Brain Research, Innovation, Leadership

Blooming Orange and the Magical Number Seven

I love the color orange so of course, anything with “orange” in the title is going to catch my eye.  The people at Smart Tutor have been busy creating a new way of looking at Bloom’s Taxonomy with the creation of the Blooming Orange.  Now, Blooms’ Taxonomy is not new but this is a fresh way of looking at it.  Here is what makes it different:

  • the stages of the taxonomy are typically presented as steps or as a hierarchy.  In this diagram, they all take a spot on the outer circle to signal that most of the time, these skills do not occur in isolation but simultaneously alongside other skills
  •  careful thought has gone into choosing the verbs that fill each segment of the orange. The list is by no means definitive but serves the purpose of clearly articulating what you would see someone doing if they were “understanding”  or “applying” in their learning.

You may have noticed that there are seven verbs in each segment.  This number was decided upon purposefully as a result of research into how many discrete pieces of information the human brain can contend with at one time.  Newer research would say that the number seven is too high – that it is more like 3 or 4 – but the Smart Tutor folks felt that seven was a good number and would ensure all could be recalled.

Download the pdf’s here:

I think it is a good idea to share these types of things with students.  I also think they are good tools to use as a self-assessment of what you are asking of your kids as a teacher. What segments get the most of your attention?  What do your kids spend the most of their time doing?

Today I got some great advice from Simon Sinek in my mailbox that in the light of our Exhibition, I not only endorse and believe in, but I know to be true.

And isn’t that what school is for?  I asked that question during our Fifth Grade moving up (to Middle School) ceremony.  What is school for?  In my opinion, and to quote myself from my book “Imagine a School…” our goal should be to nurture

“passionate, persistent citizens, who are fearless and strong”.


Nothing there are being compliant, checking of boxes, waiting to be asked.

We need people who will take initiative, look for responsibility, lead without regard for title or power and care more than is necessary.  With that being said, how do you assign responsibility in your classroom? How would you answer the question,

“What is school for?”

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4 thoughts on “Blooming Orange and the Magical Number Seven”

  1. Very thought provoking Sonya…thanks for the post. I have so many thoughts about school, that it’s really hard to fit them into a comment, but I’ll do my best.

    Ultimately, school is to make good people who can critically think through issues, take responsibility, and work together. Granted, there’s more to it than that, but I think it’s a good place to start :).

    1. Tony! You are the Bumper Sticker guy! Love it! Just ordered a sticker! Encourage others to do the same! Now I feel a bit naff with the ‘Make School Different’ comment! I honestly had no idea! (Shuffles off, slightly embarrassed but proud to soon be sporting her new favorite phrase on a bumper sticker…) http://bumpercharity.com/

  2. That is a great place to start, Phil. Thanks for sharing! I agree, the question is loaded and extensive in the possibilities for how it might be answered. We have to start somewhere though, right? I think the more the answers to that question sound like yours and the less we hear things like “to get into a good university”, we will be on the way to the change needed to Make School Different.

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