Using ‘Think, Puzzle, Explore’ for student blogging

My last blog posts asked for people to share their formative assessment ideas with me. I received a really great suggestion from my Twitter mate, Kim Pericles. She suggested using a ‘Think/Puzzle/Explore’ table in favour of a Know/Wonder/Learn table. I’d heard of it before, but this time it really captured my interest – funny how that happens, hey? I think it is awesome as a formative assessment tool and I will be using it in my classroom a lot this year. Oh, and for those of you who might think I’m hating on the KWL, I’m not – I used that more for prior-knowledge testing and generating student sub-questions for projects and then at the end of a phase of learning/project for reflection of learning. KWL FTW, I recko, haha.

Anyway, I started writing an edmodo post for my students about blogging and found myself using the ‘think, puzzle, explore’ idea to help them guide their blog posts. Here’s what I came up with:

What will you blog about?

There are three main types of blog posts that I would like you to consider writing each week (or after each lesson even!) … they can be loosely categorised by the verbs ‘thinking’, ‘puzzling’, ‘exploring’.


This is where you write about your thoughts on a topic, lesson, text, aspect of the project, etc. These posts are where you confidently show off your own knowledge and understanding! Be proud, share what you’ve discovered! Get excited! These posts are the passion-fuelled type where you can’t stop blabbering about something cool that you’ve discovered. Try to include links and videos and quotes from sources (like your text) to help you readers develop their understanding of your ideas. Backing up your arguments with evidence is a really good habit to get into!   


Let’s face it, learning new stuff is really hard. Often we fail more than we succeed but through this process of trial and error we discover cool new things! These blog posts are the ones you write when you’re pissed off – when you just feel like it’s all too crazy hard and you wanna quit. You write these posts because something is puzzling you and you need to share that with someone, somewhere. Sharing is caring. Someone might just have the answer and reassure you! It’s better out than in, right?


English poses a range of baffling questions (you’ll be asking yourself many of these – see the ‘puzzling post’) and delves deeply into humanity’s biggest dilemmas. That’s what makes this subject so awesome! These posts are the place where you ask questions – big, complex, challenging questions. These posts might be classified as tangential – this is a kinda smart-sounding word that means ‘random’. There’s always something that you want to know more about: a character or a scene in a text or the composer of a text or the latest piece of bizarre philosophy/psychology your teacher has tried to introduce. Use these blog posts to be curious; ramble on about what fascinates you …


6 thoughts on “Using ‘Think, Puzzle, Explore’ for student blogging

  1. Pingback: PBL: Managing the Mushy Middle |

  2. Pingback: PBL: Managing the mushy middle | Inquire Within

  3. Pingback: Resources for running a PBL workshop |

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