Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Higher Level Questioning

We learned about Bloom's Taxonomy in college and occasionally they will reference it in a training or workshop. I think it's a hard thing to consciously implement in the classroom. I wasn't even aware the wording had changed for those top levels of thinking. The levels now highest to lowest are:

Create, Evaluate, Analyze, Apply, Understand and Remember.

I believe they are all important strategies. I'll never forget my first year teaching when I tried so hard to make all my oral comprehension questions higher-level and then when my kids took the required tests the questions were more like-what color was the house? I think you have to spend equal amounts of time on getting to all levels; however the goal is to get them thinking as critically as possible. My summer homework this year is to take my read-aloud books and identify questions I can ask. I write them right inside the front cover so I'll have them for reference because it's hard for me to even think deeply on the spot sometimes. I'm going to post some examples as I go along.

Getting to those higher levels I think is especially difficult in the younger grades-particularly Kindergarten. It's not that they aren't capable; it's just that no one has ever required them to do it before. I've posted previously about how frustrating even teaching the concept of compare and contrast is to kiddos this young. They just can't wrap their little heads around what you are asking them. But you have to push them to that level!

One read-aloud I can practically recite by heart: Where the Wild Things Are, possible comprehension questions/discussions/activities from least to highest levels of thinking:

Why did Max get in trouble?
What were some of the changes to his room?
Is this story real or make-believe? Why?
Did Max really travel anywhere?
What was the pattern in the story?
How do you think Max felt when he met the Wild Things?
Why do you think Max left?
What do you think the Wild Things did after he left?
What do you think Max learned from his journey?
If you were Max what would you have done?
Was it right for Max to leave the Wild Things?
You are a Wild Thing, how do you see the world from your perspective.
Create the world you might go to in your imagination?
Create a new version of the story using a different adjective instead of Wild, how does that change the story? (My kids loved this activity by the way-we had Where the Stinky Things Are, Where the Beautiful Things Are...).
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  1. I admire your efforts to emphasize critical thinking and H.O.T questions. I agree that it's important to start implementing it as early as possible.

  2. Wow- cannot wait to see what else you share. I will have to reread this with my son and ask these questions!