'Bloom's Taxonomy as a wheel' photo (c) 2009, Doug Belshaw - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/

Bloom’s & SOLO ‘are not Just Colorful Posters we Hang on the Wall’ is my two-part series at Education Week Teacher.

The Best Resources For Supporting ELLs With Bloom’s Taxonomy

Bloom’s Taxonomy is talked about a lot in educational circles.  However, if you believe a recent survey of visits to 23,000 U.S. classrooms, the higher-order thinking skills it’s ideally designed to promote doesn’t get much use.

And I can understand why.

It’s easy to get caught-up in the day-to-day work involved in teaching a class or multiple classes, and it’s easy to fall into the trap of doing the “usual stuff” and not “think out of the box.”

I thought it might be useful to share in a  “The Best…” list the resources that help me try to use Bloom’s Taxonomy in my classroom.

There may very well be resources out there that do a far better job of explaining the Taxonomy and how to use it. However, a lot of them are caught up in academic jargon or are just not offered in a way that I find particularly usable.

I personally try to use Bloom’s Taxonomy in two ways. One, I have a big wall chart in the front of my classroom with a summary of each level of the Taxonomy and “question starters” for each of them. Since I spend a lot of time helping my students practice reading strategies, and one of them is asking questions, they can take advantage of the accessibility of this poster. After reviewing what the whole thing means, we discuss how — by practicing asking themselves the higher-level questions while they read a text — they can gain a deeper understand of its meaning.

In addition, I try to use Bloom’s to help me formulate my own lessons. In order to do that, I just need simple, accessible, and practical reminders that I can use. That’s what you’ll primarily find on this list.

Here are my choices for The Best Resources For Helping Teachers Use Bloom’s Taxonomy In The Classroom (most, though not all, are materials prepared by different school districts):

Here’s a Bloom’s Taxonomy chart that’s organized very simply, with many question-starters, and that I can keep on my desk or with my papers to help me remember the levels, questions, and practical activities that could go with them.

A blog called ESL School ran a series of posts last year on applying Bloom’s specifically to English Language Learners. Here are individual links to each of their posts:

Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy



Applying and Analyzing

More On Analyzing and Evaluating

Here’s an interesting Bloom’s Activity Analysis Tool.

Harry Tuttle has come-up with an intriguing way to evaluate student projects using Web 2.0 application.  I’d encourage you to read his post (and the comments section where he answers a question I left for him). He basically assigns each level of Bloom’s Taxonomy a number — the higher the level, the higher the number. He identifies the level the student achieved in his/her project, and then multiplies it by the number of days they worked on it.  It seems to me that this could be a useful formula.

The Differentiator is a cool online application designed to use Bloom’s Taxonomy and other similar thinking/planning “charts” to come-up with appropriate high-level student assignments (I’m sorry, I couldn’t think of any better way to describe it). Though I’m not that sure if it brings much more value than other sites on this list, it still belongs here just because it’s a cool-looking tool. Check it out and you’ll understand what I mean.

Educational Origami has created Six Quick Sheets For Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy.

A Taxonomy of Reflection: Critical Thinking For Students, Teachers, and Principals is a post by Peter Pappas where he tries to use Bloom’s Taxonomy as a frame to create reflective questions. It’s an interesting and useful idea.

You might want to read my post, “Bloom’s Taxonomy Book Review Questions.”

Joshua Coupal has created a very useful slideshow on the changes in Bloom’s Taxonomy and how it can be applied through digital tools. He used Prezi, and I know it looks cool and everything, but just have to say that I find Prezi distracting and disorienting. But, perhaps I’m just an old fuddy duddy.

Here’s a nice new (to me, at least) Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy — slightly different from the one that most are familiar with.

Bloomin’ Mathematics is a great post sharing ways to incorporate Bloom’s Taxonomy into teaching math.

Why Is It Important For Students To Learn About Bloom’s Taxonomy?

Do Students Think Learning About Bloom’s Taxonomy Is Useful?

BloomsApps is an intriguing, regularly changing collection of iPhone applications correlated to each level of Bloom’s Taxonomy. Thanks to Andrew P. Marcinek for the tip.

“Many great innovators asked better questions than everyone else…”

Near the end of the extensive Bloom’s Taxonomy lesson I describe in my book, I show some fun videos demonstrating the thinking levels through scenes from Star Wars and Pirates of the Caribbean:

I’ve previously posted about the Bloom’s Taxonomy of Reflection that Peter Pappas developed. I just discovered that he developed this excellent Prezi about it. I’d also strongly encourage you to read his post that explains it further, as well as one by Langwitches giving an example of how to apply it in the classroom.

K-5 iPad Apps to Evaluate Creating: Part Six of Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy is a series of useful posts at Edutopia.

