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Everything I Know About Education, I Learned from Big Hero 6

Yesterday, Anastasis teachers took some of our students (we auctioned ourselves off to the highest bidder) to see Big Hero 6. It. Was. Brilliant. We give it two thumbs up and five stars. I loved the inventiveness, the curiosity, and sheer ingenuity of the characters. I loved the development of each of the different personalities. I loved that the main character’s catch phrase becomes “just look at it from a new angle.” During the movie, one of our students looked at me and excitedly whispered, “Mrs. Tenkely, this movie is SO perfect for us! That is exactly what we do at Anastasis! Aren’t you glad we get to see THIS movie?!” She could not be more right, this is what we do at Anastasis. We look at problems from lots of different angles and recognize that learning is ongoing and there is often more than one way to solve a problem. I’m so excited that our students can verbalize this! Disney is a fantastic story teller, Big Hero 6 is no exception. As I reflected on the movie, I kept making connections between the movie and the way that we teach. Like everything else I encounter, I watched with an educator world view. As such, I thought I would follow in the footsteps of my friend @thenerdyteacher and write an “Everything I know about education, I learned from a movie” post. **Fair warning and spoiler alert, if you haven’t seen this movie yet, you might want to wait on this post.** Without further ado, here is Everything I Know About Education, I Learned from Big Hero 6: The main character, Hero, thinks that he knows his own path in life (illegal robotics fighting) until his brother, Tadashi, shows him a new way. Tadashi doesn’t try to convince Hero with words, instead he quietly leads and exposes him to a new way of seeing his options. Lesson: Some kids need to be shown/exposed to new ideas and perspectives. A lot of kids aren’t motivated by tests and grades, so they choose apathy (in whatever form that takes). As an educator, it is up to me to help kids see their options. It is my job to help them realize that they are more than a test or grade score. We can’t take for granted that kids will see that on their own. Tadashi takes Hero to the “Nerd School” lab where he works and introduces Hero to his friends. It is Hero’s curiosity and desire to tinker with new ideas that leads him to the decision to use his talents. Lesson: We need to capitalize on the natural curiosity that kids have. We need to give them lots of opportunities to tinker with new ideas. We need to support them and help them to see what their talents are. Big Hero 6 has two lead characters that are strong, smart females. They are brilliant! One is a little edgy and the other is a totally girly fashonista. Both are brilliant inventors. Lesson: Duh, girls are scientists and inventors, too! Never underestimate what any of your students can do. Every single one of them is unique and has gifts that should be cultivated! Nerd School is cool. Like, really cool. Lesson: Own your geek and help your students own their geek. Help your kids see the beauty in whatever they are passionate about. Help them own it. Teach them not to apologize or feel bad for the gifts they have (regardless of what others may say). Nerd school is way cool. When the friends of Tadashi come together to support Hero, they all become heroes. Lesson: Together our ideas are better. Help kids understand that we can appreciate ideas that are different from ours and that each new insight adds to a bigger whole. Hero needs friends after Tadashi dies. Lesson: We need each other for moral support. We don’t always know what is happening in our student’s lives. Those that push us away the most, may also be the very kids who need us the most. Help students connect, help them see each other’s genius. At Anastasis Academy, one of our teachers does an activity (throughout the year) called “speed friending.” Each student is connected with another student where they have an intentional 2 minute conversation where they have to go deeper than surface level. I have never seen whole classes of students gel and support each other the way that @lancefinkbeiner‘s kids do. And these are Jr. High students. There is something to connection. Human connection trumps technology (I’ll avoid the spoiler here, but you will know it when you see it). Lesson: Technology is cool and can be the catalyst for amazing learning, but it is not the main thing. The main thing is human connection. As teachers, we deal in humanity. Make sure that is always the focus in your classroom. “There is someone in there, I have to go in.” Twice in the movie a character makes a decision to face danger on behalf of another. Lesson: No child left behind. Really! We have to have this attitude in our classrooms (failed political strategies aside). It is up to us not to leave kids behind. Our job is to do the dangerous thing and go in after them. They all matter. Baymax is the greatest robot ever. The connection he makes with other characters (even with the limitations of his programming) is really fabulous. Lesson: Technology can be used as a connector. I’ve seen this over and over again. See: Blogger Alliance, and even today I got an email from the production company that created the How We Got To Now series. They read my blog post and sent it on to Steven Johnson (the author and host of How We Got to Now). Excitement and joy ensued. Technology connects your students to the wider world and can enhance human connection. In the movie, every character has an attitude of possible. Of, “we can figure it out.” Lesson: We can foster grit. We can help students develop an attitude of possible. They can figure it out. They can find solutions, they are genius. Big Hero 6 might be top 10 Disney movies. It really is pretty brilliant. It encourages creativity, science, math, invention, and innovation. All things that I want to foster at Anastasis.   If you are an administrator, Big Hero 6 might be the perfect movie to take your staff to as a professional development outing. Just saying. We are hosing an education conference in February! Join us for a weekend of inspiration, conversation, and implementation. Early Bird Registration through the end of November!

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Bloom’s Taxonomy Re-imagine & