SOLO Taxonomy is something that I have researched for a long while and now I’ve finally had the opportunity to try it out for real in the classroom – with, in my mind, staggering results.
In a nutshell the taxonomy allows “.. the learner to think about the strengths and weaknesses of their own thinking when they are learning and to make thoughtful decisions on what to do next.” The taxonomy focusses on learning, is extremely student friendly, allows teachers and students to consider feed”forward” strategies, can be used for any learning context and above all is easier to use and understand than Bloom’s Taxonomy.
So the taxonomy itself….
We then publicised these onto the five stage of the Taxonomy as shown below (please don’t judge me on my borders, the Science Technician put them up for me and as every good Science teacher will tell you – never argue with your technician!)
Finally, the various ideas and thoughts were centralised by an identified group and transferred onto our SOLO Taxonomy board – this was now our success criteria. I used newly bought talking postcards to help the group collect the “best” statements from the class.
The next lesson I asked the students to create a poster on Variation …..yes I know a poster, but bear with me. I displayed an overview of what we have covered so far in the unit using Popplet then after asking them how long they required, set them off on the task (textbooks, workbooks and the knowledge/skills of each other were available).
Now usually when students create posters, a large majority of the given time is spent on producing the title in bubble writing (I’m sure that’s pretty common), but not this time, in fact it’s fair to say most of the “posters” were pretty scruffy – and why was this? Well, my students all wanted to get to extended abstract or at least relational – they wanted to show off their learning!
I then asked the students to peer assess each other’s work using our success criteria – at this stage I was uncertain as to if this experiment had worked – I should have listened to Dazza!
The feedback (or feed-forward) they gave each other was staggering, not only had they understood the taxonomy itself but they were able to use it to create specific and personal feedback to each other. I asked each student to write on the blank SOLO Taxonomy sheet (at the top of the post) stating where their partner was and what they needed to do to move on to the next stage.
I asked two colleagues to come and observe me using SOLO Taxonomy – they were so impressed with the students understanding and how it could be used effectively for assessment they are now trying it with their classes….
The futures bright, the futures SOLO.