Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Bloom's Taxonomy Math Question Cards, Game, and Activities to Use with Any Word Problem or Math Task!
I am really excited about using Bloom's Taxonomy math talk cards in my classroom!  Earlier I wrote a post about how I love using Bloom's Taxonomy in my classroom for reading.  You can read about it by clicking here.  I found it so easy to implement Bloom's Taxonomy into my reading instruction and my students LOVE asking and answering higher level questions to each other.  In fact, we use the fiction and nonfiction question cards each week in my class since they love to earn points by answering the questions correctly.  I catch them quietly saying how many points they have to themselves such as, "Yes!...5 more points so now I have 17 points!"  This activity also helps increase your class participation Big Time especially with your competitive kiddos!  
Since my students love using Bloom's in reading to enhance their comprehension and critical thinking, I thought it would be a great idea to also implement Bloom's when we discuss our math tasks and word problems.  Let me walk you through my math block to show you how I use Bloom's Taxonomy in math.

Math Task
For morning work, my students are given a word problem or math task to solve.  I like to change up the types of tasks I use so sometimes I use ones from the Task Arcs given to us by the state department or depending on the skill we are learning, I like to use the ones pictured above from Lakeshore Learning.  After I assign the task, I then have my students solve the problem independently.  We call it our "private think time".  I then have them place their work in their small group math bin so we can discuss it together during our small guided math group time.

Guided Math Small Groups
During our small group math task discussion we reread the problem aloud slowly to the group.  I tell them to read it slowly so they can visualize what is happening in the problem and what the problem is asking us to do.  Students then underline the question.  After reading and analyzing the word problem, they circle the numbers and key word(s) they need to solve the problem.  I only have 4 students in each group so I have them pair up at the table to discuss how they solved their problem to their partner.  Partner A goes first (the student on the right) while Partner B listens to understand.  Then they reverse roles.  I take turns listening to both sets of partners to see if they understand how to solve the problem or if they need additional guidance.  This is a great way to clear up any misconceptions they may have before moving on.  As they are teaching how they solved their problem to their partner they usually catch their own mistakes and fix them before their partner even knows they made a mistake!  I like hearing all of their different strategies that they use to solve the problem and their justifications for why they chose that strategy. 

Next, they get to ask each other questions about how they solved their problem using the Bloom's Taxonomy Math Question Cards.  I keep these question cards on a ring at their tables so each of my students  have their own set of cards to flip to the question they want to ask.  I also keep a full set of cards for me to use at my guided math table.     

Bloom's Taxonomy Math Question Game
     After both sets of partners ask each other questions about how they solved their problem, we then play the Bloom's Taxonomy question game together at our guided math group table.  If you have a stand up pocket chart, you can place the cards as shown in the picture above to have students select questions like a game show.  If you don't have a stand up pocket chart, you can use a regular pocket chart or just ask them the questions from the question card ring.  Students take turns rolling a die.  The number they roll determines the number of point level question they will answer.  (Example: If they roll a 5, they will answer a blue evaluate question worth 5 points.)  Once we ask a question from that point level, you can choose to turn the 5 card over so they can only answer questions from the other levels, or you can have them continue to play with all of the levels.  Simply remove the card they just answered and place it behind the other cards they have not answered.  When a student answers the question correctly, he or she will earn points based on the color of their card.    Students can keep score mentally or add to track their points on an index card or piece of paper.  What a fun time we have promoting higher level thinking!  

 Independent Practice
Sometimes I like to have my students demonstrate what they have learned from the task by using Bloom's Taxonomy to explain their thinking independently.  This way, I can evaluate what I still need to work on with my students. 

Our Think Tank
 Our think tank is used as a wrap up activity when we discuss as a class the different strategies we used to solve the problem.  I usually choose 3-4 students to come up and discuss how they solved the problem.  I then label it their way (Example: Sandy's Way) in addition to the correct name of the strategy.  This helps students understand the different ways to solve problems so they can choose one of their classmate's ways of solving it the next time they solve a math task.  I love to see the students teaching each other and being proud of their learning!

I hope your students enjoy using Bloom's Taxonomy in your classroom as much as mine do!  Click here to get these fun math question cards for your classroom!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Celebrate Black History Month with this Famous American Research Report

I love having my second graders use biographies to research about famous Americans.  Since February is Black History Month, I took my students to our library to choose a book about a famous African American.  Students then read and researched information about the person they chose.  They recorded their information on the graphic organizer below.

