Verbs to Organize Lessons & Classes

Hear the Lecture

A Version of Bloom's Taxonomy

Finding coherent ways to organize lessons and to make choice among a variety of exercises and activities is an ongoing challenge for teachers.  To help provide structure for such choices, educators have developed a variety of systems.  You may have heard of "Bloom's Taxonomy," a system to help us think about the intellectual challenges of materials and their associated activities. 

At a conference on distance learning, we were given information about ways to use a version of the Bloom system in organizing web-based courses.  The attached list gives verbs about what students do at different levels of the system.  You might find the verbs useful in helping you think about the choices we're discussing in the small groups this semester. 

We need to be careful not to discard memorization as a part of our systems just because that learning task is placed at the bottom of the Bloom system.  For one thing, memorization of new information is the basis for the other "higher order thinking" stages that come later in the system.  For another, memorization is often a challenge for learners, who need help in developing strategies that work for their own learning.  Additionally, it is sometimes possible to jump to the higher levels a bit too fast.  For example, it is possible to understand the grammatical system of a language but not be able to speak the language because of limited vocabulary stored in memory. 

Click Here to See a Chart of 
This Bloomian System.

Another Similar System

While working on the quizzes for this course, I read a book by Thomas M. Haladyna on writing multiple-choice tests. He claims that such tests do not have to be aimed only at the lower levels of thinking (or of "cognition" as we often say in the academic world).  I recommend the book to you for its analysis of assessment and its practical tips on item writing.  He, too, provides a system that analyzes intellectual activities into a hierarchy with verbs to specify the things students should be required to do at each level.

His system is simplier than that of Bloom and, thus, perhaps a bit easier to implement.

Click here to see a chart of 
Haladyna's system.

There are many such systems--and not all looking at cognitive demands of certain types of teaching/learning activities.  Others analyze the emotional challenges involved in particular activities.  However, for our purposes this semester, these two systems can give us plenty to think about as we analyze the exercises provided in Applied English Grammar and plan lessons using those activities. 

To find how other teachers and programs are using the Bloom system, just go to and search for "bloom's taxonomy" and you'll see some amazing things!

Please send me your questions and comments.  Thanks.


Bloom, B., Englehart M. , Furst, E. , Hill, W. , and Krathwohl, D.  (1956). Taxonomy of educational objectives: The classification of educational goals. 

Haladyna, Thomas M. (1997).  Writing Test Items to Evaluate Higher Order Thinking  Needham Heights, MA: Allyn & Bacon Publisher.