Friday, September 14, 2012

Which Level of Bloom's Am I Teaching?

Recently I have been developing a few new units based on Bloom's and came across a question as to which level of Bloom's a certain activity would fall into. I wanted to incorporate a photographic essay (here is a link to wikipedia's page on Photo-essays if you'd like to learn more about them) into my unit and thought that it would fall into Application, but I wasn't completely sure. Let me give you some background... I was a history major in college and no, not the "I'm going to be a teacher" history major. I was the "I'm taking history because I like it and it will be an easy degree to help get me into Law School." The point of that background info is... although I have experience with Bloom's, I am still learning and in no way an "expert."

I took the photo-essay question to our resident expert on Bloom's
and we got into a discussion. She thought it was Synthesis because you are "creating" something new or putting parts together in a new way. I was pushing Application because you are taking photos/illustrations, putting them into a logical order, and retelling things you have already learned. We came to an impasse. She told me that I should take this to a higher power - our true "expert" on Bloom's Dodie Merritt and this is what I received back from her:

Tyler --

What's the cognitive focus of the task? If it's to demonstrate understanding, then Application. If a new and different understanding of the cognitive focus develops from changing or combining key elements, then Synthesis.

Photographic Essay ... most likely Application.

Be nice.

Seriously? Cognitive focus of the task? I was not an education major and don't have the background to delve into cognitive focus. I read the email a couple of times and decided to ignore the first part and concentrate on the second: "Photographic Essay... most likely Application." Woohoo! I was right! I immediately forwarded this to our resident expert to show off my "win." This was meant in a fun way, I wasn't trying to rub it in or anything. :) Trust me, she's been right so many more times than I have when it comes to these types of things that I deserve the win. She is still our resident expert but I'm creeping up on her!!

Sometimes there are clear answers and sometimes not. No matter how much we think we know about something, there will always be times when we have to ask questions. Ask your resident expert, pose the question to a group of colleagues, or ask me! Post any questions you have and I will help in any way possible.

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