Posts Tagged ‘Science’

SOLO Taxonomy

Posted: October 7, 2011 in learning, Punk Learning
Tags: , , ,

This post would not have been possible without the help from DamianClark @clarky099 , Neil Watkin @nwatkin and the amazing Darren Mead @DKMead

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.

For everything you need to know about SOLO Taxonomy please refer to the fabulous HookED website.

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….

I trialled the use of SOLO Taxonomy with a “middle ability” (I hate that phrase!) Year 9 set  – how did I do it? With many hours of thinking and planning and pestering of Darren Mead I came up with a series of statements that I asked my students to place onto the taxonomy (I decided the statements would be about X Factor and Leeds Utd..as my school is in Leeds…and it appears everyone except for me is enthralled at the prospect of another series of the “talent” show) The statements can be found here if you want to use them.
The students sorted them out using the hierarchy in a matter of minutes, quicker than I thought actually, and discussed each statement on merit – was this because the subject was relevant and meaningful to them? Probably, but that’s another post……
I then asked them to assess exemplar work using SOLO Taxonomy – they were really getting to grips with the five stages of SOLO at this stage using the posters around the room that I had pinned on the walls.
So they had recalled SOLO, applied SOLO and now it was time for them to create using SOLO. I asked them in groups to create a success criteria on what would make a good information poster on variation.
These were their results….

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.

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