They then wrote their rough draft of their report.
 After we edited and made revisions to the rough draft, my students typed the final draft of their report in our computer lab.  They then used the pictures in their library book to help them create a model of their famous African American to attach to the top of their report.  My class did an amazing job on their models!  I am so proud of their hard work and creativity!  
Can you guess who these famous Americans are?  
(Jackie Robinson, Tiger Woods, Marion Jones)
 (Lebron James, Wilma Rudolph)

They then presented their research reports to the class. Some other famous African Americans we researched include Mae Jemison, Rosa Parks, Sojourner Truth, George Washington Carver, Will Smith, Harriet Tubman, Louis Armstrong, Martin Luther King Jr., Barack Obama, and Jesse Owens.  This fun project covered several of our Tennessee Social Studies Standards. 

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Using Bloom's Taxonomy to Enhance Your Reading Instruction!
I really enjoy using Bloom's Taxonomy in my classroom!  Many teachers ask me how I use my  posters and question cards with my students so here it goes.  

 So, it all started when I created these posters.  I wanted to make some posters that I could hang in my room to remind me to use Bloom's Taxonomy with my students everyday.  The posters were a big help, because any time I was thinking of a question to ask my students, I could easily refer to them to help me create my questions.  After a few weeks, of using them, it became a lot easier for me to ask and create high quality questions to ask my students on a daily basis.
Since asking and answering questions is a second grade reading standard, I also wanted my students to learn how to ask high quality questions to each other.  That gave me the idea of creating fiction and nonfiction question cards to help my students ask questions during my reading block.
I keep a full set of fiction and nonfiction cards on book rings so I have a variety of questions to choose from.  Since I want my students to have access to their own set of cards, I printed out one set of fiction and nonfiction question cards per table and divided them evenly into groups of four so each students at that table has a different set of questions to ask each other (I have four students at each table in my room.)  Each student needs to have cards from each level of Blooms.  I then cut out and laminate the cards and keep a set of fiction and nonfiction cards for each student in their caddy in the middle of their table.
I LOVE using these cards for my whole group and small group reading instruction!  Read below for some different ways I use them in my classroom to motivate my students to participate in our reading discussions and enhance their critical thinking.
Whole Group Reading
Each Wednesday we read the story from our basal reader.  My students take turns reading each paragraph or page aloud to the class.  At the end of the paragraph or page, I ask them a few lower level questions (Remember, Understand, Apply).  Before I ask my question, I say, "This is a red Remember question worth one point."  I then choose a red level question and ask it to the class.  I then call on a student to answer the question.  They then earn one point for a correct answer.  Some of my students raise their hand and say that they want to add on to the previous answer.  He or she will also earn a point.  This has lead to some wonderful discussions of our text.  We then continue on with the text.  After I ask a couple of lower level questions, I ask the higher level questions (Analyze, Evaluate, Create).  These higher level questions are worth more points so my competitive students love answering these to earn more points!
 Partner Reading     
Thursday, I usually have my students partner read the text.  I have them choose a partner who is not in their reading group, or I choose their partner.  Students find a spot in the room to read with their partner.  After they partner read, each student grabs their fiction or nonfiction question card ring.  Students can either choose a question to ask their partner, or they can roll the die to see which type of question they will ask.  I bought these colored dice from Amazon.  You can use the Differentiated Instruction Cubes from Carson-Dellosa or Photo Stacking Blocks.  I like the photo stacking blocks since I use the colors blue, green, yellow, and red to differentiated my small groups.  I love watching my students take turns asking each other meaningful and engaging questions to enhance their thinking about the story.  
Guided Reading Groups
I use the question cards in guided reading groups in a similar way as in whole group.  I have my small group of students take turns reading the paragraph or page of the text aloud.   I then ask them questions about the story.  After I read a question to the group, I tell them to take their reading tracker and "highlight" the answer.  That way everyone is actively engaged looking for the answer and I can easily see who found the answer in the text.  I also use this strategy in whole group to make sure everyone locates their text evidence to support their answer.  You can purchase reading trackers like the one below at Lakeshore Learning or Really Good Stuff.
I made a mini set of my Bloom's Taxonomy posters to hang on a ribbon next to my guided reading table.  This way, we can easily refer to them during our guided reading groups.  I also made point value signs to hang next to the mini posters to remind them of the point values for each color.  Adding point values to the questions make this activity fun and engaging for students.  They also want to be challenged because they know they will earn more points for higher level questions.
I have really seen a difference with my students' abilities to ask and answer questions after using these cards.  I hope your students have as much fun during your reading block as mine do!  Click on the pictures above or here to check out these fun and engaging Bloom's Taxonomy resources for your own classroom!