Fourth grade teacher Patti Grayson has some major issues with summer reading in the elementary grades. What is the point of assigning students specific books to read? Summer is for building lemonade stands and chasing fireflies. Let kids pick books they like and write to you about why they liked them.
As the person most directly responsible for our school’s professional learning, I have been wondering what professional development looks like when you turn Bloom’s on its head and ask teachers to encourage students’ creative thinking early in the learning process. Teachers need to model their own creative thinking and embrace “messy” assessments.
At the beginning of the year, when teacher Jamie Weir invited her high school students to bring their mobile technology into her classroom, Grade 12 student Zac Hawkins’ first thought was “Easy class.” He couldn’t, he says, “bring myself to take the concept of using technology in the classroom seriously — more than likely because I’ve been taught all of my life that technology is not meant for the classroom and that school is a paper-and-pencil-only environment.”
Skype enables students to connect, collaborate, and communicate with students across the globe. It creates an opportunity for students to learn from each other, to have authentic audiences for their work, and to meet musicians, authors, and others who can further their learning. The possibilities are truly endless. Skyping is no longer a novelty — a once-in-awhile special event. It’s becoming a routine part of being an effective 21st century teacher.
Every state requires high school students to take a US History survey course. For the makers of the SAT Subject Test, every event, every President, every person of note is of equal importance and equally likely to show up on the examination. If I were a college admissions director I would want an assessment that sought to tease out a young person’s sense of what it means to be an engaged citizen, not how many facts they know about President James Garfield.
I think the revised Bloom’s Taxonomy is wrong. I agree that the taxonomy accurately classifies various types of cognitive thinking skills. It certainly identifies the different levels of complexity. But its organizing framework is dead wrong. Here’s what I propose. In the 21st century, we flip Bloom’s taxonomy. Rather than starting with knowledge, we start with creating, and eventually discern the knowledge that we need from it.