Authentic Lessons for 21st Century Learning

What? So What? Now What?

Cacey Wells | Published: September 16th, 2020 by K20 Center


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What? So What? Now What?

Use this strategy as a method of reflection on a lesson, topic, or learning objective. The purpose is to allow students a scaffolding to reflect in a deeper manner than simply recalling what they did.

What? So What? Now What?


This instructional strategy allows students to reflect in a meaningful manner to construct better meaning of material being taught in class. As a modification, you can easily turn this into a small-group discussion. Simply have students share in rounds. Listeners can ask clarifying questions if they need to.


  1. Ask students to write "What? So What? Now What?" on their papers, leaving space between each question. Teachers may also create a template if they so choose.

  2. What? - In this section, students recall what they did in a concise manner. What did they do? What are they working on?

  3. So What? - In this section, students articulate why they did what they did. Why is this important to me? Why does this matter?

  4. Now What? - In this section, students write out the applications of what they did. How does this apply to my learning? What implications does this have?

Thompson-Grove, G. (2012). What? So what? Now what? School Reform Initiative: A Community of Learners. Retrieved from