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Bloom’s Taxonomy and iPad Apps

LearningToday shares with everyone two beautiful posters, that help us remember Bloom’s Taxonomy: the Blooming Butterfly and the Blooming Orange.

How do we connect the Bloom’s Taxonomy with the iPad?

Following inDave Mileham and  Kelly Tenkeley’s footsteps of assigning iPad apps to the different levels of the Bloom’s Taxonomy, I created the following table with apps that I have tested out and am recommending. (Click to see a larger version of the image)

In order to make the cut, the app had to fulfill the criteria (from Wikipedia and according to the Blooming Orange’s verbs) set out for each level. You will notice that several apps that are in the same app category (ex. screencasting: ShowMe, ScreenChomp and ExplainEverything) are represented on different levels of the Bloom’s. The explanation is that each one of the apps can be used for the different levels. It is not to say that the ShowMe app could not be used on the “Analyzing” level. Also, be aware that simply by using one of the above mentioned app DOES NOT mean that you are working on the specified thinking level. Ex. you could ask your students to use the ScreenChomp app to simply list and record themselves “remembering” facts that they previously had memorized.

I want to encourage/challenge you, to take a look at the iPad apps on YOUR iPad and to categorize these apps with the different thinking levels and THEN take the next step to SHARE your list with other educators. Leave a comment below to link to your list/graphic/table.

Remember: Exhibit memory of previously-learned materials by recalling facts, terms, basic concepts and answers.

  • describe
  • name
  • find
  • name
  • list
  • tell

Suggested apps:

Understand: Demonstrative understanding of facts and ideas by being able to:

  • explain
  • compare
  • discuss
  • predict
  • translate
  • outline
  • restate

Suggested Apps:

Apply: Using new knowledge. Solve problems to new situations by applying acquired knowledge, facts, techniques and rules in a different way

  • show
  • complete
  • use
  • examine
  • illustrate
  • classify
  • solve

Suggested Apps:

Analyze: Examine and break information into parts by identifying motives or causes. Make inferences and find evidence to support generalizations

  • compare
  • examine
  • explain
  • identify
  • categorize
  • contrast
  • investigate

Suggested Apps:

Evaluate: Present and defend opinions by making judgments about information, validity of ideas or quality of work based on a set of criteria

  • justify
  • assess
  • prioritize
  • recommend
  • rate
  • decide
  • choose

Suggested Apps


  • plan
  • invent
  • compose
  • design
  • construct
  • imagine

Suggested Apps:

Upgrade your KWL Chart to the 21st Century

One of the take aways from the Curriculum Mapping Institute this past week was that it brought an upgrade to THE trusted KWL (Know, What to Know and Learned) Chart to the forefront. It seems a no brainer…one of those things… “I should have thought about it”… So what is this upgrade all about?

An “H” snuck into the Acronym!

  • What does this “H” stand for”?
  • Why is this an upgrade for the 21st century?

I started out by searching Google, which immediately wanted to correct my search term and showed me  the traditional “KWL chart” results. I had to re-affirm that I indeed wanted to find out more about KWHL charts. (The nerve…!)

The  top search results turned out mostly downloadable files for templates, which was quiet interesting as there were several explanations in these tutorials what the “H” could stand for:

  • HOW can we find the answers to these questions?
  • HOW can we find out what we want to learn?
  • HOW did the learning take place?
  • HOW can we learn more?
  • HOW will we find the information?

In direct relation to our quest to bring Information literacy in the 21st century to our teachers and students, the “HOW will we find the information” sticks out right away for me. A chart, that points out “knowing HOW to get to information”, which  highlights essential skills in the Information age, seems of vital importance when planning lessons and units as well as teaching the process to our students.

My Twitter network was much better in helping me extend my search for KWHL.  The tweet from my friend Chic Foote from New Zealand even revealed a further extension by including “AQ” to the mix: Apply and Question.

OK, so we have doubled the length of the original acronym. We have a total of three new sections in the famous chart.

The search for “KWHLAQ” immediately took me to Maggie Hos-McGrane from Switzerland (How could I have not ended up at her excellent blog Tech Transformation? :) ) Maggie wrote a great explanation post about the letters that make up the Alphabet Soup- KWHLAQ.  Maggie is putting the acronym in relationship to the PYP (IB Primary Years Programme) model at her school? She assigns the following explanation to the three “new” letters in the acronym

H – How will we find out the answers to our questions?  Students need to think about what resources are available to help them find the answers.

A – What action will we take?  This is another way of asking how students are applying what they have learned.  Action is one of the 5 essential elements of the PYP and it is an expectation of the PYP that inquiry will lead to responsible action initiated by students as a result of the learning process.

Q – What new questions do we have?  At the end of a unit of inquiry there should be time to reflect on whether we have successfully addressed our initial questions and whether we have come with with other questions.  Actually, if the unit is successful I believe there should be more questions – we should not be “done” with learning.

As Maggie used the PYP model as the base for her rational of the expansion of the traditional KWL chart, I am looking at it through the 21st century skills and literacies lens.

