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Thinking Routine of the Week: Headlines


HEADLINES is a thinking routine that helps to capture the essence or heart of something being discussed. It is also used for summarising and synthesising ideas.

It has just ONE question that asks:

‘If you were to write a headline for this topic or issue right now that captured the most important aspect that should be remembered, what would that headline be?’

  • This routine works well at the end of a discussion about an artwork or object and in combination with other routines (such as 10×2+Step Inside + Headlines). It’s a good way of rounding up & concluding a discussion before moving on to the next object or artwork.
  • You can also use it at the start of a discussion and then again at the end. Ask participants to write down their headlines so that they can refer to them after they have written their second one. Then compare: ‘How has your headline changed during today’s discussion? How does it differ from what you said at the start?’
  • You can have your group create their headlines individually, in pairs or in small groups. Sometimes participants feel more comfortable creating and sharing their headlines in a pair or a group.
  • You can also combine with a think-pair-share and ask everyone to share their headline with a neighbour. Afterwards you can ask the question “Who heard a headline from someone else that they thought was particularly good at summing up what we discussed about this object/artwork?” to extend the discussion further.
  • Variations: I’ve also used variations of this thinking routine with different age groups – such as ‘TITLE’ (works well with artworks) and ‘ONE WORD’ (for younger age groups).

Have you used Headlines before?

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