Tuesday Teacher Tips

Higher Order Thinking and Bloom's Revised Taxonomy

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Accessing Higher Order Thinking with Bloom's Revised Taxonomy

Background - Changes to Bloom's

Warning: this part is a bit dry...(so if you skip down to the question stems and verb lists, I totally understand)

Back in early 2000, there were some significant shifts to the traditional Bloom's Taxonomy thanks to the work of Lorin Anderson and David Krathwol. In the revision there are a number of important changes that are aimed at helping teachers better help students achieve higher order thinking.

The first change is that there is a switch from the use of nouns to verbs to describe the cognitive processes. In Bloom's Original Taxonomy he identified the categories by the nouns: 1. Knowledge, 2. Comprehension, 3. Application, 4. Analysis, 5. Synthesis, 6. Evaluation. Anderson and Krathwol designated the categories using verbs: 1. Remembering, 2. Understanding, 3. Applying, 4. Analyzing, 5. Evaluating, 6. Creating.

You'll notice that one key shift is that Anderson and Krathwol switch evaluation and synthesis now called creation, placing greater emphasis on the higher order thinking that comes with synthesizing information so that new content or projects can be created.

In the original work, Bloom also identified that withing the cognitive processes, there were different knowledge dimensions: factual, conceptual and procedural. In Leslie Olsen Wilson's work "Anderson and Krathwol- Bloom's Taxonomy Revised" According to Wilson:

  • Factual Knowledge "refers to essential facts, terminology, details or elements students must know or be familiar with in order to understand a discipline"
  • Conceptual Knowledge "knowledge of classifications, principles, generalizations, theories, models, or structures pertinent to a particular disciplinary area."
  • Procedural Knowledge "refers to methods of inquiry, very specific or finite skills, algorithms, techniques, and particular methodologies."

Anderson and Krathwol add Metacognitive Knowledge dimension which Wilson explains as "strategic or reflective knowledge about how to go about solving problems, cognitive tasks, to include contextual and conditional knowledge and knowledge of self."

Knowledge Dimensions, which range from concrete to abstract, work directly with the cognitive processes, so that for each cognitive process (Revised Bloom's Verb) - you could have four separate objectives in a unit that meet one of the four Knowledge Dimensions. To see how this works, check out the interactive on Iowa State University's page "A Model of Learning Objectives" (really, it's good and it will clear up the confusion). This page also includes some great charts that include additional verbs you may use with each of the cognitive processes.

So, how can I incorporate more higher level thinking into my lesson plans?

As you plan your lessons, it would be extremely useful to refer to the Model of Learning Objectives (mentioned above) as just that - a model for your "I can statements" using the revised Bloom's process words.

You may also refer to any number of Revised Bloom's word lists and question stems like these:

How can I get my Students Writing their Own Higher Level Thinking Questions to enhance Student Voice?

Helping students understand how to ask good questions can go far in adding student voice to your class and engaging students in critical discussions across disciplines.

To do this (and improve metacognition), you may introduce students themselves to Bloom's Taxonomy along with Costa's Level of Inquiry (developed by Art Costa. In the Edutopia article "Stirring Students to Ask Tougher Questions" by Heather Wolpert-Gaworn she explains that Costa's Level of Inquiry makes Bloom's a little more accessible to students. There are three levels of questions:

  • Level 1 - Explicit - point to it type questions, where students can find answers directly in a text
  • Level 2 - Implicit questions that require inference and the students to draw conclusions
  • Level 3 - Experience based questions where students must also tap into prior knowledge and make judgement or predictions

Check out these resources for an idea of how it might work in the classroom for students:

Costa's Level of Inquiry - does a nice job of summarizing verbs and provides examples

Costa's Level of Questioning - does a good job of giving Key Words and Question Stems that may even be appropriate to share with students

Writing Higher Order Questions - (link below) is a Teaching Channel video that shows the method in action.

Technology and Higher Order Thinking

You can find a lot of information these days about how to implement technology into your curriculum along with Bloom's Taxonomy.

Kathy Shrock has a great guide - Bloomin' Apps that provides an overview of how Bloom's works with the SAMR model of technology integration. If you scroll down on the page, you will find a list of suggested apps based on the cognitive level in the revised Bloom's Taxonomy. Hover over those images for more information and links.

I have also done some work on the SAMR model and different ways to integrate technology using Bloom's as a guide in my post "SAMR Smash: Integrating iPads into Teaching and Learning Practices"

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