The six levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy, from the lowest to the highest have become a useful guide for teachers while preparing their lesson plans and writing objectives. When students are analyzing, evaluating and creating, in other words, using the higher order thinking skills of Bloom’s Taxonomy, deep learning will occur. This will enable them to retain information, perform better on standardized tests, and most importantly, achieve the ultimate goal of becoming lifelong learners. However, this doesn’t mean that teachers should ignore the first three levels and only focus on high level thinking. Studies show that a combination of lower and higher questions is more effective than the exclusive use of one or the other. Below you can see the old and revised versions of the taxonomy.

“The graphic is a representation of the NEW verbage associated with the long familiar Bloom’s Taxonomy. Note the change from Nouns to Verbs [e.g., Application to Applying] to describe the different levels of the taxonomy. Note that the top two levels are essentially exchanged from the Old to the New version.” (Schultz, 2005) (Evaluation moved from the top to Evaluating in the second from the top, Synthesis moved from second on top to the top as Creating.) Source:

STUDENT FRIENDLY BLOOM’S TAXONOMY QUESTION STEMS: These question stems in Reading Sage by Sean Taylor are very helpful in teaching students high-order thinking skills. You can post them on the walls of your classroom and want your students to identify the types of questions you asked them for any reading task according to Bloom’s taxonomy. Here is an example.

As teachers we shouldn’t only focus on asking questions to our students using Bloom’s taxonomy, we should also teach them asking questions using Bloom’s question stems. Once the students get used to identifying these question types, as a further step, you can ask them to prepare questions according to the taxonomy about the text they are reading. This is a very useful activity for them to internalize high level thinking skills.

Janet Giesen’s LIST OF QUESTION STEMS ACCORDING TO BLOOM’S REVISED TAXONOMY includes tasks for each level.

In this slide show, Michael Ball explainshow you can help students develop better thinking skills through higher level questioning to become critical learners. Some teachers claim that the taxonomy – especially the high level questions  – are too difficult to teach the young learners. Mr Ball disproves that by applying Bloom’s Taxonomy to Goldilocks and the Three Bears in a very simple way.

EDUCATIONAL ORIGAMI is a blog and a wiki, about 21st Century Teaching and Learning by Andrew Churches. Andrew, who is   a member of the 21st Century Fluency team developing a framework for teaching and learning in the 21st Century, offers great resources on Bloom’s taxonomy. If you scroll down, you will also see other valuable resources on 21st century learningdigital citizenship and visible thinking in Andrew’s blog.

Bloom in Digital Peacock by Kelly Tenkely at

You can watch BLOOM’S TAXONOMY REVISED ACCORDING TO HOMER SIMPSON on Teacher Tube, an online community for sharing instructional videos.  In this video Homer Simpson demonstrates the six levels of cognitive thinking according to Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy.


Larry Ferlazzo has a section in his blog on Bloom: THE BEST RESOURCES FOR HELPING TEACHERS USE BLOOM’S TAXONOMY IN THE CLASSROOM, which will provide you with all the links you need. Please also see CYBRARY MAN’S BLOOM’S TAXANOMY PAGE.

How do you use Bloom’s taxonomy in your classes? Please share in the comments section below.

Credits to Keely Terkely at


Lesley Dodd in her article, Learning to Think: Thinking to Learn, published in the Lancashire Grid for Learning gives us valuable information on how our brain works. I think everyone should read this to be able to successfully incorporate thinking skills into their lesson plans.

In her article Lesley gives examples of brain – break activities, which, I believe, especially primary teachers will find very useful.  The parts on learning styles, thinking skills, questioning techniques to develop comprehension are for everyone to read.


Source: Taolife Studio by Gaye Crispin

After reading the part on questioning techniques to develop comprehension in Lesley’s article, I prepared this worksheet part 1 and part 2 for our 6th graders, which I think you may find useful.

The art of asking questions is as important as answering them if we want our students to internalize high level thinking skills. Please note that thinking is driven by questions rather than by answers. To think through or rethink anything, one must ask questions that stimulate thought. Another reason why student questioning should be emphasized in education lies in the fact that questioning sparks curiosity.

Like any skill, asking questions can be taught and practiced. If we want our students to be lifelong learners, we should train them to be inquisitive explorers.

What resources are you using to teach effective questioning? Please share them with us.


Created on quozio.

