Monday, 1 July 2013

The Awakening of Thought Through Blogging - Bloom's Taxonomy and Commenting

It was only recently I drew a link between Bloom's Taxonomy and the art of commenting on blogs. It's not that it wasn't there "staring me in the face" so to speak. It's just I hadn't connected the two until writing a comment on one class's blog. Which class blog? It was the Grade 3 students from a school in Calgary, Canada.

Global Grade 3 - a.k.a. Battalion Hawk Bloggers

Let's look at the above diagram. It was a grey scale public domain diagram sourced through Wikimedia Commons but I added colour shades to represent the "enlightening of thought".

How might Bloom's Taxonomy apply to blog commenting?

As for most things in life, I don't claim expertise in any area but have a curiosity about many so much of what I write is opinion but isn't that the case for many experiences in education? :)

My latest Extended Comment was for the Battalion Hawk Bloggers and their final post before end of school year vacation. 

Here is a link... Passing the Torch – A Metaphor for life’s learning journey for Battalion Hawk Bloggers and Beyond


There are posts with a simple message. I visit blogs where children are praised for what they have accomplished. At this first order of commenting, I might simply reinforce the praise.
Example: Being a neat writer is an important skill. Well done. :) 

Other blog posts are more complex. Something in a post might trigger a recall of information relevant in some way to the post. From the initial recall, I check my facts and search for extra information. I move to the next order of thought.
From my "Passing the Torch" extended comment: It was the metaphor used by Battalion Park Bloggers that interested me. I wanted to look more at it and its implications. At the Remembering level, I identified and defined the metaphor.


Some posts give extra details or children share some of their work. One young student particularly requested readers make inferences from the story she shared. For others, they end their posts by asking questions of the reader. Questions invite answers and answers show the blogger what was shared was understood.
Example:  Your report is well written. I found your information helpful but wondered, could you really learn a new language in such a short time?

Continuing the idea of creating a more complex comment, at this level I start considering how the information I gather might be of use to the comment under construction. It's at this stage I might start seeing different directions the comment might take.
From my "Passing the Torch" extended comment: With the metaphor identified and defined, I wanted to stimulate thought on the meaning so I questioned if we really pass the torch.
Rather than passing on our torch do we share the light with the new so their torches grow brighter and in the process kindle ours and prepare it to grow brighter still as we continue our learning journey?


Now we are moving onto a comment level where we're not simply responding to what is written. A comment might include suggestions based on what appears in the blog.
Example: I found your way of working out multiplication interesting. I have tried your method and found it worked. Thanks for sharing such a good idea.

For the more complex comment, this is where I might start applying facts or other data to draw Diagrams, pictures or charts as well as video, audio or photographs relevant to the post.
From my "Passing the Torch" extended comment: I now made use of found quotes I thought relevant.  They were there for the analysis stage.
“Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the single candle will not be shortened.” Buddha


This is where I believe an extended comment separates from a simple comment. By this stage there are probably diagrams, pictures, charts, video, audio and/or photographs to be included. Such inclusions are generally not permitted in comments on student blogs.
Now I look at the information and start to organise and look for links to build on an idea.

From my "Passing the Torch" extended comment: With the quotes in place, I then drew their relevance into the comment.
"The teacher kindles the torches of many during a career and in the process their own torch grows brighter. It’s the interaction with students that fuels their fire and thirst for learning and sharing. A little of themself is passed on to future generations in the process."


In the creation stage, I look for ways of combining information and using it to extend the learning for the blogging students. This can mean moving beyond the main topic of a post.

From my "Passing the Torch" extended comment:  With the idea we don't really pass the torch, we only brighten the torches of those who follow as we carry our torch forward, I wanted to apply this thought in another direction. I wanted to explain we carry our torch throughout life, i.e. our metaphorical torch is essentially our personal learning journey through life.
Drawing in my situation as a retired teacher, "I sought ways of being involved by writing for the young and sharing as a volunteer working with children but my torch has grown all the more brighter for the interactions I have shared through blogging. I have become a virtual teacher in the classrooms of many and in doing so have learned much more.
Our torch only truly grows dim when we close our minds to new knowledge and if we fail to share with others."


