Recalling facts and memorizing dates are “wading-pool” expeditions into learning. When students dive deep into learning, it is through depth of thought.
The "order" in Higher-Order is..
These levels (a hierarchy) represent successively more complex thought processes.
Encouraging students to engage in successively more complex thought seems to be valued more highly than pressuring students to memorize just the right answer.
One reason for valuing thoughts such as Application, Analysis, Synthesis and Evaluation is that these thoughts are the basis of planning and problem solving.One way that teachers encourage Higher-order Thinking is by asking Higher-Order Questions.
Another way that Higher-order Thinking is developed is through a wide range of learning experience. Experiences that are mapped to oral language, i.e., the teacher talking and the children daydreaming (I mean "listening"); limits sensory input to only one channel.
And, if the students are reading, they are translating printed words into sub vocalized sounds, still more Verbal/ Linguistic input.
But, what happens if Verbal/ Linguistic skills are less developed in some children. Well, nothing.
Minimal learning, that is. Teachers that broaden and deepen instruction by asking Higher-Order Questions, also widen instruction and skill practice by mapping learning to many kinds of sensory, motor, and experience channels.
This is what some call "Learning Styles."
This is what has come to be know as "Multiple Intelligences."
Multiple Intelligences are real-world, street-smart, experience skills. Here is a list (although folks keep “discovering” new intelligences. I think that they are just paying better attention to children and becoming more perceptive about learning. Here is a list: (Hint: we just make up new intelligences as we go. The abilities of children to learn are like closets: No matter how many more we build, the learning closets are always filled. )
It doesn't really matter that every time we list these Intelligences that we come up with a new order and additional components. This just shows that we are aware that children have many styles, modes and channels for learning. And, this shows that we value learning to be more than the facts that we can teach children to repeat.
Graphic Organizers are tools for encouraging higher-order thinking.
The first question is whether Graphic Organizers are a tool that helps students achieve this more valued kind of thinking.
The second question is whether the use of these tools is easy and inexpensive enough so that the already burdened teacher can implement the strategy without undue trauma or personal stress.
The tool should increase students' learning without minimizing the teacher's family time and without diminishing the teacher's personal life (because the tool is too time consuming to manage easily).
Fortunately, Graphic Organizers are inexpensive, easy to create and easy to use.
But, Higher-Order Thinking doesn't happen just because there is a Graphic Organizer on each student's desks. Higher-Order Thinking is sparked because there is a master teacher in the room.
Higher-order thinking is sparked because students are engaged, active, curious, and excited.
Here are links to a dynamic model of teaching.
Project-based learning is one of the most strategic methods that teachers can use to reinforce all the right kinds of learning activities:
The following link is our invention of a project-based plan that can be used: