The Depth and Complexity Icons from Sandra Kaplan are a wonderful way to encourage learners to go beyond surface level thinking and dive deep in order to truly understand a concept, idea, or strategy. I used the icons in my own classroom and have shared them with teachers as a way to encourage deep understanding in their own classrooms. If you want to know more about each icon and how to use them, check out Why I Love Depth and Complexity and You Should Too from Gifted Guru or Introducing Depth and Complexity from Ian Byrd.
There were many times in my classroom that I wanted students to use the icons to think about something that we were learning, discussing, or reading. I would often just draw out of a bucket so that they knew which icon I was going to ask them to use. I wanted them to experience all of the icons and while sometimes I was intentional about weaving in specific icons, I also loved the idea of randomizing the icons. I recently began to think about how convenient it might be to have the icons connected to a randomized QR code. So, I did some research, learned a ton from Tony Vincent about how to create randomized QR codes, and made it happen. I wanted to share with you guys so that you can use this in your classroom to help your learners dive deep as they move beyond surface level to move toward deep understanding.
The PNG of the QR code is below. Feel free to use it or the link to give your learners access to the randomized icons.
Below are some suggestions for using the random Depth and Complexity Icons:
1. During reading time, ask students at random times to stop reading, scan the code, and share something about the book related to the icon that they are given.
2. Ask students to scan the code as they come into class. All day, they will connect their learning to that icon regardless of the content area.
3. Copy and paste the Bitly address into Google Classroom. Ask students to click the link throughout the day to think deep about specific concepts and ideas.
4. Use the Depth and Complexity Icons as a prompt for reflection. Check out this post from Ian Byrd to learn more.
5. Ask students to scan the code twice and combine the icons to make connections and think deeper than before. You could also give the opportunity for collaboration here by asking students to work together with their own icons to make connections and share ideas.
These are just a few thoughts to get you started. There are so many ways to incorporate the icons into what you do in your classroom every single day. If you haven’t used the icons before, take some time to learn about them and consider how they might work for you and your learners. If you have used them, consider how the randomized code might add some variety and new perspective.
Feel free to share your ideas in the comments below. I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas!