Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Blooms Wheel and Blooms words - plan your activities thoughtfully

Blooms taxonomy has been around for a long time, and educators have found many creative ways to use it.  One way that I find it to be the most useful is in writing learning objectives.  In my mind, I have an idea of what I'd like students to know at the end of a lesson or activity, but using Blooms words helps me to really be specific about what kind of learning I'd like to happen, and then I can start planning for how to make that happen.

For example, let's say I'm teaching a unit on the fall of the Roman Empire to middle schoolers.  At the end of the unit, there are a lot of connections I'd like them to make.  I'd like them to understand that the fall of the Empire was not due to a single factor, such as bad management, but the culmination of several things that all led it down a path to it's destruction.  I'd like them to see that these factors can be common patterns that repeat in history.

How can you use this in your classroom?

Let's look at the active learning verbs I've used in my above example - "understand" and "see".  At the end of the day, I'm not really clear about how I'll make this kind of learning happen.  However, when I look at Blooms words (I like the Blooms Wheel, shared by MMI Web, an educational consulting group), I see words that turn on light bulbs for me, like "hypothesize", "explain", "dramatize", "distinguish", and "sequence".  These are words that help me to visualize specific instruction, projects, and activities that will generate the thinking needed for students to make these connections.

Another thing I like about the Blooms Wheel, is that it helps break down the Blooms words according to learning styles (creative thinkers, team workers), and includes a cool technology/art/project idea  element with lots of great suggestions (vodcast, sculpture, advertisement, photograph). 

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