Monday, December 9, 2013

Light up the room with Higher Order Thinking

Light up the room with Higher Order Thinking

A few of my colleagues and I have been discussing questioning and how we can form better questions for our classrooms.  We have put together some great resources that I believe could be very helpful to teachers or any professional who wants to improve their questioning techniques.

Bloom's Taxonomy
Bloom's Taxonomy has long been a great source for building better questions, especially when you are looking to approach a topic at multiple levels.  The taxonomy of questioning words is organized into a series of 6 tiers.

From low order to high order, the types of questions are:
  1. Knowledge
  2. Comprehension
  3. Application
  4. Analysis
  5. Synthesis
  6. Evaluation 
Here is a link to a resource that includes question stems build on verbs related to each of the tiers of questioning:  Bloom's Verbs with Question Stems  
adapted from:

Another Great Resource Explaining Bloom's with examples of activities related to each domain:

A few other great resources related to Blooms:

Depth Of Knowledge

Depth of Knowledge is a very similar application of verbs in a tiered format.  However, in Depth of Knowledge, there are only 4 tiers, 
  1. Recall
  2. Skill & Concept
  3. Strategic Thinking
  4. Extended Thinking

Here is the link to a chart I find very useful when writing learning targets (expected student outcomes, explaining what the student should be able to do by the end of the learning period)

Additional Useful Resources for Depth of Knowledge:

Developing Higher Order Thinking Questions

There are a lot of resources and information available for questioning verbs and starters, but they are just that.  We need to be able to apply them appropriately in the classroom for them to be effective.

I actually let my students in on how I choose the verbs for their learning targets, and even include the Depth of Knowledge or Blooms level in the target itself.  The one on my board at the moment reads as follows:  Scholars Will Be Able To Apply (DOK L.4) fingerings and knowledge of triad qualities in piano performance and composition.

I have found that this understanding of the questioning gives rise to a more clear understanding of the work and where they stand in mastery of the concept (see also my article: Why Do I Need to Learn This?)

I have also experimented with having the students develop their own HOT questions for their peers.  This is a wonderful activity, because it forces the students to apply their knowledge and the processes involved in the concepts at hand.  Moreover, they find it to be very fun, as they love challenging their peers, not realizing how they are challenging themselves at the same time.

With all of this information, The Little Bull has a couple of Challenges for you...

Design (Depth of Knowledge Level 4) a lesson that includes at least 1 Higher Order Thinking learning target and at least 1 HOT question.

Critique (Depth of Knowledge Level 4) and revise (Depth of Knowledge level 3) your previous lessons to include additional and differentiated HOT questions and learning targets.

Please continue the conversation below, or contact me directly by following the little bull:

1 comment:

  1. I suggest that you rework some of the questions -- "can you" prefixes invite a yes/no answer; not exactly consistent with higher order thinking.


Contact Me