H- HOW will we find the information to answer “What we want to know?”
Information Literacy is one of literacies educators and students seem to have the most trouble with. Not being able to find the information we need or having to wonder if the information is accurate often gets blamed on the OVERLOAD of information being produced and disseminated online, as well as the fact that ANYONE can contribute. We need to have the skills to be able to deal with the amount of information by learning how to filter that information through a variety of means. What better way to integrate the “H” into our learning inquiries in order to find, evaluate, analyze, organize, curate and remix information.

A- What ACTION will we take once we learned what we set out to learn?
There used to be a time… (when I was at school) that information was set in stone (well, it was written in black and white on paper, bound in a book). I could not really add my perspective or new information that I learned from my teacher, family, friends or from experience to the “book”.  Issues that we learned about, where (mostly) far removed (time and geographically) from our reality. How could one student accomplish change beyond their immediate surroundings? How could one student affect change? The reality of feeling helpless beyond our neighborhood has changed. Tools to reach and collaborate with a worldwide audience are available and free to use. Making students aware of their power and the opportunities available to take action is imperative.

    Q- What QUESTIONS do we have?
    The “Q” immediately brought Bill Sheskey’s quote from the book Curriculum21 by Heidi Hayes Jacobs to mind.
    Bill has summed up the upgrade of the KWL-chart for me. It is not about delivering the answers anymore. In the 21st century, being able to ask the questions (and continuing asking)  is the skill we need to instill in our students. Learning is not confined to a textbook, the walls of a classroom or peers and experts who are physically in the same location. Learning is open ended…we strive to be life-long learners. Why would a chart end with the question “What have I learned?”. Let’s leave the chart open ended with “What (new) questions do I still have?

    I have learned in the past that when planning with teachers in upgrading their units, chart templates have been a welcomed addition. It creates a manageable overview of what we need to consider as we strategically upgrade to the 21st century. Using templates also can show, over time, the different skills, literacies and roles to empower learners that have been touched upon. Templates such as these, when used consistently, can support teachers as they are struggling with 21st century fluency.

    What are your thoughts on adding the “How to find the information?”,”What Action will you take?” and “What new Questions do you have?”?  How do these additions relate to good practice in education for the 21st century?

    How have you used KWL, KWHL or KWHLAQ charts in planning and/or with your students?


    In the School Library Monthly  a post titled I.Need.Reflection caught my attention. You can read:

    I’m acutely aware that I’m flooded with input without having the time to arrange that input into meaningful patterns.

    and the word “truncate” in the following quote immediately conjured up a mental image about the lack of reflection time for our students AND our teachers.

    In today’s hurried classrooms, it’s tempting to truncate the learning experience by cutting off the reflective process.

    The author also points to research

    Research tells us (see: Donovan & Bransford’s How People Learn or Darling-Hammond’s Powerful Learning: What We Know About Teaching for Understanding as examples) that my state is not unique; rather, reflection is undeniably essential to making new learning stick. Whether you call it metacognition, reflection, or thinking about our thinking, new learning requires that we reflect.

    I believe that one of the most important skills for the future is the ability to write

    • …to write well
    • …to write in different media
    • …to write for difference audiences
    • …to write reflectively
    • …to write collaborative

    So how do we teach reflective writing?

    I started to look for resources online and felt I immediately hit the jackpot with Peter Pappas‘ series of posts on his blog Copy Paste about

    Take a look at his Prezi below to give you a taste of his thoughts on creating a reflective school environment.

    5th grade brainstorming reflective vocabulary

    By using Peter Pappas’ Bloom’s Taxonomy of Reflection, we hoped to guide students in the process.

    Peter Pappas's Reflection Taxonomy

    Reflection Taxonomy by Peter Pappas

    Working with 2nd graders on reflecting about their President Reports. Some of the questions from Peter Pappas’s Taxonomy were too hard for them to grasp the concept. We adapted some of them for the younger learners. They were tempted to answer the question directly. “Did you achieve your goal?” was answered with an obvious “Yes, I did” in the reflection. It was clear, that supporting a reflective writing culture in the class would could not be a one time project, but was a process to go through to become a reflective classroom learning community.

    Here are some links to student reflection examples

    Soon, it became very clear to me, that I was “saddling the horse backwards” as we say in German. By expecting to teach students reflective writing, we needed to START by making teachers aware of the IMPORTANCE of reflection and the mechanics of teaching reflective writing. We needed to take a step back to become a reflective teacher- community before we could expect our students to become a reflective-learning community and our school a reflective school culture. We are starting to work towards that by making it an official theme that is running through all our Professional Development.

    My colleague Andrea Hernandez and I wanted to model that reflection come in in all shapes and sizes. We created a  video reflection of our “21st Century Teaching and Learning”year at the Martin J. Gottlieb Day School.

    21st Century Learning Reflection from langwitches on Vimeo.

    Do you take the time to reflect? Do you give your students time to reflect on their learning? How do you teach the mechanics of reflective writing? How has your school moved forward in becoming a reflective learning community? Please contribute ideas, links and resources you have. What worked for your school, teachers and students?

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