Learning:  Get the HOTS!!

Higher Order Thinking Skills ("HOTS")



You know how it goes -


You sit in class,

   the teacher talks,

      you take notes,

         you regurgitate the info back on a multiple choice exam.

Is that learning?

You get information, but what do you do with it?


Higher Order thinking involves the transformation of information and ideas



'Taxonomy' just means 'classification' and Mr. Bloom was the guy who did the classifying.*

This pyramid represents different levels of learning.






Higher Order Thinking Skills

CreatingGenerating new ideas, products, or ways of viewing things; combining elements into a new pattern or product (designing, constructing, planning, producing, inventing, composing, devising, generating, modifying, planning, rearranging, reconstructing, revising, rewriting, telling, writing)
EvaluatingJustifying a decision or course of action; judging or deciding according to a set of criteria (checking, hypothesizing, critiquing, experimenting, judging, appraising, comparing, concluding, criticizing, defending, supporting, relating)
AnalyzingBreaking information into parts to explore understandings and relationships; breaking down or examining information (comparing, organizing, interrogating, finding, deconstructing, contrasting, diagramming, differentiating, discriminating, illustrating, inferring, separating, distinguishing)
ApplyingUsing information in another familiar situation; applying knowledge to new situations (implementing, carrying out, using, executing, changing, demonstrating, calculating, discovering, manipulating, modifying, operating, preparing, producing, relating, showing, solving)
UnderstandingExplaining ideas or concepts; understanding and interpreting meaning (interpreting, summarizing, paraphrasing, classifying, explaining, comprehending, converting, defending, distinguishing, estimating, generalizing, predicting, rewriting, translating)
RememberingRecalling information; memorizing and recalling facts (recognizing, listing, describing, retrieving, naming, finding, defining, identifying, knowing, labeling, matching, selecting)

Lower Order Thinking Skills


Interactive example of the levels



•What happened after...?
•How many...?
•What is...?
•Who was it that...?
•Can you name ...?
•Find the definition of…
•Describe what happened after…
•Who spoke to...?
•Which is true or false...?



•Can you explain why…?
•Can you write in your own words?
•How would you explain…?
•Can you write a brief outline...?
•What do you think could have happened next...?
•Who do you think...?
•What was the main idea...?
•Can you clarify…?
•Can you illustrate…?
•Does everyone act in the way that …. does?


•Do you know of another instance where…?
•Can you group by characteristics such as…?
•Which factors would you change if…?
•What questions would you ask of…?

•From the information given, can you develop

  a set of instructions about…?




•Which events could not have happened?

•If. ..happened, what might the ending have been?
•How is...similar to...?
•What do you see as other possible outcomes?
•Why did...changes occur?
•Can you explain what must have happened when...?
•What are some or the problems of...?
•Can you distinguish between...?
•What were some of the motives behind..?
•What was the turning point?
•What was the problem with...?


•Is there a better solution to...?
•Judge the value of... What do you think about...?
•Can you defend your position about...?
•Do you think...is a good or bad thing?
•How would you have handled...?
•What changes to.. would you recommend?
•Do you believe...? How would you feel if. ..?
•How effective are. ..?
•What are the consequences..?
•What influence will....have on our lives?
•What are the pros and cons of....?
•Why is ....of value?
•What are the alternatives?
•Who will gain & who will lose? 



•Can you design a...to...?

•Can you see a possible solution to...?

•If you had access to all resources,

  how would you deal with...?

•Why don't you devise your own way to...?
•What would happen if ...?
•How many ways can you...?
•Can you create new and unusual uses for...?
•Can you develop a proposal which would...?



Pohl, Learning to Think, Thinking to Learn


Remembering:  Recalling information (Recognizing, listing, describing, retrieving, naming, finding)
  • identify music symbols and terms
  • identify different rhythms and meters
  • identify specific intervals
  • recognize clefs, keys, and meters
Understanding:  Explaining ideas or concepts (Interpreting, summarizing, paraphrasing, classifying, explaining)
  • characterize and classify examples of music by genre, style, culture, or historical period
  • perceive performance problems and detect errors accurately
  • interpret music symbols and terms


Applying:  Using information in another familiar situation (Implementing, carrying out, using, executing)
  • apply knowledge of music forms
  • offer constructive suggestions for the improvement of a musical composition
  • transpose music
  • use standard music terminology
  • read and write standard music notation
  • interpret rhythmic and melodic phrases both aurally and from notation
  • interpret music symbols and terms both aurally and from notation
  • sight-read melodies in various modes and tonalities
  • read and write music that incorporates complex rhythmic patterns in simple, compound, and asymmetric meters
Analyzing:  Breaking information into parts to explore understandings and relationships (Comparing, organizing, deconstructing, interrogating, finding)
  • analyze musical performances using standard terminology
  • analyze intervals, music notation, chordal structure, harmonic progressions, rhythm, meter, and harmonic texture using standard notation
  • analyze musical forms in performance and listening repertoire, and characteristics of style and expression in musical performance
  • recognize and describe melody, harmony, and texture of a musical work
  • identify music forms
Evaluating:  Justifying a decision or course of action (Checking, hypothesizing, critiquing, experimenting, judging)
  • apply basic criteria for evaluating musical compositions, performances, and experiences
  • evaluate specific musical works and styles using appropriate music terminology
  • apply evaluative criteria appropriate for the style of given musical works
  • recognize accurate pitch, intonation, rhythm, and characteristic tone quality
  • diagnose performance problems and detect errors accurately
  • offer meaningful prescriptions for correcting performance problems and errors
  • offer constructive suggestions for the improvement of a musical composition
Creating:  Generating new ideas, products, or ways of viewing things (Designing, constructing, planning, producing, inventing)
  • improvise melodically, rhythmically, and harmonically
  • compose simple vocal and instrumental music
  • utilize compositional devices (e.g. repetition/contrast, delayed resolution, augmentation/diminution)
  • arrange vocal and instrumental music for specific purposes and settings


*Bloom originally categorized "Evaluation" as the top of the pyramid and "Synthesis" as #2.  A former student of Bloom's (Lorin Anderson) revised the order on the mid-nineties to what you see above.  The new version is referred to as "Bloom's Revised Taxonomy."


Tell me and I forget.  Teach me and I remember.  Involve me and I learn. - Benjamin Franklin