Sunday, 29 March 2015

SOLO Taxanomy - A Reflection

I have been exploring the use of SOLO Taxonomy as a means of trying to get more higher order thinking integrated into our literacy and as a way of helping the children become more metacognitive about their learning. 

I came across this interesting guide to evaluating as a teacher your use of SOLO in your classroom. It uses  the SOLO levels as a benchmark to gauge where you are up to and where to next.

Here are the main points of the guide.

How well are you implementing SOLO Taxonomy and HOT Maps?

Learning outcomes show unconnected information, no organisation. 
“e.g. “I need help to introduce SOLO Taxonomy as a common language for student understanding of learning outcomes.

Is SOLO use in your classrooms something you have yet to get around to?

What you see in the classroom: 
No visible evidence of SOLO symbols or HOT SOLO coded Maps and self assessment rubrics in the classroom

Where to next: 
For teachers with Pre-structural learning outcomes.

Learning outcomes show simple connections but importance not noted.

Are you using SOLO Taxonomy because you have been asked to? Can you explain why they are using the HOT Maps in terms of intended learning outcomes?

What you see in classrooms: 
HOT SOLO Coded maps and rubrics are used by teachers during the lesson. They are introduced to students with no explanation of their learning outcome or their purpose.

Where to next: 
For teachers with unistructural learning outcomes.

Learning outcomes show connections are made, but significance to overall meaning is missing. “I use them on a trial and error basis

Is your focus on HOT SOLO coded map use rather than the connection with student learning outcome?

What you see in classrooms: There is greater emphasis on the SOLO coded map use than student understanding of the learning outcomes.

Where to next: 
For teachers with multi-structural learning outcomes. 

Learning outcomes show full connections made, and synthesis of parts to the overall meaning 
“To help my students get a [ X ] learning outcome I plan to use [ X ] HOT Map because this map will ….

Are differentiated learning outcomes a planned focus of your use of HOT SOLO coded maps and rubrics?

What you see in classrooms: 
Student use of SOLO coded maps and self assessment rubrics is seen across all levels of learning outcomes - from unistructural to extended abstract.

Where to next: 
For teachers with relational learning outcomes

Learning outcomes go beyond subject and makes links to other concepts - generalises “We use SOLO Taxonomy and HOT Maps in everything we do … it has become part of the way we understand teaching and learning outcomes …

Are you and your students reflective users of the differentiated learning outcomes in SOLO Taxonomy. e.g. Intuitive use of SOLO to understand learning outcomes in the design, implementation and assessment of student learning 

What you see in classrooms: 
 SOLO Taxonomy and HOT Maps are seamlessly aligned and run in the background of the learning process.

My Reflection

Where am I at?
Through what I now have read and researched I have the understanding that SOLO is a process of learning, a way of making learning more metacognitive for the students so that they are able to ascertain what level of thinking they are at for a particular topic/task so they can identify what they need to do next to develop their thinking and to increase their understanding and thinking.  However having not introduced it into the classroom at all yet, (apart from trying to involve more higher thinking skills in reading activities) I would rate myself as being at the Prestructural Level.

I realise that it is not good enough for the teacher to just ensure that learning for students covers all range of learning levels. The children need to understand what SOLO is and how they use it so they develop better metacognitive thinking about their learning which will in turn give them more ownership and control.

This has helped me make a better plan of attack for introducing SOLO into our classroom. It is more important that I introduce SOLO to the children as a way to help them understand their own learning than just to ensure tasks and learning I set up encompass the learning levels. I had been thinking I just needed to start, but see it now as more important to put the time into the children  developing an understanding of the process rather than just using the Solo Map without referencing the whole model. 

I think that I would like to try and simultaneously introduce the taxonomy to the class while also trying to get the children to have an understanding of the learning outcomes (Solo Relational)  however realise that it just needs to happen one step at a time. The children will need to be scaffolded through the process to get an understanding of what it it about and the different tools they can use to help them learn.

So the challenge for me is,  how to spend the time developing an understanding of SOLO (what it is , how we can use it) etc whilst still maintaining effective literacy learning through reading and writing groups, (literacy being the only part of the day I teach as I am also doing Reading Recovery.)
I know that it is important to spend the time and that it will pay off 4-fold but with the children starting out on chrome books this term as well as adjusting to a more open learning situation, it already feels that solid literacy rotations and learning has been compromised.

Nevertheless for the last week of term my aim is to introduce SOLO in our reading slot. Essentially make a start!!