How to Use Bloom's Taxonomy to Teach Nursery Rhymes

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Bloom's taxonomy is the theory that cognitive operations work on six hierarchical levels, each dependent on the previous level. The levels are knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation.

Bloom's taxonomy can be applied to any subject for any age group and can certainly be adapted to teach nursery rhymes.

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Read pupils a nursery rhyme. They could retell it, describe it and answer questions about the rhyme. Activities at this stage could focus on learning the actual rhyme, discussing it and answering simple questions such as who, what and when. Students could list the nursery rhymes they know.

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Draw and label nursery rhyme characters. Ask students to explain the nursery rhyme. Put events in sequence. Have them rewrite or retell the events of the rhyme in their own words.

Ask questions such as, what if? For example, what if "Little Bo Peep" had searched for her sheep? What might have happened? Try some role-playing at this stage. What would you do if you were the farmer's wife and you were chased by the three blind mice? Act it out. Make a list of questions students would like to ask the characters in the nursery rhyme.

Analyse the nursery rhyme. Introduce other nursery rhymes and think about similarities and differences. For example, there are similar ideas in the rhymes of "Little Jack Horner" and "Little Miss Muffet." Discuss cause and effect; ask why things happened, what was the result, why did the author/storyteller do that?

Add new characters to the nursery rhyme, change situations or forecast what might happen next. Have pupils construct their own nursery rhyme. Older or more able students could do this by themselves, while younger ones could work in groups or as a whole class with the teacher writing everything down. Children could design a poster about their nursery rhyme, or design a book containing rhymes the class composed.

Evaluate the nursery rhymes, both traditional and those made up by the class. Give opinions and ask pupils to discuss what they like and dislike. They can decide what they would change, incorporating two stars and a wish--two things they like about the rhyme and one thing they would change. This process develops decision-making, debating, persuasive skills and self-assessment.