Classify that!

As I’ve said in previous posts, as I read many reflective blogs following the #EdChatNZ conference I’ve been kicking myself for not using SOLO taxonomy as a thinking tool. I don’t know why I haven’t been using it until now. It’s so easy and the kids have responded to it so very quickly. If you can all please now imagine me smacking my forehead with the palm of my hand and admonishing myself with a resounding “duh!” Thank you.

For the past week or so we’ve been investigating the arrival of settlers to New Zealand – specifically Canterbury. This is our what. The why is: I want them to be able to compare their lives as they currently are to those of the first settlers to try to get some appreciation of both what they have and what the early settlers had to toil for.

Yesterday, after a few days of research I would call an information dump – discovering as much as you can about a topic as quickly as possible – I decided it was time to organise the information. I looked through my old SOLO maps and the Classify Map jumped out at me as being the most useful for organising our ideas into some kind of order. Here’s the original.

Here’s our whiteboard version:


Having all our ideas classified and grouped is helping guide our questioning. When we discovered there were gaps in what we had found out, I was able to set up some questions to help fill in the gaps. Translating my board scrawl – How did they know where they were going to live (when they got to NZ)? and How was that organised?


Here’s one I made using the Lucid Chart application on Google Drive. Click on the picture to see a bigger version.

I am now displaying this flowchart on the board each day. As more information is discovered it is being added to the chart (almost in real time, but not quite!). This is now combining nicely with our Uber-document – a large collaborative piece of work which is also being added to daily.

When I asked, the kids said this classification process has help them organise their ideas and thoughts. It was easy for them to verbalise their next steps based on what they need to find out next. It’s also helped my questioning while I move around the room.

You’ve got some stuff there about how the settlers got over the hills from Lyttelton… how did they get from the ship to shore? How do you think they felt when they were on the boat?

We are now moving on to our final stage – creating websites using their information through the Weebly platform. They will be moving to extended abstract before we know it!

I will have further updates as they come to hand.