Bloom’s Taxonomy

Sometimes we all need a little frame of reference to help us know that what we’re doing works or makes sense. Sometimes we wonder how to “break through” to the next level, to get past frustration or to put the pieces all together.

I had Bloom’s Taxonomy taped to the inside of my homeschool calendar back when I used to have a homeschool calendar (like years one and two). What I liked about it was the simplicity of the categories.

For those who have not read it before, I offer it here. Educationalists in grad school spend copious hours studying and writing about the various levels. For those of us at home, we have the joy and privilege of observing these stages at work naturally in most cases. Remember, too, that all of us move between these stages, both up and down the scale.

Bloom’s Taxonomy
Knowledge – General intelligence – recall data or information.
Comprehension – Understand the meaning, translation, interpolation
and interpretation of instructions and problems (state a problem in
one’s own words).
Application – Use of a concept in a new situation or unprompted use
of an abstraction. Applies what was learned into novel situations
Analysis – Separates material or concepts into component parts so
that its organizational structure may be understood. Distinguishes
between facts and inferences.
Synthesis – Builds a structure or pattern from diverse elements.
Puts parts together to form a whole, with emphasis on creating a new
meaning or structure.
Evaluation – Makes judgments about the value of ideas or materials

You can apply these steps to the writing process easily. Note that no writing can occur until the first four steps have taken place. There must be knowledge, comprehension, application of the ideas and meaningful analysis before you can expect a child to then synthesize what she’s learned and then evaluate it in writing.

This all sounds a bit more formal than I mean it to. Let’s boil it down.

  1. Spend time with the material
  2. Talk about it until you are comfortable with it
  3. Use it (share it with someone else, test out the theory, do the activity, relate the idea to something else)
  4. Criticize it (if appropriate). Figure out how it works or could be better expressed or what it has that is worth remembering, honoring or celebrating.
  5. Pick out the parts you want to emphasize. Freewrite about them.
  6. Evaluate your freewriting and determine what you might like to write about – what focus, what scope, what aspect. Then do it!

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