Last year I attended ECIS November Conference in Nice with a group of colleagues from my school. On the first day of the conference, I attended a full day workshop by Dr. Lesley Fern Snowball on Critical Thinking Skills in an Inquiry-based Classroom.  We started the workshop by discussing why we should include thinking skills in our curriculum. The ability to think critically, creatively and compassionately is of fundamental importance as:

  • A tool for an inquiry-based  curriculum 
  • An essential life skill
  • A fundamental element of global citizenship.


Lesley pointed out that the 3 C s have become 4 in the 21st century:

1-      CRITICAL THINKING: Thinking deeply, analyzing.

KEY QUESTION: What does this really mean?


2-      CREATIVE THINKING: Thinking broadly.

KEY QUESTION: What are the alternatives?


3-      COMPASSIONATE THINKING: Thinking considerably.

KEY QUESTION: How will this affect others?


4-      COLLABORATIVE THINKING: Thinking collectively.

KEY QUESTION: How do my ideas interact with those of others?


You can download this poster in its original size by visiting Mentoring Minds website.

During the workshop, Lesley emphasized teaching thinking skills explicitly to make learners aware of themselves as ‘thinkers’ and how they process/create knowledge by learning to learn (metacognition).  She also focused on the significance of using graphic organizers as the human brain naturally looks for connections between old and new information and processes information most efficiently in chunks. She recommended using De Bono’s Six Thinking Hats and Bloom’s Taxonomy across all grade levels to improve high level thinking skills.

In the afternoon session, we first did a jigsaw reading activity on Cinderella. Then she teamed us in groups of six and asked us to discuss whether Cinderella should leave or stay when the clock struck twelve. Each team member put on one of De Bono’s thinking hats to analyze the situation from a different perspective. You can try this activity with your primary students to help them learn how to use De Bono’s thinking hats.

Here you can see some of the handouts from the workshop Lesley kindly shared with us. Enjoy:)


When I read some chapters of the book, Fires in the Mind by Kathleen Cushman, which were shared on the Internet, I decided to write this post on the homework issue. I use the word issue, as giving homework has been a controversial issue recently. Some people are totally against it while some think that it is absolutely necessary.

Fires in the Mind is a very interesting book as it tries to answer the question: What does it take for young people to be really good at something? through the voices of students from diverse backgrounds. To put these students’ ideas into practice, the book also includes practical tips for educators. It is part of the How Youth Learn project that seeks better schooling and better outcomes for all youth. They are trying to prove how well young people can accomplish when given the opportunities and support they need and what they can contribute when their voices and ideas are taken seriously. You can watch the video, 8 Conditions for Learning on how a teenager learns with your students and have a class discussion on it. I am sure it will inspire them to reflect on how they learn best.


In another video, students talk about their expectations to do better at school.


In chapter 8, which is about homework, the students list their expectations for homework as follows:

  • Make sure we know what purpose the homework serves. Write it at the top of the assignment, so we remember it!
  • Use our homework! Look at it, answer our questions, and show us why it matters.
  • Don’t take off points for wrong answers on homework. It’s practice!
  • Cooperate with other teachers so our total homework load is reasonable.
  • Give us time to start our homework in class, so you can help if we have trouble.
  • When appropriate, assign different tasks to match what each of us needs.
  • Match homework to the time we have available. Let us know how long you expect us to spend on it, and don’t penalize us if we can’t finish.
  • Don’t give us homework every day. Having several days to do it helps us learn to manage our time.
  • Create places in school for sustained academic support: tutoring time, study halls, hours when you are always available for help. (Source: Fires in the Mind)


 After listening to the students, Cushman designs “four R’s of deliberate homework”:

  • Readying themselves for new learning
  • Repetition and application of knowledge and skills
  • Reviewing material learned earlier, and
  • Revising their work. (Source: Fires in the Mind)

I think the best part in this chapter is the alternative homework the students suggested:

Source: Fires in the Mind

I personally think that students should be given reasonable amount of homework to consolidate learning and master skills. This is especially important in foreign language learning as the more students are exposed to the target language, the better they will master it. On the other hand, homework should be personally relevant to the needs of the learner. Students should be given choices according to their needs, interests and ability levels, which is much easier to do nowadays; thanks to technology.


Schools are about to start in a short time and it is time to decorate our classrooms with posters and other visuals to support learning. I listed some of the websites where you can find these below. No matter what type of intelligence or a preferred learning style a student has, visual support makes a huge impact on learning. Therefore, they should be treated as part of the learning process. Please share with us what you think of them and other websites that you know after you have checked them.

Med Kharbach has a wonderful section on Tools to Create Posters for Your Classroom.  I would add GlogsterEdu to this list. You may also like his post on 40 educational posters for teachers. He has another list: 40 Great Tools to Create Infographics with Your Students in his blog, Educational Technology and Mobile Learning.

You can download free posters and banners from Teacher’s Pet, a free subscription site.

Teaching Ideas is another website where you can find free teaching and display resources to download.

You can download free posters, banners and other resources from Twinkl for your K-6 classes.

Bev Evans offers great free visuals in her website, Communication 4 All for young learners and students with special needs.

Edgalaxy is a great website where you can find useful resources and free posters for your classrooms.

Primary Resources offers posters on all subjects.

Teaching Essentials offers  posters, signs, labels to brighten up your classroom.

Marge D Teaching Posters is an awesome website designed by a teacher in Australia with valuable resources. While you are downloading the free resources, you can also take a quick tour of her classroom in Australia to see how she decorated it. I loved the Thinking Wall that she designed.

Pinterest is a great place to find creative posters for your classrooms and to pin your favorite ones to share them with the world.

Mia Mac Meekin has an awesome infographic on How to Make an Infographic Using Photo chart on her blog An Ethical Island – How to Teach Without Lecturing and Other Fun.

Teachthought offers 14 brilliant Bloom’s Taxonomy posters for teachers.

Finally, please check my Pinterest board on posters.

If you know some other sites, please let us know.


As schools are about to start in a short time, I decided to add this post on effective learning strategies. I personally think all teachers need to reflect on these before starting planning the year to enhance learning.

With the developments in technology, the changing profiles of the learners and the demands of the global community we live in, teaching has become more complicated than ever. Educators who aren’t aware of this situation or who choose to disregard these facts are bound to end up with students who have no interest in what they are doing in the classroom and are falling behind the expectations. Med Kharbach’s blog post on The 21st Century Pedagogy is a must-read resource for all 21st Century teachers.

Effective teaching is not only about mastering the subject one teaches but it goes beyond that to being fully aware of how students learn. You may be an expert on the subject matter you are teaching but if you can’t transform that content to your learners effectively, learning will never take place. We all know that dedication, enthusiasm, and effective instructional design are the keys for classroom success. Some elements of effective learning strategies are as follows:

SETTING OBJECTIVES: Make sure to share your learning goals, objectives, outcomes and evaluation criteria with your students at the beginning of each lesson/unit using student-friendly wording:

– Some teachers phrase objectives with What Are We Learning Today (W.A.L.T),

– They phrase learning outcomes / success criteria with: What I am looking for is … (W.I.L.F). You may have to do several different versions of WILF according to the variations in ability levels in your groups.

-Why Are We Learning This / This is Because… (T.I.B).

If students understand why they are doing something then they will put more effort into their work.

Success criteria /’What I’m Looking For’/W.I.L.F can be created with the students so that they will know when they have achieved the learning intentions. Inviting the children to create W.I.L.F. involves them in their own learning and is more challenging than being given the information.

Displaying these learning intentions visually in the classroom and reminding them to the students during the several stages of the learning process is of vital importance to make learning meaningful. If students understand the main purposes of their learning and what they are aiming for, they are likely to perform better and set goals for their future learning activities. Moreover, in the classrooms where learning intentions are shared, student learning, motivation and achievement can be significantly improved.


STUDENT MOTIVATION AND ENGAGEMENT: When they are working in positive, encouraging, and stimulating environments and when they are actively involved in their own learning, students are more likely to be learning effectively. Teachers should focus on learning by doing instead of lecturing because students learn better when learning is part of doing something they find interesting.

Triggering curiosity, reinforcing effort and providing recognition are important factors to increase student motivation. Students’ self-esteem should be raised via the language the teachers use and the ways they celebrate achievement. It is also important to build relationships and know students as individuals.

Try to use authentic project-oriented and experiential learning activities that students can relate to their personal experience or prior knowledge. Accessing students’ prior knowledge of a topic enhances their learning about new content. Have them make connections to real-world issues and personal experiences to make learning relevant. We cannot make sense of new ideas if we don’t connect them with what we already know by comparing and contrasting, analyzing, associating, evaluating, etc. Encourage exploration and problem solving through thought-provoking questions. The questions in this reading response worksheet have been prepared to reinforce these strategies. You can use it for any short story or novel your students have read.

Source: Teachthought (Reflective Questions to Help Students Respond to Texts)

 Use effective questioning techniques, reinforce creativity and higher order thinking skills. Make sure that the learning experience is fun but challenging. The word challenging doesn’t imply impossible to achieve but hard enough to challenge the students.

Another important factor to enhance motivation and engagement is to integrate technology into learning activities, utilizing social media, blogging, web quests, games, etc. When properly applied in a student-centered classroom, technology will improve learning, especially for students who need better motivation in school. Working collaboratively with global partners, sharing their ideas and their work with the world, publishing to and being evaluated by a global audience will surely motivate the students to perform better as well as providing real life opportunities for them.

One of the core concepts behind effective instruction is differentiation.We should all be able and ready to adapt our teaching methods to our students’ emerging learning needs, challenging each student according to his or her level and maximizing and personalizing learning for all. After diagnosing the difference in readiness, interests and learning styles of our students, we can modify content, processes or the product for each group or student. The essential learning goals may be the same for all students but the complexity of the content, learning activities and/or products may vary so that all students are challenged and no student is frustrated. Using choice boards, flexible grouping, learning centers are effective ways to differentiate learning.

Teachers who need more information on differentiated instruction may check Carol Tomlison’s website. The information and videos that ASCD offers may also be helpful.

If we want our students to be thinkers and creators, we should make the learning environments and instructional processes safe. Create a classroom environment that allows for mutual respect and appreciation and where it is safe to make mistakes and to take academic risks.Making mistakes should be considered as part of the learning process and instead of fearing them, students should be made aware of the fact that the only way to get it right, is to look carefully at what happened when it went wrong. Therefore teachers should help their students develop the confidence to take risks, make mistakes and learn from them. Encourage risk-taking behaviors when you want your students to come up with original answers or products.


CREATING AND SUSTAINING LEARNER GROUPS: Learning is a social activity that involves listening, discussing, questioning, analyzing, defending, evaluating and creating ideas. Therefore, we should create classroom environments where students can work collaboratively, which is an essential 21st Century skill. Competition at individual levels often kills originality and creativity. Turning our classrooms into learning communities via cooperative and collaborative groups helps us to minimize this as competition at group levels is much less threatening.

Students who work in groups learn:

–       to help each other and praise each other’s success and effort.

–       to work together towards a common goal, which they find much more engaging than individual learning activities.

–       communication, leadership, decision-making, time-management and conflict resolution.

–       to reflect on how well the team functioned and how it could have functioned better.

Collaborative learning groups should be small between 3 to 5 learners. Changing the way in which teachers assign groups will give different students the opportunity to work together. With careful planning, teachers should decide when to use learning groups. Students should also be given opportunities to work in a range of situations e.g. on their own, with a partner, in small groups and in whole class teaching situations, when necessary.


PROVIDING EFFECTIVE FEEDBACK: Giving oral and written feedback is one of the most powerful tools to enhance learning. Students receive feedback from teachers about how to improve as well as praise for their positive efforts. Teachers should give specific praise with reasons. While giving feedback, the focus should be on what students do right so that they can feel motivated and continue experimenting with the language. The feedback given to students should help them realize where they are in the learning process and what they should do to improve.

Rubrics, checklists, peer and self evaluation forms and progress reports are given to students to help them reflect, review and evaluate their own and their peers’ performance on a completed learning task in order to recognize their strengths and weaknesses and take steps to improve. This will enable them to take the responsibility for their own learning and set personal goals for future learning.

Many students have a misconception about learning and they think that the only way to learn is by being taught. Giving effective feedback is one of the key factors that will enable them to internalize learning to learn. Since what they are learning today may not be valid information 5-10 years later, students must be provided with the skills, understanding and desire needed for lifelong learning.

An important factor teachers should consider is the fact that assessment is an ongoing process, so feedback should be given and reflection should be practiced not only at the end but throughout each stage of the learning process to develop effective learners.

Sharing the learning intentions with students and providing effective feedback are practices included in Assessment for Learning (not of learning), which reflect certain aspects of current effective pedagogy. Teachthought designed a new taxonomy as an alternative to Bloom’s considering these aspects:

Source: Teachthought


Source: Teachthought

 The awesome infographic, Events in Instruction by Mia Mac Meekin summarizes all the strategies listed above. Click on each section to see the details.

University of Alberta has a great resource on effective instructional strategies for second language teachers. Please click on every part of the Learning Tree for information about each topic.

Please share what other effective strategies you are using to enhance learning.