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Metacognition describes the process of thinking ABOUT thinking. Through metacognition, students identify and monitor their thinking and learning processes, explicitly attempt new strategies, and assess the effectiveness of these processes and strategies.


By explicitly reflecting on their thinking and learning, students become more effective at thinking and learning. They are able to gather a consciously-available repertoire of thinking and learning strategies which they can then mindfully apply to a range of activities and situation. Metacognitive strategies and metacognitive awareness transfers across disciplines, and allows students to become better learners overall.

Content Area Adaptations 

Students benefit from metacognition in all content areas. Ideally, they should learn and practice the same metacognitive strategies across disciplines so that they recognize the universal generalizability of learning and thinking processes.

Learning Strategies 

  • Connecting
  • Determining Importance
  • Inferring
  • Metacognition
  • Predicting
  • Questioning
  • Synthesizing
  • Visualizing

Common Core Standards 

  • CCRA.L.4
  • CCRA.R.1
  • CCRA.R.4

Content Areas 

  • ELA
  • Math
  • Science
  • Social Studies

Learning Strands 

  • Listening
  • Numeracy
  • Reading
  • Speaking
  • Writing

Keyword Mnemonics

Through this activity students create an association with a familiar word and an image to assist in remembering sets of information. This process develops students’ metacognition, and helps them to become more mindful and effective in their studying

Lesson Plan Stages 

  • Investigation
  • Reflection

Responsibility Pie Charts

In this activity, adapted from Gallagher’s Deeper Reading (2004), students analyze which characters in a text, or participants in a historic event, are most responsible for an outcome. They will assign a value to each character or participant and represent their responsibility in a pie chart. Each group will present and defend their values to...

Lesson Plan Stages 

  • Investigation
  • Synthesis

Author Says, I Say, So

This activity provides a highly structured way for students to identify, organize, and process their reactions to a text. It facilitates students’ ability to react meaningfully to a text, and then to draw logical conclusions based both on their opinions and on the information in the text.

Lesson Plan Stages 

  • Investigation
  • Reflection