I left this till last but evaluating occurs when Analysing and Creating, and to a lesser degree when applying. I can at times be my own harshest critic as I question what I write. Self doubt can be a factor here.

From this post: In the process of writing this post, I had edited out a number of lines of thought or the way I was putting my case forward. In then end, if I see merit, I decide to publish a comment. Responses to my extended comments can show me if others see any merit or errors and I can respond. At times in some of my extended comments, I have modified my post and in others defended my choices. I don't claim to be an expert in any field but I do have opinions. Whether feedback is positive or critical, it also is part of a learning journey.

At the stage I also often add a statement to summarise my post. For the "Passing the Torch" extended comment, I wrote, "The torch has been shared and we have all grown from the experiences kindling our own."

So how does anything in this post directly apply to students?

I wouldn't expect young students to make any links to these levels of thinking but that doesn't mean they can't use them. I don't need to understand how power is generated and reaches the classroom but I do know how to turn on a light. For students, I had prepared some simple picture messages in the hope they can help guide their blogging and commenting skills. These can be used by schools or students if teachers find them of use.


  1. Hi Ross!

    What a GREAT surprise to wake up to this morning! I continue to check this blog, each and every day throughout the summer, even though students are off for their summer holidays. I do this for several reasons … first and foremost … I would hate to miss “approving” any message that a student or a reader may have left. Second, I can NOT believe how much “spam” can be generated each and every day. We have a couple of posts, in particular, that generate the majority of spam … I’ve tried making those posts “private” for several months, then “public” again. As soon as they are public … up starts the “spam” again. Ugh.

    I thoroughly enjoyed reading your “The Awakening of Thought Through Blogging – Bloom’s Taxonomy and Commenting” post for SO many reasons. I am relatively “new” to the classroom blogging “movement”. Last year, we really only BEGAN the process half way through the year, by the time approval and consent forms were all in place. So, essentially, it’s been 1 1/2 years. What an INCREDIBLE learning experience it’s been.

    Prior to beginning, we did a TON of exploring other classroom blogs. From there, we did a LOT of reflection on what it was that we liked about what we were seeing. For our purposes, our learning journey with our NGO and the work in Peru, helping to build a library in a small rural weaving village, it became quickly apparent that our blog would look quite different from many we saw. Ours was a “class” blog with a focus on sharing our “reflections and understanding” of this journey. The FUNNY thing, the UNEXPECTED thing, was how MUCH further the comment section of each post could take our “understanding” of these difficult concepts.

    Just like our learning with our NGO … and the “cultural iceberg” … the comment section had the potential to take us FAR below the surface … to the TRUE essence of understanding … further up the Bloom’s Taxonomy ladder. Right from the beginning, we KNEW the importance of replying to each and EVERY comment left on the blog. Little did we know, with our AMAZING interaction with you, that SO much on a blog could be missed if you DIDN’T take the time to read each of the comments and interactions taking place in this “interactive” section of the blog! Wow! WHAT a JOURNEY!

    You are SO right about the levels taking place. You have BLESSED us with pushing us deeper. It has been the time invested in deep and thoughtful commenting that has TRULY ignited curiosity … for each of us, each time we have interacted. I will NEVER forget, and will ALWAYS treasure this amazing interplay. Your recent tweet meant SO much to me: and MAY even end up somewhere on our classroom wall!

    Thank you, Ross. You have moved us beyond “praise” to “creating DEEPER meaning” each and EVER time we have shared our thoughts with one another. I owe you a HUGE heart-felt THANK YOU for being our “teacher on the OTHER side of the world”!

    I LOVE your classroom posters … and now have a particular love for ECHIDNAS … as do my students! Prior to this adventure, shockingly, many of us had never even HEARD of the “gentle echidna”. These lovely posters will ALSO make it onto the classroom walls.

    I look FORWARD to continuing this journey with you, Ross. We all feel BLESSED to know you.

    Laurie :)

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