Saturday, December 1, 2012

Teaching Your Students Blooms Taxonomy: A Gateway to Projects Based Math

This past weekend, I attended a workshop run by a married couple that I consider great mentors of mine, they constantly challenge my thinking and inspire me to take my class to the next level.

To make a long story short, I've been racking my brain thinking about how to create effective project based learning opportunities in mathematics that wouldn't just throw students out there, but would give them the tools they need to succeed. I had thought and experimented with various ideas, and was met with failure each time (of course, as a teacher trying new things, failure is ok, but you just have to keep going). I was beginning to feel like I'd hit a brick wall, and then I got the inspiration I needed. It comes in two words, BLOOMS TAXONOMY.

No, the inspiration wasn't for me to go home and brush up on the levels... I mean domains, so I can better reflect on my instruction, the inspiration was to teach my students Blooms, and how to move through the levels... I mean domains, on their own, and create their own learning. I can take absolutely no credit for this, but am pretty excited about it.

I'm obviously at the beginning stages here, but the first step is, of course, to teach my students the levels... er, domains (sorry, I always forget to use the new terminology, it won't happen again). If you're old school (older than 25... years old, not years of experience) then you probably still remember the Blooms domains as knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation at the top. BUT, there's a new list, and I like it much better. The terminology is much more kid friendly, and... well I'll just show you:

There it is, the new domains up next to the old domains.
What I like is that I always thought creating should be at the top, because when students are able to create something new and original (in their own mind) from the knowledge you have given them, or the knowledge they have obtained on their own, that's about as good as it gets in this world. 

So, I'm at step one, sharing this with my students, and having them practice creating their own work climbing up what we'll call the Blooms Ladder. If you'd like to join me on my journey, download and give one of the following documents to your students. These are kid friendly definitions of the Blooms domains, both in .doc format. I have both:



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