Critical thinking frameworks can be a huge help for teachers as they lesson plan, but knowing which one to use (and when) or how to apply them can often result in more questions than answers. Two of our editors’ favorite frameworks are Bloom’s Taxonomy (Original and Revised) and Depth of Knowledge. They each speak to a different dimension of thinking—one on tasks and the other on process—and both can be useful in planning instruction that challenge students to deepen their thinking.

About Bloom’s Taxonomy

Bloom’s Taxonomy categorizes thinking tasks into 6 different cognitive actions. The original version used nouns to describe these categories, but the revised version updated the nouns to verbs in order to reflect thinking as an active process. Bloom’s gives educators a classification system so that they can assess and plan for the level of thinking that students engage with during specific learning tasks.

  1. Remember
  2. Understand
  3. Apply
  4. Analyze
  5. Evaluate
  6. Create
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About Depth of Knowledge

Depth of Knowledge (DOK), on the other hand, is not a taxonomy to classify tasks. Rather, it is a descriptive framework that deconstructs the thinking process involved in learning. DOK describes how students think with 4 progressively deep levels of thinking:

  1. Recall and Reproduction
  2. Skills and Concepts
  3. Strategic Thinking/Reasoning
  4. Extended Thinking