Using Blooms Taxonomy in classrooms.

What is Blooms Taxonomy? Just as a reminder this is wikipaedias entry.

Bloom’s taxonomy is a way of distinguishing the fundamental questions within the education system. It is named after Benjamin Bloom, who chaired the committee of educators that devised the taxonomy. He also edited the first volume of the standard text,Taxonomy of Educational Objectives: The Classification of Educational Goals.Blooms_taxonomy

Bloom’s taxonomy refers to a classification of the different objectives that educators set for students (learning objectives). It divides educational objectives into three “domains”: cognitive, affective, and psychomotor (sometimes loosely described as “knowing/head”, “feeling/heart” and “doing/hands” respectively). Within the domains, learning at the higher levels is dependent on having attained prerequisite knowledge and skills at lower levels. A goal of Bloom’s taxonomy is to motivate educators to focus on all three domains, creating a more holistic form of education.

Bloom’s taxonomy is considered to be a foundational and essential element within the education community.A mythology has grown around the taxonomy, possibly due to many people learning about the taxonomy through second hand information. Bloom himself considered the Handbook “one of the most widely cited yet least read books in American education”.

blooms_taxonomy2

What does this look like in the classroom?

Teachers can move students towards more complicated work by using questions. These can sometimes be difficult to think of on the spot, but I used to write myself some when working through lesson plans and then use them when appropriate through the lesson. The first questions we think of start usually are usually factual questions e.g. Who? What? Where? and occasionally which one? These just have one type of answer and can often be determined by the way the question is asked, or are obviously right or wrong.

However to develop the students understanding and skills further as teachers we need to use questioning techniques that support and show more in depth understanding.

To support students further, we need to start to think about what we want them to know in order that we can question effectively. so for example if we want them to evaulate more effectively our questioning should move towards  asking them to explain,

  • What does that mean? or
  • what might be happening?
  • what is meant by what was said ?

and then on towards evaluative questioning e.g.

  • Which is the best? Why?
  • What would happen if ….?
  • What do you think are the advantages of x over y ?
  • How do you feel about (changing the voting age to 16)? Why?
  • Compare and contrast (often seen in exam papers)
  • What are the similarities/differences in …

or predictive questioning

  • How might this?
  • How would you test this?

For example in Technology you could say

  • Describe the food, explain how it was made.
  • Compare it with other similar products
  • Develop ways of improving this design

alternatively in Science you could say

  • Describe the experiment
  • Explain the process
  • Compare with another similar experience
  • predict what might happen if we change x or y

This is how it may look when you now look at asking questions. Here are the verbs from Blooms Taxonomy to support you in generating questions.

Cognitive Level

Illustrative Verbs

Definitions

Knowledge arrange, define, describe, duplicate, identify, label, list, match, memorize, name, order, outline, recognize, relate, recall, repeat, reproduce, select, state remembering previously learned information
Comprehension classify, convert, defend, discuss, distinguish, estimate, explain, express, extend, generalize, give example(s), identify, indicate, infer, locate, paraphrase, predict, recognize, rewrite, report, restate, review, select, summarize, translate grasping the meaning of information
Application apply, change, choose, compute, demonstrate, discover, dramatize, employ, illustrate, interpret, manipulate, modify, operate, practice, predict, prepare, produce, relate schedule, show, sketch, solve, use write applying knowledge to actual situations
Analysis analyze, appraise, breakdown, calculate, categorize, classify, compare, contrast, criticize, derive, diagram, differentiate, discriminate, distinguish, examine, experiment, identify, illustrate, infer, interpret, model, outline, point out, question, relate, select, separate, subdivide, test breaking down objects or ideas into simpler parts and seeing how the parts relate and are organized
Synthesis arrange, assemble, categorize, collect, combine, comply, compose, construct, create, design, develop, devise, explain, formulate, generate, plan, prepare, propose, rearrange, reconstruct, relate, reorganize, revise, rewrite, set up, summarize, synthesize, tell, write rearranging component ideas into a new whole
Evaluation appraise, argue, assess, attach, choose, compare, conclude, contrast, defend, describe, discriminate, estimate, evaluate, explain, judge, justify, interpret, relate, predict, rate, select, summarize, support, value making judgments based on internal evidence or external criteria
Advertisements

Of Mice and Men – Who is talking?

Encourage the learners to know the text by using these sentences and phrases to explain who is talking and to also e.xplain the context

‘I ain’t sure it’s good water, … looks kinda scummy.’

‘I remember about the rabbits, George.’

‘God a’mighty, if I was alone I could live so easy.’

‘Guys like us, that work on ranches, are the loneliest guys in the world.’

‘Hide in the brush until I come for you. Can you remember that?’

‘I wrote Murray and Ready I wanted two men this morning.’

‘…what stake you got in this guy? You takin’ his pay away from him?’

