.0* as reference thinklets. Students can then review thinklets before starting a new concept.


Tips to Build Agency and Reflection

  • When starting a new unit, refresh students on related content or strategies by reviewing previous thinklets.    

  • If students are struggling to remember concepts they have already learned, have them watch thinklets from the unit to see themselves in action.

  • Build in 10 minutes each month for students to reflect on thinklets they have created at different times throughout the year.

  • Use the following sentence starters to support students in their use of thinklets as learning artifacts:

    • I used to solve problems by….but now I can...

    • My solution is clear because I…

    • I forgot how to...but now I remember how to…


Building a Community of Mathematical Thinkers

Harnessing the collective knowledge of a community is a central task to all educators, yet it is incredibly difficult to assure that all children are able to share their work with their peers while developing their own thinking and approach to problem solving. In her article about engaging students in mathematical conversations, Dr. Gladis Kersaint argues that after solving problems, children need opportunities “to compare and contrast their approaches and solutions with those shared by others.” CueThink provides a unique platform for peer-to-peer sharing, enabling students to critique and support each other’s mathematical thinking.


Tips to Build a Mathematical Peer Community

  • Build in time for students to write annotations.

  • Use Annotations Tic-Tac-Toe.

  • Give students feedback on the quality of their annotations.

  • Take advantage the annotation sentence frames.

  • As a whole class, compare and contrast how thinklets demonstrate mathematical problem solving.



Support Teacher Collaboration

When students share work with their teachers through CueThink, teachers are given a window into aspects of problem solving that are often invisible in other forms of math work. As teachers review children’s strategies and thinking, they are also privy to information about children’s orientation towards problem solving and mathematical content. Hesitancy, excitement, frustration, and joy can all be revealed through thinklets. Diane Weaver Dunne explains the many goals of collaborative analysis of student work. She states that teachers can “learn about the effectiveness of their instruction, better understand students' learning and development, develop more effective curriculum and assessment, and find ways to help students do higher quality work”.


Tips for Building Collaborative Teaching Communities

  • Use math coaching or professional development time to examine thinklets with other teachers in your school.

  • Let students know what you notice about their thinking by writing annotations on their thinklets.

  • Use CueTeach 1.0* to reflect and share your notes about students’ work on specific problems with the CueThink Community.

                                                                  Easily Share Notes and Reflections with Other Teachers

                                                                  Easily Share Notes and Reflections with Other Teachers

Family and Community Engagement

Those who spend the most time with children often have the hardest time understanding exactly what students are learning at school. Community members--such as parents, guardians, mentors, and after-school teachers--are often eager to explore what children are learning but find it difficult understand exactly how students solve problems at school. Through CueThink, students can share thinklets that illustrate deep mathematical thinking. Not only does this provide those that care for them with a window into their classroom experience, but it also offers concrete information about the mathematical content and strategies that students are exploring.


Tips for Engaging Families with CueThink

  • Show thinklets during parent-teacher conferences.

  • Write families a letter explaining how students can log in to CueThink at home.

  • Show model thinklets to families at Back-to-School or Math events to demonstrate your classroom’s approach to problem solving.


In Summary

CueThink’s unique ability to capture a student’s mathematical thinking makes it an excellent platform for sharing student work with a variety of audiences. As students create a portfolio of thinklets, they develop an invaluable bank of artifacts that they can come back to again and again. CueThink can help make mathematical problem solving visible to students, their peers, teachers, and the community.


* CueTeach 1.0 provides embedded professional development tools to inform instruction. Rubrics, reflections and tagging features help teachers evaluate the efficacy of student tasks and share observations with a professional learning community. CueTeach provides opportunities to participate in an extended professional learning network focused on problem solving and cognitively demanding tasks. 



Dunne, Diane Weaver. "Teachers Learn from Looking Together at Student Work." Education World. 15 Aug. 2002.

Holland, Beth. "Digital Portfolios: The Art of Reflection." Edutopia, 30 June 2015.

Kersaint, Gladis. "Talking Math: 6 Strategies for Getting Students to Engage in Mathematical Discourse." Getting Smart. 23 Oct. 2015.