LOTS & HOTS to work with Gifted and Talented

  • Have you taken into consideration Bloom’s taxonomy when designing a lesson plan?

I am aware of the Bloom taxonomy, however I used the Marzano & Kendall taxonomy more, i particular the useful verbs of his their taxonomy that helps specify what kind of function or process our students are engaged in. It works well in an International Baccalaureate environment /inquiry-based learning because we improve our instruction by crafting the right challenge for our students. For example, we don’t simply want them to “retrieve” information, we want them to engage in a specific process within that category, for example: Recall

, N
ame, L


, Describe, State
, Identify
when) or Describe (

). In the Middle Year Programme of the IB, we have “command terms” that relate to such taxonomy and are defined.

Robert Marzano published his A new Taxonomy of Educational Objectives (2000) in response to Bloom’s taxonomy, see here.

I appreciated to recently relearn about the Bloom Taxonomy because I didn’t remember all of it. I also enjoy using the “Gradual release of responsibility” from Pearson and Gallagher, 1983 (see the 6 phases here) that is a good addition to it when it comes to scafolding.

Anyhow, the objective of Bloom’s taxonomy is to ensure we know that students can be engaged in learning at different level and the higher we are on the pyramid, the more secure the learning of a concept is.

When designing a lesson plan, many teachers use backward planning (based on Understanding By Design) and plan with the end in mind. What we want is to design a rich lesson that offers opportunities for students to engage in HOTS (Higher Order Thinking Skills), however we scaffold instruction to meet the needs of everyone so we might have LOTS (Lower Order Thinking Skills) to start with or LOTS for certain students and HOTS for others who need extensions.

In the context of delivering a lesson, we might differentiate by using those various scaffolds. For example, while the class is engaged in remembering or understanding, Gifted and Talented students might have extensions (or even enrichment programmes) where they can be challenged with HOTS such as analysing, evaluating or creating.

In my school, we integrate the differentiation in our planning and reflecting (in our planner), we integrate strategies, protocols and moves including thinking routines but I often realise that the LOTS and HOTS becomes a habit and the differentiation becomes invisible in the classroom through a personalised learning approach where students are given choices, building ownership of their learning and engaged in sharing their ideas and creating. Agency is at the centre.

  • Think about a lesson you are going to teach and show how you would adapt activities in order to encourage higher order thinking skills. If you are not teaching at the moment you could imagine a scenario.

I am thinking about my lessons and will pay closer attention to the scaffolded questions I provide in class while students are engaged in their learning. Currently, my students are engaged in projects (some in pairs, others alone) about expression themselves in French. They used the GRASPS to create their formative assessment and they chose all the components. Some are engaged in creating an online game with Scratch MIT, other are engaged in creating an imaginary French speaking island on Minecraft, others are writing books on their passion. I think that when I come around to coach, facilitate or co-learn, I can integrate ‘just in time’ inputs such as a questions that tap into the right level of thinking or a paraphrase to either acknowledge or organise the content mentioned (LOTS) or elevate their thinking with an abstracting paraphrase. I like to also use questions that invite cognitive shifts in certain States of Mind that I am learning through my cognitive coaching (Garmston and Costa, 2015, see here).

I like this article from Kallick & Zmuda (authors of Students at the Center: Personalized Learning with Habits of Mind, 2017) on the fact that when students are self-directed, then what is our role as teachers? She talks about how we can shifts our role from facilitating to coaching or and I find this relevant here as we “respond” to our students needs in various ways and one of them is engaging them at their challenge level with LOTS or HOTS.

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