I have several inspirational quotes hanging on the wall above my desk and one of them says, “Am I better today than I was yesterday?”  As an Instructional Strategist for reading I’m always asking myself this.  One of the things I realized I wasn’t becoming better at was my level of questioning for students.  I noticed I was doing a lot of “right there”/find it in the book/surface level questions that didn’t require much thinking.  And I want to be better than that.  My students deserve more from their teacher.  So I started a quest on how I could “be better today than I was yesterday” for my kids.

I quickly stumbled upon my good, close, personal friend Benjamin Bloom (I wish)!  Oh Bloom’s Taxonomy.  How could I forget about Bloom’s Taxonomy?  (To learn more about Bloom’s Taxonomy take a quick visit HERE).  I have been on a “mission card” kick lately and thought, “By golly, Sarah, get some Bloom’s Taxonomy mission cards!”  And so I did.  (You can, too, by clicking HERE!)

I’m really trying to get my older students ready for the DRA2 assessment at the end of the month by trying to ask more challenging, deeper questions.  I’ve found myself using the teal (synthesis) and green (application) cards the most.  I would say we are still in an area where evaluation (purple) is a little too challenging for us, but I’m going to be working that way so students are able to make more connections quickly and be reading in a way that has them thinking about the story instead of just reading to get through it.

I didn’t use these with the “Top Secret” envelopes last time and my kids about fell off their chairs.  They love the secret envelopes so I’ll make sure I’m bringing those more regularly.

I use these for not only the reading/discussion portion of the lesson, but also the writing portion occasionally.  This is another great way that I can differentiate and prompt at the different levels students are in the group.  Yesterday my students had to answer questions such as:

  • What events in the story could not happen in real life?
  • What changes would you make to the story?
  • Combine two characters in the story in order to invent a new character, and write a short story with this new character as the main character in your story.
  • Create a new ending for the story.  Share this new ending with your classmates.

This has been a fun and more challenging way to get my students to think deeper, as we prepare for the DRA2 assessment and as we transition into a literature circle group where discussions and deep thinking are going to be essential to reading growth.