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Blooms Taxonomy of Thinking Processes

THINGS FALL APART PURPOSE This method of inquiry can help students to understand how much they have understood, processed, and applied what they know about a certain topic. It allows you as a teacher to assess where the students have progressed in their thinking abilities. Students are using higher order thinking skills when they can comfortably answer questions that require application, analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. EXAMPLE- from chapter 7 (pp. 52-62) LEVEL

How many years did Ikemefuna live with Okonkwos family? What is his relation to Nwoye in the family? In your own words, describe Okonkwos feelings about Ikemefuna. Ikemefuna has been away from his family for three years. Imagine some of his emotions as he recalls thoughts of his birth family (on pp. 5960). Analyze why Okonkwo not only went with the men to kill Ikemefuna but also why he used the machete against him? Why was he so afraid of being seen as weak? Discuss what might have happened differently in Nwoye and Okonkwos relationship if Ikemefuna had not been killed. Do you think that Okonkwo is destined to a tragic end despite what he does to Ikemefuna? Is there something in his personality that would cause him to fall even without the tragic events in this chapter?

Three years (p.52) He was like an older brother to Nwoye (p. 52).

Recall, record, discuss.

Comprehension (understanding)

Application (using)

Analysis (taking apart)

Synthesis (creating new)

Evaluation (judging)

Basically, Okonkwo is very fond of Ikemefuna because he feels he possesses the tough qualities that Nwoye does not naturally possess; it pleases Okonkwo that Ikemefuna helps Nwoye to be more manly. (pp. 52-53) Some of his thoughts are remembering his mother and sister, how they have aged and possibly forgotten him, wondering over his mothers health, recalling his relationship with his father. Some of the emotions that the students might suggest are: nostalgia, sadness, fear, excitement, wistfulness, helplessness, elation. Answers will vary. They will be found throughout the novel, as well. Students may say that Okonkwos fear of weakness is rooted in a fear of failure, due to his fathers failure. He is fighting his fathers history. Also he interprets that his culture values a very strong personality that will not be swayed by personal emotions, and he wants people to see him in this way. (p. 61) Answers will vary. Students will probably mention Obierikas warning and the events that happened in the actual story. Ikemefunas death seems the point at which Okonkwos good luck turns bad. Everything after that is somewhat of a downfall. Answers will vary. Students might suggest a tragic flaw such as hubris, which caused Greek and Shakespearean heroes to fall. Is there another paradigm at work here? Is Achebe saying something about the power of nature and the danger of defying nature? Encourage the students to evaluate Okonkwo on more than just a Western standard.

Explain, summarize, estimate, paraphrase. Examine, produce, solve, translate, discover.

Analyze, develop, detect, illustrate, point out, relate, select.

Construct, propose, create, generate, rearrange, rewrite.

Assess, compare, conclude, determine, evaluate, measure, judge.

Michelle Kim, 2001

ASSESSMENT When students are able to answer the higher order thinking questions, utilizing such skills as taking the story apart, creating new scenarios, and judging, they are understanding and applying the text on a deeper level. They are personalizing it to themselves and giving it meaning according to their personal schema. There are three types of questions. 1. Textually explicit questions lead to answers found in the text 2. Textually implicit questions require students to think about what they have read and formulate answers from evaluation of ideas in the text 3. Schema-based questions rely on students prior knowledge and experience. Answers to this question will vary per student and will require them to look beyond the novel. One way to assess the students thinking level would be to place them in a circle and have them discuss the answers to each question without teacher intervention. The teacher would only be there to present the questions, not to guide the discussion. Students could regulate the discussion by either appointing a mediator or having each speaker call on the next. This way, if the students are reticent or reluctant, the teacher will know to either formulate better questions or to help the students to engage more deeply into the issues of the text.

Michelle Kim, 2001