Monday, September 1, 2008

Higher Level Thinking

When our children are small, we start with the very basics- simple words, colors, 123s and ABCs, but as they grow and their thinking develops, there are things that you can do with your little ones to encourage higher level thinking. When I was a teacher, I would often use Bloom's Taxonomy of Thinking to guide me when planning activities for my students. I wanted to be sure that the tasks required would stretch not only their knowledge base, but their thinking. Bloom's model arranges different level of thinking in sequential order, starting with knowledge and moving up to synthesis. I listed them below from highest to lowest.

most difficult level of thinking that requires original/creative thinking

Evaluation: judging information

studying something separately and thinking about how it relates to whole

Application: apply knowledge from one situation to another- your child builds a tower with legos and says it looks like a building he/she has learned about.

Comprehension:understanding of concepts- Retells story in own words.

Knowledge: recalling or knowing something- Example: Your child tells you that a frog is an amphibian.

Okay, so you may be thinking: My child is only four and can barely tie a shoe, how am I going to have them analyze or evaluate things?? Don't worry, I am going to list some suggestion on how incorporate these levels of thinking into your daily activities. I'll start with knowledge and then work my way up to synthesis activities, so here goes!

Memorize simple songs and rhymes with your child. This will help them with beginning reading and communication skills. My children would memorize simple books and it would build confidence in their abilities. "Look, Mama-I'm reading!" Even though this is at the bottom of the taxonomy it is very important. Children need knowledge to learn and to apply the higher levels of thinking.

Comprehension: While reading a story to your child, ask them questions. Have them retell you the story in their own words. Kids get excited about new movies that come out in the theatres. Have them share their favorite part and discuss the plot with them. Question your child about what they have learned in school so that they can explain new concepts.

Application: Cooking with your kids would involve application. They would need to apply basic math skills to follow a recipe. Using maps and charts also involves the use of this level of thinking. My girls are very curious about maps and globes. Use maps to apply other information learned. Where do they live in relationship to the rest of the country, the world? Where do interesting animals live? Show them the different continents and discuss the countries that reside there. Have your child use clay to create model of something newly learned.

Analysis: Have your child compare and contrast different things. How is a frog and turtle alike? How are they different? Compare and contrast different characters in a story? How are they like your child? How are the characters different? etc. Analogies are also great. Often, I would do analogies with my students. One day, I was reviewing a packet of analogies when my daughters asked me if they could try them. I was surprised that they were able to think about the relationships between words so young. For example, I would say Sun is to yellow, as Grass is to..... They would answer Green. Okay, it seems simple, but it requires thinking to figure out the relationship. Another example would be- Fur is to bear as _________ is to bird- answer: feathers
Analogies for Beginners

Evaluation: Have your child give their opinion about something. Which game do they like better? Why? Which book is their favorite and why? If they could change the end of the story, how would they make it different?

Synthesis: My girls love to create something new out of junk. This level of thinking really requires your child to use their imagination to create something new. Writing a story or song with your child would require using this level of thinking. My six year old loves to write songs and then uses her acoustic guitar to sing them. Who know maybe we have a future star on our hands? Ha, Ha!

Adapted information on Bloom's Taxonomy from
by Susan Winebrenner


ParentingPink said...

Wow - I think I actually learned something :-) This is a really well written and thoughtful post. I'd forgotten all about Bloom's! I appreciated the examples - helps me put it into practice with my own daughters.

Oh, btw, thanks for your comment on my "Walmart" post. I know it sounds crazy, but it actually works...sometimes! LOL.

Jen said...

Thanks!! My girls weren't too happy with me when I was writing it this morning! "Why are you spending so much time blogging??" my 6 year old whined. Boy do they know how to make Mom feel guilty!

Jyl @ MommyGossip said...

Love the tips here. Can always use new ideas. I'll check out your blog more often.

Jen said...

jyl- Thanks for checking out my new blog! I'm having fun writing it and sharing with others. I hope you'll find more helpful ideas!!

WiseOwlFactory said...

Bloom's is so helpful. Many times only the simple thinking skills are used in classes. Thanks!

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