ARPDC Professional Development Resources
Dedicated to ongoing professional learning at the local, regional and provincial level.

Thinking Strategies

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Thinking Strategies Placemat

What it is: The Thinking Strategies Placemat provides a visual of 5 key steps in lesson and unit planning that reflects the principles of effective instruction, formative assessment, and literacy, numeracy and competency development.

It was designed to provide an “at-a-glance reminder” of thinking strategies that can be used to increase engagement and deepen understanding at each stage in the lesson/unit.

How you might incorporate the Thinking Strategies Placemat in your district:

  • Print coloured copies of the poster to distribute to schools.
  • Share this resource at an upcoming professional learning day in your district.
  • Strike up an interested professional learning group who would like to delve into the planning model and try out strategies with their students.


Thinking Strategies Website

This resource is a companion to the Thinking Strategies Placemat. It was created with the principles of quality instruction and formative assessment in mind as well as intentionally incorporating language tied to literacy, numeracy and competency development as required by Alberta Education.

The strategies are sorted into FIVE PHASES of lesson and unit planning – relevant to any subject:

  1. How do we activate learners?
  2. What roadblocks do we need to anticipate?
  3. How will we help students acquire and extract key information?
  4. How might we infuse opportunities to deliberate and challenge new learning so we foster critical thinking in our classrooms?
  5. How do we help students consolidate what they have learned, communicate key ideas and perhaps even take action (e.g., social justice or societal impact outcomes)?

Each strategy has a dedicated page on this site in one of the five learning phases where we believe it can be best used to activate thinking. Some strategies are very specific and small in scope. Other strategies represent a larger grouping of ideas and those pages will highlight a variety of tools and techniques that fit within the ‘strategy’.