Tag Archives: SOLO

Hexagonal Learning with Tuck Everlasting

When you can give students time to deeply discuss a text, you may be surprised by the connections and conclusions they make on their own.  This is the purpose of “Hexagonal Learning.”  You can read more about the origins and many uses of Hexagonal Learning in a blog post I wrote 4 years ago on the topic. (I can’t believe it has been that long!!)

When my gifted fourth graders completed Tuck Everlasting, I wanted to facilitate a rich and meaningful discussion about the novel.  Ahead of time, I visited Pam Hook’s SOLO Hexagon Generator and created 3 pages of terms from Tuck.  One sheet included a character’s name in each hexagon.  The 2nd sheet, printed on a different color, had one of the book’s themes in each hexagon, and the 3rd sheet, also printed on a different color, had symbols from the book.  I also printed a 4th sheet as a blank, so students could add more words to hexagons.

The task for the students was to connect the hexagons in as many ways as they could.  Having learned about tessellations, they already knew how easily several could connect together.  I explained that I was looking for “deep” connections, not something like putting two characters together because they were both boys.  Then, I split the students into small groups, and gave each group a set of the hexagons and a long piece of paper to slide them around on.  Then I “hovered” so I could listen to their conversations.

The first thing I noticed was that they stayed completely on task, and took the discussion very seriously.  They got very excited when they were able to put several hexagons around one central word.  When I worried that there wasn’t really a meaningful connection, they were quick to explain to me what I had been missing.  The groups had completely different conversations, and their final “hives” took on dissimilar shapes.

At the end, the students looked at each other’s collections, and asked questions to clarify.  Their faces would change from perplexed or slightly critical to understanding and, sometimes, even admiration for the unique connections.

I feel like this was definitely a better way for the students to make sense of the book we read than if I had lectured them about it.  In fact, I may have learned a few things about Tuck Everlasting from listening to them that I’d never considered before! (Click on images to enlarge.)

UPDATE 2/1/17: Here are links to some Tuck Everlasting hexagons you can use if you would like:

 

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Think Link

Think Link is a Beta site brought to us by David Riley, creator of one of my favorite teacher resources of all time, Triptico.  If you have not read my review about Triptico, you can click here – or just go directly to his site to download this magnificent educator toolbox.

Think Link is a neat way to integrate technology into the activity that I wrote about yesterday – Hexagonal Learning.  On the Think Link site, you can create your own board of hexagons, add notes to each one, and manipulate them.  You can save your boards to be used whenever you like on that computer.  This is an alternative to cutting out a lot of hexagons to distribute to your students.  Think Link could be used for your students to generate hexagon words as a class about a particular topic.  The board could be saved, and then different student groups could create their own relationships with the words to show their understanding of the topic.

I highly recommend trying a Think Link activity with your students this year.

SOLO Taxonomy

SOLO stands for “Structure of Observed Learning Outcomes”.  I came across this taxonomy when I was researching another resource that I will be offering in tomorrow’s post.  I thought it might be helpful to offer this one first just in case you, like me, have never heard of SOLO.

The graphic below, taken from the Otonga Primary School blog, gives an overview of SOLO:

 

I highly recommend that you visit the Otonga Primary School site, as it gives great examples of each of the thinking stages.

Some of you may note that this looks a bit like Bloom’s Taxonomy.  I noticed this, too.  So, I dug a bit deeper to try to find the difference, and discovered this page by Pam Hook that outlines what she considers to be the advantages of SOLO over Bloom’s.  I am not certain I agree with all of her statements, particularly that Bloom’s Taxonomy is more for teacher use than student use, but this post does help to clarify some of the differences.

I have not had professional development with SOLO, so I cannot speak to its effectiveness, but I do think that it is an interesting concept, and I am particularly intrigued by the Relational stage, which I will discuss more in tomorrow’s post.