Applying Icons

 Applying Icons of Depth and Complexity and Content Imperatives

New! Envision Gifted. Veterans Day Frame

Most students don’t understand the background of Veterans Day and simply take for granted that they get a day off from school.  Help your students learn the history and build appreciation for the holiday.

There are three different versions of the frame to download, including one blank so students can write their own questions. Download Veteran’s Day Frames (3 versions).

Veterans Day Frames

Background information on Veterans Day can be found at the Department of Veterans Affairs


Envision Gifted. Depth and Complexity HalloweenEnvision Gifted. Dia de los Muertos

Download Frame Dia de los muertos 3-Sided Frame

Want more Halloween resources and art? 

Apply Depth and Complexity- Oscar’s Enormous Purr

Envision Gifted. Image of template for Oscar's Enormous Purr
Apply Depth and Complexity- Oscar’s Enormous Purr

Have students apply the icons of depth and complexity to the 2nd Grade HM read aloud, Oscar’s Enormous Purr by Jeanne Richardson Rondoe.  Guided by the teacher, students identify words and details (actions) from the story to determine the perspective of the characters in the story.  They also identify the perspective of the main character, Oscar, and how his perspective is related to other characters in the story.  Finally, students will determine  how and why the perspectives of the characters change over time.

Image of teacher model. Oscar's Purr. Depth and Complexity

Teacher Model- Depth and Complexity Oscar’s Enormous Purr

Teach Students to “Read” the Cover of a Book Using Depth and Complexity Icons
Image of Depth and Complexity applied to Mean Jean the Recess Queen
We all know the importance of having students read the title and look at the cover of book.  Don’t stop there!  Consider pushing them one step further by using the elements of Depth and Complexity.  So you notice the title… but what does it mean?  What about the details in the pictures?  Beyond being entertaining, what do they tell us?  What can we learn from the cover before we open the book?  Click on the details icon to read more.
Think about the power this gives a student before reading.  This sets the stage, because they already have a general understanding of the plot before the first page.  This frees up cognitive energy to understand the story and its message at a deeper level.
Consider the importance of words in a title.  The Recess Queen: “Queen” is an important word in this title that reveals a great deal about the story. A queen rules things.
When I look closely at the details of the pictures, I can tell which character is the queen (the one wearing the crown!). I can gather a lot of information from the details that tell me not only about her demeanor, but also the perspectives of the other students around her. This girl obviously rules the playground.  It is fairly easy to predict the conflict without even opening the book.

What’s in a Name?

Image Picture Book The Other Side. Title

Image of Book: Call it Courage. Title reveals theme.

Image of language of the discipline and gold rush.

Using Depth and Complexity Icons to Better Understand Ourselves and Influence How We Treat Others
Depth and Complexity Impact we have on ourselves and others
I opened this lesson by introducing the rationale that by looking at situations through multiple perspectives helps us understand the impact we have on ourselves and each other.
We are what we repeatedly do.  Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit“.   These words, from Aristotle help to remind students to build good habits and work toward excellence.  This striving for excellence should be an overall mentality and not isolated to how students perform academically. Students need to be reminded of the tremendous power they have as individuals. Their behavior, good or bad, may have a rippling impact beyond what they imagine. In fact, how we treat others says a great deal about who we are as people.

Together we examined how rules (both written and unwritten) serve a purpose.   We also looked at how words have the power to impact others, and the importance of patterns in behavior.  After going through this process as a class (seen left), students responded in writing to what it meant to them.

Close Read Images Using Depth and Complexity Icons

Envision Gifted. Close read image with Depth and Complexity. Men voting. Woman left out.

Envision Gifted. Close read image. Ants working together. Close read a image use Depth and complexity.

Envision Gifted. Multiple Perspectives

Download File  Multiple Perspectives Blank

By the Great Horn Spoon – Jack’s Perspective vs Aunt Arabella

Multiple Perspectives Jack Great Horn Spoon

Envision Gifted. Multiple Perspectives Jack Great Horn Spoon Template

Using Multiple Critical Thinking Tools of Depth and Complexity and Content Imperatives

A great example of how students used the depth and complexity critical thinking tools to gain a deeper understanding of a concept.   This was a project completed by two 5th grade students.  Notice how they integrated ethical issues, change over time, and contribution, among others.

Image of Paul Revere Poster Depth and Complexity
Image of Paul Revere Content Imperatives
Image of Paul Revere Ethics

Students used multiple depth and complexity and content imperative tools to analyze the story, Ben and Me.


Depth and Complexity and Content Imperatives for Ben and Me

Depth and Complexity and Content Imperative Frames



More Depth and Complexity and Content Imperatives

Frames of Knowledge Double Frame with Depth and Complexity

Download the file here. Double Frame With Depth and Complexity

Envision Gifted. Analyze Broken Patterns