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This strategy provides a structure for students to record their own comprehension and summarize their learning. It also gives teachers the opportunity to identify areas that need re-teaching, as well as areas of student interest.

How to use

1. Three

After the lesson, have each student record three things he or she learned from the lesson.

2. Two

Next, have students record two things that they found interesting and that they’d like to learn more about.

3. One

Then, have students record one question they still have about the material.

4. Review

Finally, the most important step is to review the students’ responses. You can use this information to help develop future lessons and determine if some of the material needs to be taught again.

*For Primary Grades PK-1, this strategy should be used in whole-group rather than as an independent task, with the teacher charting ideas. Of course, since many children will want to participate, there might be more than 3-2-1 ideas/questions in each section.

When to use

Use Three-Two-One at any time during a lesson to encourage students to think about their learning:

  • As a Check for Understanding during any portion of the lesson
  • During class discussions as a way for students to record their thoughts
  • As a closing activity so that students can review what was learned in the lesson
  • As an exit ticket at the end of the class period


Compare and Contrast 3-2-1

As a way to compare and contrast, have students record three similarities between two items, two differences, and one question they still have about them.

Reading 3-2-1

When reading, have students record three of the most important ideas from the text, two supporting details for each of the ideas, and one question they have about each of the ideas.

Pyramid 3-2-1

Have the students create a triangle and divide it into three sections horizontally. In the bottom section, the students record three things they learned for the day. In the middle section, the students record two questions they have. In the top section, the students describe how the information learned is applicable to their everyday lives.

Academic Vocabulary 3-2-1

To increase comprehension and use of academic language, ask students to explore a concept through 3-2-1. First, have them speak with a partner. Provide the structure for 3 minutes of conversation using targeted academic language. Then, ask students to write 2 sentences using the language. Finally, have students read 1 paragraph which contains the targeted vocabulary.

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