Tuesday 12 August 2014

Getting started with SOLO Taxonomy in a New Entrant or ECE Learning Environment

So having explored ways to introduce SOLO Taxonomy to our early years learners, I have found my most effective way; help them learn to physically 'DO' something while VISIBLY referring to the SOLO symbols and explaining the levels.

I think every class has some set routines that we expect our students to follow to prepare for the day, and every teacher of early years learners knows that teaching these 'routines' (or the unwritten curriculum) are as important as teaching the curriculum areas!

I ask myself: What is one thing I wish my learners would do, that they can't to now? I want to make it useful! Yes I want them to learn about the levels of SOLO Taxonomy, but I want to make it purposeful!

  • My learners aren't getting themselves ready for learning in the morning. (Prestructural at preparing themselves for the school day in my classroom)

  • I want my learners to hang their own bags up (I remind myself of this EVERY time I reach to pick up my daughter's bag!)   (Unistructural: DO ONE THING)

  • I want them to get their own lunch box out, their drink bottle out, their book bag out, go to the toilet. (Multistructural: DO MORE THAN ONE THING)

  • BUT now, I want them to know, and be able to explain WHY they are doing these things - and I don't want the answer to be "Because you told us to!" (Relational: MAKE A CONNECTION, EXPLAIN)

  • AND what if... as new learners enter/begin in our new entrant class, or we notice some learners are still at a Unistructural or Multistructural level for this goal... What if some learners began teaching this skill to other learners? (Extended Abstract: APPLYING TO A DIFFERENT CONTEXT/THINKING IN A NEW WAY)

But... They can't read yet! No problem - most of them are great 'talkers' let's talk about this a lot!
Let's use the SOLO hand signs +Pam Hook created.
Let's take photos of what these actions look like and place them beside the symbols.
Let's model and act it out.
Let's draw ourselves doing each action.
Get the oral language skills flowing!

If you are unistructural at using SOLO with your learners, you may wish to create the rubric yourself - but do use Pam Hook's SOLO Learning Outcome generator!http://pamhook.com/solo-apps/learning-intention-generator/ to save you time & energy - she did this for us!

If you are using SOLO already, you might like to try co-constructing the rubric with your learners - Ask the above question of your kids: What do we need to do to get ready for learning? And add the SOLO symbols and vocab as they give their responses.

Here's a rubric my class co-created with me this year in week 1:

This is one way - there are an infinite ways to introduce SOLO Taxonomy, as it is applicable to anything anyone might want to learn. I hope others might comment and share their own so I can learn more! 


  1. I have just started to use something similar in my Intermediate (11-13 year olds) classroom, with great success. These guys knew what they should do, but didn't always do it. It now means that I have several helpers who remind their class mates to be prepared for learning and even offer each other equipment to us, so that their classmates will have a blue pen at writing time. One of my students with differing needs is working on bringing his laptop to school fully charged - his ownership, rather than my nagging - a nice way to start the day. I love the simplicity and visibility of this model.

  2. Thank you so much for your comment & for sharing how you are using SOLO as a model for learning in your class! I love hearing how others are using it to empower learners to 'own' their declarative and functional learning. The fact that you are using it with intermediate students & I with Year 0/1s reiterates how useful it can be for learners in any context and regardless of age.