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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
Here’s a fun video using Seinfield to illustrate the levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy. I don’t necessarily think it’s as good as the Star Wars or Pirates of the Caribbean videos already on this list, but it’s fun. I can’t embed it here because that ability was disabled.
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:
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:
There’s been a recent flurry of activity by some to redesign Bloom’s Taxonomy by questioning whether “knowledge” should be at the bottom. Personally, I interpret knowledge being at the bottom not saying students shouldn’t prioritize learning and educators teaching it but, instead, suggesting that application of knowledge is harder to teach and learn. That, I think, is the key value in the taxonomy – reminding us to put effort into areas of learning that it is easy for teachers to avoid.
But I have a great deal of respect for the folks who have been raising this question, so I’m adding this info here: