Reaching for Higher-Level Thinking

Today we had our semi-annual field trip to the Youth Garden Project, and it make me think how we can easily scaffold our students to a higher level of thinking.

We all use questions to find out what students know, but how often do you use questions to help students learn? Knowledge-based questions have an important role in education, but so do higher-order questions. These questions often challenge students, making them think beyond the remembering stage. They may focus on understanding material, applying what has been learned, or creating something new.

Around 90% of the questions most teachers ask are knowledge-based questions, so incorporating higher-order questions into your lessons can be challenging.  Bloom’s Taxonomy - the traditional or the new version - is a great place to look for help in crafting questions. You can find lists of words that go along with every level of behavior. Choose one of Bloom’s levels and try to write one or two questions each day for a week. Pick another level the next week, continuing through the taxonomy week-by-week. After highlighting each level, try to include questions from a variety of levels in your daily lessons.

The questions that we ask will impact how our students learn. Help students tap into higher-level thinking with higher-order questions!