‘I seen ’em poison before, but 1 never seen no piece of jail-bait worse than her.’

‘Hell of a nice fella, but he ain’t bright.’

‘You seen a girl around here?’

‘He’ll want to sleep right out in the barn with ’em,’

‘What’d he do in Weed?’

‘We can’t sleep with him stinkin’ around in here.’

‘George, why is it both end’s the same?’

‘I could cook and tend the chickens and hoe the garden some.’

‘Leggo of him Lennie, let go.’

‘This punk sure had it coming to him.’

‘Gonna get a little place an’ live on the fatta the lan’.’

‘A guy can talk to you an’ be Sure you won’t go blabbin’.’

‘I tell ya a guy gets too lonely, an’ he gets sick’

‘You bindle bums think you’re so damn good.’

‘I could get you strung up on a tree so easy it ain’t even funny.’

‘Why do you got to get killed? You ain’t so little as mice.’

‘I coulda made somethin’ of myself.’

‘I done a bad thing. I done another bad thing.’

‘I’ll shoot ‘im in the guts.’

‘He been doin’ nice things for you alla time’

‘Never you mind … A guy got to sometimes.’

‘Now what the hell do you suppose is eatin’ them two guys?’

Revision Guide

Revision is always at the front of our minds when exams are looming but generally loses its way as those exams seem further and further away. I wonder whether if revising earlier with more time between would help memory retrieval on the day.  This can only get more important now as more exams change from being modular to one shot on the day and that’s that.

This blog by David Cox is really interesting and challenges some of the tried and tested ways  of old and makes we think maybe we need to teach our children a different way to revise. Not only that it scientifically all makes sense.

A neuroscience student harnesses his knowledge to advise fellow students about memorising information

Here are some excerpts…

How does it work? Information is transmitted by brain cells called neurons. When you learn something new, a group of neurons activate in a part of the brain called the hippocampus. It’s like a pattern of light bulbs turning on.

Your hippocampus is forced to store many new patterns every day. This increases hugely when you are revising. Provided with the right trigger, the hippocampus should be able to retrieve any pattern. But if it keeps getting new information, the overworked brain might go wrong. That’s what happens when you think you’ve committed a new fact to memory, only to find 15 minutes later that it’s disappeared again

and his seven suggestions

Forget about initial letters

Teachers often urge students to make up mnemonics – sentences based on the initial letters of items you’re trying to remember. Trouble is, they help you remember the order, but not the names.

Repeat yourself

Pathways between neurons can be strengthened over time. Simple repetition – practising retrieving a memory over and over again – is the best form of consolidating the pattern.

Use science to help you retrieve info

Science tells us the ideal time to revise what you’ve learned is just before you’re about to forget it. And because memories get stronger the more you retrieve them, you should wait exponentially longer each time – after a few minutes, then a few hours, then a day, then a few days. This technique is known as spaced repetition.

This also explains why you forget things so quickly after a week of cramming for an exam. Because the exponential curve of memory retrieval does not continue, the process reverses and within a few weeks, you have forgotten everything.

Take regular breaks

Breaks are important to minimise interference. When your hippocampus is forced to store many new (and often similar) patterns in a short space of time, it can get them jumbled up.

The best example of this is when you get a new telephone number. Your old number is still so well-entrenched in your memory that remembering the new one is a nightmare. It’s even worse if the new one has a few similarities to the old.

Plan your revision so you can take breaks and revise what you’ve just learned before moving on to anything new.

Avoid distractions

Attention is the key to memorising. By choosing to focus on something, you give it a personal meaning that makes it easier to remember. In fact, most of our problems when it comes to revision have very little to do with the brain’s capacity for remembering things; we just struggle to devote our full attention to the task in hand.

Playing music while revising will make your task harder, because any speech-like sounds, even at low volume, will automatically use up part of the brain’s attention capacity.

Sleep is vital

We spend approximately a third of our lives sleeping and it’s never as important as during revision time. Sleep plays a critical role in memory consolidation – this is when the brain backs up short-term patterns and creates long-term memories. The process is believed to occur during deep sleep, when the hippocampal neurons pass the patterns of activity to another part of the brain called the neocortex, which is responsible for language and the generation of motor commands.

Recent research in Nature Neuroscience has shed new light on how memories are decluttered and irrelevant information is deleted during this process. This results in the important memories (the pathways that have been strengthened through repetition) becoming easier to access.

Control your emotions

We remember emotionally charged events far better than others, and this is especially the case if the emotion was a positive one. It is not always possible to have warm feelings about your revision, but if you can associate a particular fact with a visual, auditory or emotional experience from the past, then you have a better chance of remembering it, as you have created multiple pathways for retrieval.

Try to reduce anxiety, because it uses up working memory, leaving a much smaller capacity available for processing and encoding new information.