Bloom’s Taxonomy and iPad Apps
is a useful post from Langwitches.

In my book, Helping Students Motivate Themselves, I have a very extensive lesson plan on Bloom’s Taxonomy. The lesson ends with students applying the Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy to The Three Little Pigs story. The Guardian newspaper in the UK published a short video imagining how the same story might play-out if it took place today. It’s pretty strange, but engaging. I’ve embedded it below, and think it could be a short and fun video to show students at the end of the lesson:

Sesame Street did their own version of the story as a parody of the House of Cards series. It could be used in the same way:


Kathy Schrock has put all her “Bloomin’ Apps” collection in one place.

Bloom’s taxonomy and English language learners is by Judie Haynes.

Flipping Bloom’s Taxonomy is from Powerful Learning Practice.

Do students need to learn lower-level factual and procedural knowledge before they can do higher-order thinking? is from Scott McLeod.

If Math Is Basketball, Let Students Play The Game is by Dan Meyer, and is just a very thoughtful commentary on teaching and applicable to all subjects. His comments can be applied to some recent additions I’ve made to this list questioning whether students have to start at lower levels of thinking in order to “build-up” to the higher ones, so I’m adding it here.

In my book, Helping Students Motivate Themselves, I include an extensive and engaging lesson plan on Bloom’s Taxonomy. There and in this “The Best” list, I also include discussions of the dangers of viewing it as a rigid pyramid that must be climbed rung-by-rung.

A new addition to that lesson plan, which I hadn’t gotten around to sharing here previously but which has worked well with students, is to show them different illustrations of Bloom’s Taxonomy and have them determine which they think is best and why (and to also give them the option of creating their own). I do this near the end of the lesson after they’re familiar with the different levels and the interplay between them.

It’s easy to find different versions on the Web by searching images with “Bloom’s Taxonomy,” but I thought readers might find it useful to see the ones I’ve used or am planning to use. Feel free to offer suggestions of other ones I’ve missed, too:

Blooming Circle

Flipped Bloom’s

Kathy Schrock’s Bloom’s As Gears

Bloom’s As Butterfly

Bloomin’ Peacock

The Common Core and Bloom’s Taxonomy is from Reach Common Ground.

A “Taxonomy For Understanding”

Critical Thinking Skills

I found this nice and simple Bloom’s Taxonomy Poster on Pinterest via Carla Arena. I believe, though I’m not sure, that teacher Jennifer Jones created it. She seems to have a number of useful materials on her site, so I’d encourage you to check it out.

“Are Harder Questions Better Than Easier Questions?” – A New Activity.

14 Brilliant Bloom’s Taxonomy Posters For Teachers is from Teach Thought.

This Is A Cool “A Taxonomy of Innovation” Interactive — I Wish I Understood It

44 Prompts Merging Reflective Thinking With Bloom’s Taxonomy is by Peter Pappas.

In yet another example of how much I do not know, I’ve recently learned about the Structure of the Observed Learning Outcome (SOLO), which can be characterized as an alternative to Bloom’s Taxonomy. I read about it at Peter DeWitt’s fine Education blog in his post, What’s Our Best Taxonomy? Bloom’s or SOLO?

I’ve spent a little time trying to understand it and, though I’m not persuaded a convincing case can be made that we need an alternative to Bloom’s, I thought it would be important to add information on it to this list, which continues to be the all-time most popular post on this blog and gets several hundred visits each day. In addition to Peter’s post, here are some other useful SOLO resources: I found this slide presentation at Ewan McIntosh’s blog, which also included several other helpful links:

Here’s a Prezi on it: And here’s a link to an intriguing visual representation of it.




iPadagogy Wheel

In this post, I include videos using Star Wars, Finding Nemo, Pirates of the Caribbean, and other movies to teach Bloom’s.

Here’s another such video, and this one uses scenes from Harry Potter. Unfortunately, it has embedding disabled, so you’ll have to go to the link on YouTube.

5 unfortunate misunderstandings that almost all educators have about Bloom’s Taxonomy. is by Grant Wiggins.

A Crash Course in Teaching with Apps That Align to Bloom’s Taxonomy is a BAM! episode hosted by Vicki Davis.

The Intersection of UDL and Bloom’s Taxonomy is a useful article by Elizabeth Stein at Middleweb.



The great Mia MacMeekin has created a Spanish version of her popular Bloom’s Taxonomy infographic (you can find the English version above). You can also see a bigger version at her site.


Here’s a decent introduction to Bloom’s:


Using Bloom’s Taxonomy with English Language Learners

To what extent does Bloom’s taxonomy actually apply to foreign language teaching and learning? is from The Language Gym.