Thursday, July 02, 2009

Yesterday I found something out about Bloom's Taxonomy, so familiar to teachers and so often referred to when an administrator is exhorting us to raise test scores by calling on students to use Higher Order Thinking in our classroom activities. I found out that a student of Bloom's got together with some other Bloomies in the nineties and revised his taxonomy! No one told me! Why wasn't I told? Why, just last fall, a consultant advised us to present our essential learnings as, "what students need to know and be able to do," which is no longer kosher.

This development emerged in the nineties: an email should have been sent to the alumnae of all teaching colleges and school of ed grad students. Changes to that taxonomy are like changes to the U.S. Tax Code, or changes to the Constitution! Big news! Sad that classroom teachers are the last to know. How could this problem (of classroom teachers in the trenches not getting really important research information) be rectified? A question for another day.

I'm happy to see that the taxonomy has been recast in verb forms, participles that show an active mind, an active student, rather than monumental concrete nouns that do not seem connected to classrooms with children in them. I'm happy to see that synthesis has become creating and that it has been moved to the top of the ladder as the highest form of cognitive process. The books I have been reading by Deepak Chopra and Miguel Ruiz also point to creating as the highest manifestation of spiritual existence. I love it when there is concordance within my studies.

I also love the interactive chart that Dianna Fisher came up with. "Click" and you've got an example of an appropriate activity for any level of cognitive process or knowledge dimension. I also like the way the Encyclopedia of Education Technology differentiates between unclear objectives and better, revised objectives. Too many of ours, during curriculum alignment exercises, were written in the unclear form.

Once again, though, I must think about the idea that reading and writing are processes, not collections of facts. There is little that we work on, in reading and writing workshop, that my students need to name or remember. There is much for them to connect, apply, discern, judge. When I ask them to read, they must use those skills, those verbs, constantly. When I ask them to write, they are constantly judging, evaluating, creating.

My mind is clouding over...I am growing drowsy...
P.S. great article here, too.

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