Teaching Tip Tuesday: 3-2-1


This activity helps structure students’ responses to an activity, a reading or a film.  It requires students to summarize key ideas, rethink these ideas in order to focus on information they found interesting or difficult to understand, and then ask questions about what they still want to know.  It provides an easy way for teachers to check for understanding and to gauge students’ interest in a topic. Sharing 3-2-1 responses can also be an effective way to prompt a class discussion or to review material from the previous lesson. 

3-2-1 chart

1) Step one: Answering 3-2-1 prompt
After students engage with a text or a lesson, ask them to answer the following questions in their journal, on a separate piece of paper, or on a graphic organizer:

• 3 things that I learned from this lesson/from this text.
• 2 questions that I still have.
• 1 aspect of class/the text that I enjoyed.


• 3 key ideas I found out from the reading.
• 2 things that were interesting or hard to understand.
• 1 question I still have.


• 3 differences between ____________and ______________.
• 2 similarities between them.
• 1 question I still have.

2) Step two:  Responding to these prompts
Use students’ responses to guide teaching decisions.  3-2-1 responses can help you identify areas of the curriculum that you may need to review again or concepts or activities that hold special interest for students.

• Content-specific 3-2-1: You can modify the elements of the 3-2-1 to focus on particular content questions. For example, if the class has just been studying the International Criminal Court, a teacher might have students write down 3 differences between the ICC and tribunals such as Nuremberg, 2 similarities between the ICC and tribunals, and 1 question you still have.
•  Identifying main ideas 3-2-1: You could also use the 3-2-1 structure to help students identify main ideas from supporting information. For example, you could ask students to record 3 of the most important ideas from the lesson or text, 2 supporting details for each of these ideas and 1 question they have about each of these ideas.


One thought on “Teaching Tip Tuesday: 3-2-1

  1. Pingback: Teaching Tip Tuesday–Observations & Evaluations | MSB instructional coach blog

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