Autor: UNOi

Fecha: 11 de agosto de 2015

Planning & reaching objectives. Using Bloom’s Taxonomy to promote Critical Thinking

by Elaine Gallagher, PhD When writing effective and efficient plans, the key elements to include are “TW”, which is the abbreviation for: “Teacher Will”, and […]

Elaine Gallagher 13 cegby Elaine Gallagher, PhD

When writing effective and efficient plans, the key elements to include are “TW”, which is the abbreviation for: “Teacher Will”, and “SWBAT”, meaning “Student Will Be Able To”. The TW and SWBAT phases of planning must be based on observable verbs, keeping in mind Bloom’s Taxonomy.

 TW and SWBAT are simple techniques to apply. The idea isn’t new, but many teachers forget how important these two ítems are to include as a focus for positive results of teaching, both short and long-term lessons.

When you plan the lesson’s final objectives, assessment, or tests, in advance of your teaching, (“Backward Design”), and then plan your daily lessons, preparing students well in the topics to be taught, always describe what YOU, the teacher, will be doing to promote learning, (TW), as well as what you expect the student will be able to demonstrate at the end of the lesson, (SWBAT).

“TW expect that students can write three original paragraphs.”                 This is NOT a valid, useable, observable planning statement because we cannot get inside the teacher’s head to see what he/she really expects.

“TW demonstrate, orally, using pictures, ten vocabulary words to be included in the students’ writing project.”  This IS a valid, useable planning strategy because “demonstrate”  is observable.

Looking at the six levels of verb samples suggested in Bloom’s Taxonomy of Critical Thinking, you can vary the difficulty level and inspire the use of critical thinking by your students.

                                                  TW = Teacher Wil

                                                  SWBAT = Student Will Be Able To:

Below are eighteen samples of activities, three from each of the six levels of Bloom ?s Taxonomy.

KNOW

  • TW name the animals in the story, for students to identify.
  • TW identify six verbs in the paragraph for students to illustrate.
  •  TW demonstrate how to list words alphabetically.

UNDERSTAND

  • TW summarize the story, guiding students to use a mind map.
  • TW describe the characters in the story.
  • TW explain & demonstrate two ways of solving the problem.

APPLY

  • TW classify the words into “animals”, “minerals” or “plants”.
  • TW use multiplication to solve the math problem.
  •  TW show a map of the city.

ANALYZE

  • TW contrast the two historical leaders, Benito Juarez and Abraham Lincoln.
  • TW compare socialism, free enterprise, and communism, using a graphic.
  • TW distinguish between the two authors, Lois Lowry and Deborah Ellis.

ASSESS / EVALUATE

  • TW judge who’s the best artist.
  • TW ?prove that the answer to the math problem is correct.
  • TW debate with students on the topic of the economic value of slavery.

CREATE

  • TW design a new project for the students.
  • TW write his/her autobiography for an education magazine.
  • TW devise a new way of forming teams in her/his class.

As you can see, all of these actions are using observable, active verbs.  Non-observable verbs, such as think, understand, know, appreciate, believe, enjoy, or comprehend, should not be used, because they are NOT action verbs that others can see or measure. They occur inside your brain. Only observable verbs should be used for both TW and SWBAT activities.

When you write your plans, teachers, make sure you can see yourself doing the action described in your plans. It will make your teaching much easier because you’ll know what you are supposed to do with your students.

The same observable verbs need to be used with students’ learning. They need to exhibit their learning. Obviously, we can’t get into the students’ brains, so we’ll have to SEE if they are acquiring the learning expectations we have for them, as outlined in our assessments, or tests, (“back-mapping” or “backward design”), and in our planning for the lessons.

 

STUDENT WILL BE ABLE TO…(SWBAT)              (To do what?)

This phase of planning is based on observable actions to be exhibited by the student. “SWBAT” means that the student will be able to perform whatever skill is being mentioned in that phase of the lesson, as described by SWBAT..

We cannot teach a student to “appreciate art and music” because HOW can we really know what the student appreciates?

But we can see: “SWBAT identify paintings by Monet and Picasso.”

“SWBAT understand the multiplication process“ is NOT an acceptable task for a lesson plan because it’s impossible to observe if a student “understands” something or not. Student performance or production must be expected.

Acceptable is: ?“SWBAT solve correctly 3 word problems using multiplication with digits up to five.”?  This is an OBSERVABLE action based on student performance.

The same way, in the previous section, we scrolled through the six cognitive levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy for “TW”, we can do the same for students. Write your plans telling what the student will be able to do as a result of your lesson.

Looking at the six levels of verb samples suggested in Bloom’s Taxonomy of Critical Thinking, you can vary the difficulty level and expand the critical thinking of your students.  Below are eighteen samples, three from each of the six levels of the taxonomy.

KNOW

  • SWBAT name the animals in the story.
  • SWBAT identify six verbs in the paragraph.
  •  SWBAT list the words alphabetically.

UNDERSTAND

  • SWBAT summarize the story.
  • SWBAT describe the main characters in the story.
  • SWBAT compare two ways of solving the problem.

APPLY

  • SWBAT classify the words into “animals”, “minerals” or “plants”.
  • SWBAT use multiplication to solve the math problem.
  • SWBAT illustrate a map of the city.

ANALYZE

  • SWBAT compare two historical leaders, Gen. Franco (Spain) & Benito Juarez.
  • SWBAT contrast free enterprise with communism.
  • SWBAT distinguish between the two authors, Victor Hugo and ee cummings.

ASSESS / EVALUATE

  • SWBAT judge which is the best script and give reasons for the choice.
  • SWBAT prove that the answer to the math problem is correct.
  • SWBAT debate the pros and cons of child labor.

CREATE

  • SWBAT design a palace based on the Taj Mahal.
  • SWBAT write his/her autobiography.
  • SWBAT devise a new board game, based on Monopoly, Clue, or Chess.

As you can see, all of these actions are using observable, active verbs. Verbs such as think, understand, know, believe, enjoy, appreciate, or comprehend, are not action verbs that others can see or measure. They occur inside your students’ brains.

Passing tests that use multiple-choice or true-false to check students’ knowledge has little educational value. They ARE easy to correct, but how much can they tell you about what the student actually knows is questionable; however,  observing if your students can actually DO something (written, oral, or by actions) will tell you if they truly learned what you had taught.

SWBAT means “Student Will Be Able To…..”  Take that phrase seriously, teachers, because by basing your expectations, tests, assessments, and reports on students’ progress, that you are able to observe, you’ll really know what your students learned.? The actions and activities you choose can support students’ academic, emotional, and social growth.

So, what do you do to make planning effective and efficient?

  1. FIRST: Write your final expectations, a test, an exam, an oral presentation, or project. (Backward-design model)
  2. Have an appropriate rubric ready, if you need one for the activity, allowing students to see the final expectations, before they begin working.
  3. Teach the activities as indicated by your plans (TW and SWBAT).
  4. Provide a final assessment, based on #1 in this list.

SEE HOW EASY IT IS TO PLAN WELL!

EACH TERM YOU’LL IMPROVE, AND YOUR STUDENTS WILL, TOO!

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