How Can I Fit a CueThink Session in 40 Minutes?

Integrate rich, open-ended content into your classes at least once a week for students to demonstrate their understanding of concepts and skills. The Florida Department of Education’s article, Classroom Cognitive and Meta-Cognitive Strategies for Teachers states that using Pólya’s 4-Phases of problem-solving will support students in becoming adept at tackling problem-solving tasks while enhancing their reasoning skills.

Goal: Students will complete CueThink’s 4-Phases of problem-solving and annotations in one class period by previewing the question for homework

Time: 40 minutes


  1. Select and assign a problem from your curriculum or CueThink Problem Bank. Problems can address concepts students have learned and are ready to demonstrate their understanding. Rich, open-ended problems that encourage multiple representations are the most interesting for students to solve, view and annotate
  2. Add assigned problem to graphic organizer print out from Teacher Dashboard > Resources > Graphic Organizer
  3. Print out Annotations Tic-Tac-Toe and Sentence Frames from Teacher Dashboard > Resources > Annotations section


  • For homework before CueThink session, assign students to start solving the problem on the graphic organizer

TEACHER NOTE: Assigning the graphic organizer for homework helps students preview the problem and plan their steps for the 4-Phases. Depending on students’ comfort with the 4-Phases, assign students to complete the Understand and Plan Phases only or draft ideas for each section.

Mini-Lesson (10 minutes)

As a whole group,  

  • Project the Understand Phase in Student Mode

  • Ask students to turn-and-talk about what they wrote for the “What do you notice?” and “What do you wonder about?” sections and their estimates

  • Have student pairs share out one piece of information from their “What do you Notice?” or “What do you Wonder about?” sections that they agree is important for solving the problem. Use the information students share to make sure they are clear about what the problem is asking them to do.

TEACHER NOTE: As students become more comfortable with the format of “What do you notice?” and “What do you wonder about?” the mini-lesson can be dedicated to other elements of the 4-Phases, such as estimation, selecting a strategy, writing a detailed and clear plan and recording a clear verbal explanation. See our 30-minute lesson plans for more ideas

Work Time (20 minutes)

  • Assign students, individually or in pairs, to use their work from the graphic organizer and the class discussion to create a Thinklet

  • Before students begin their work, have them test their microphones by completing a 3-second test recording in the Solve Phase that they listen to in the Review Phase

  • Remind students to write out all their work in the Solve Phase whiteboard before recording, pause their recordings if needed and keep their recordings to 1-3 minutes long. These recommendations make Thinklets more engaging to view and annotate

  • As you circulate, encourage students to select efficient tools to use in the Solve Phase if needed. For Chromebooks, encourage students to use the text and equation editor, shapes, tables and arrays. The pen tool is best for iPad use

TEACHER NOTE: As students are working, circulate to look for students who are using interesting strategies. This time can also be used to conference with students about successes or struggles with the task. This information will alert you of which Thinklets should be reviewed in more detail at a later time to analyze student thinking.

Annotations (10 minutes)

Assign students, individually or in pairs, to:

  • Watch and annotate two Thinklets using the Annotations Tic-Tac-Toe or Annotations Sentence Frames

TEACHER NOTE: Plan which Thinklet students will review first to ensure that each student receives feedback. The second Thinklet can be the student’s choice or assigned so that students view a strategy different from their own.

Optional Homework (5 minutes)

Assign students to revise their solution on a new graphic organizer based on what they learned from watching peers’ Thinklets and reading the annotations written about their work.

Preparing for the Next Session

review student work

  • Use observations collected while circulating during student work time to select specific students’ Thinklets to review in more detail. Use the embedded rubric* to evaluate student Thinklets

  • Access the class rubric data* for the problem to determine if the majority of the class was successful with the concept/skill and problem-solving process
  • Mark students’ final answers as correct, partially, or incorrect using the quick-view “Answer” feature

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.

select the next problem

If students need more practice and reinforcement with the concept/skill:

  • Select a similar problem to assign to the whole class or subgroups of students

  • Clone the problem and create another version for extra practice

If students are ready to demonstrate their understanding of a new concept:

  • Search the CueThink Problem Bank by CCSS or Topic

  • Select an application problem from your curriculum

plan the next mini-lesson


Classroom Cognitive and Meta-Cognitive Strategies for Teachers. Florida Department of Education, Division of Public Schools and Community Education, Bureau of Exceptional Education and Student Services, 2010. Web 4 Apr. 2017.