Within the Interdisciplinary strand of AusVELS is the domain "Thinking Processes" which includes
  • Reasoning, processing and inquiry
  • Creativity
  • Reflection, evaluation and metacognition.

Ron Ritchart (Cultures of Thinking Project) started his teaching career in New Zealand and has been a researcher at the Harvard Graduate School of Education since 1994. His research focusses on understanding how to develop, nurture and sustain thoughtful learning environments for both students and teachers. He co-wrote "Making Thinking Visible", published in 2011, and has a website with Cultures of Thinking resources.

"Visible Thinking" has been explored and promoted by Harvard University's Project Zero team to improve learning outcomes by encouraging practices that require students to think more critically and be more aware of their thinking processes.

"Visible Thinking includes a large number of classroom routines, easily and flexibly integrated with content learning, and representing areas of thinking such as understanding, truth and evidence, fairness and moral reasoning, creativity, self-management, and decision making. It also provides tools for integrating the arts with subject-matter content. Finally, it includes a practical framework for how to create "cultures of thinking" in individual classrooms and within an entire school." ~ Project Zero//

You can find more detailed information at the Visible Thinking site.

Lynda Cutting has written a great summary of some of the Thinking Tools and Routines on her blog, "Brushes, Paint and ICT".

I was fortunate to attend a workshop at the CONASTA62 conference, where such thinking tools were discussed and demonstrated.
Compass Points
N = needs to know
S = steps or suggestions
E = Excitements
W = worries
Question sorting
Using sticky notes, place the questions generated on a grid (perpendicular axes) from low to high (generative) and low to high (interest).
Explanation Game
Name it, explain it, give reasons and generate alternatives.
Traffic Lights
Red - What makes you stop and think something is not true?
Yellow - What makes you pause and wonder?
Green - Why do you follow this unconditionally?
What were today's objectives?
Connect today and yesterday.
Give one more example.
What is clear and no clear about today's learning?
What will the next lesson be?
What would the headlines be for today's lesson?
3, 2, 1
Three words, two questions and one metaphor or simile
See, Think, Wonder
What do you see?
What does it make you think?
What do you wonder?
How are the ideas CONNECTed?
What new ideas have EXTENDed your thinking?
What is still CHALLENGING your thinking? What do you wonder about?
This is a great routine for encouraging students to make connections between prior knowledge and new ideas, extend thinking and reflect on their learning. It works well individually, in small groups or with the whole class.
Think, Pair, Share
Students spend one minute thinking quietly about a topic, question or concept, then share their thoughts and ideas with a partner. The teacher than calls on students to share their thinking with the class.
John Hattie, Professor of Education and Director of the Melbourne Education Research Institute at the University of Melbourne, has completed meta-analyses of factors that impact on teaching and learning. He summarizes some of his research in a book for teachers: "Visible Learning for Teachers - Maximising Impact on Learning", which describes some of the important factors in terms of "effect size".