'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.

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.

This short article has an even smaller Verb Chart that can serve as a reminder when planning lessons.

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

Memory

Understanding

Applying and Analyzing

More On Analyzing and Evaluating

Educational Origami has a wiki that is THE place to get ideas on how to relate technology to Bloom’s.

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

The New Jersey World Languages Curriculum Framework is a PDF document with a lot of interesting stuff. The most interesting item in it — by far — is a Bloom’s Taxonomy framework for language learners. It’s Figure 47. It lays-out teaching and learning strategies — specifically for language learners — for each level of the taxonomy.

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.

Developing Questions For Critical Thinking is an interactive site using a revised version of Bloom’s Taxonomy that was developing in the 1990’s. It seems like it has some very useful resources.

A Three Story Intellect! is a nice lesson plan teaching Bloom’s Taxonomy. It’s a PDF file.

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

I’ve just read an excellent post by George Couros titled Bloom’s Taxonomy and a Pen, which uses a pen as an analogy for explaining the different Taxonomy levels. It’s an excellent idea, and I’m kicking myself for not thinking of using an analogy before when we teach the Taxonomy in our ninth-grade English classes.

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.

This page has good info on Bloom’s Taxonomy, especially a nice animation you can see if you scroll down a little bit.

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

The ASCD In Service blog has republished two twenty-five year old interviews with Benjamin Bloom, creator of Bloom’s Taxonomy. They’re not specifically related to the Taxonomy, but they focus on two other very interesting topics — automaticity and talent development. Even thought they’re aren’t on the Taxonomy, I still think they’re worth being on this list.

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.

Developing Thinking Skills Through Higher-Level Questioning is an online presentation from the Ontario Ministry of Education.

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

A picture is worth a thousand thoughts: inquiry with Bloom’s taxonomy is the title of a very useful resource from Learn NC. It shows a photo, along with the original Bloom’s Taxonomy pyramid. By clicking on each thinking level, you are shown questions about the photo reflecting the level. It’s a very simple and visual way to teach Bloom’s Taxonomy, and can easily be replicated as a student assignment in any classroom. I like this interactive A LOT.

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

Teaching with the Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy from Northern Illinois University has some very nice hand-outs.

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.

26 Critical Thinking Tools Aligned With Bloom’s Taxonomy is from Global Digital Citizen.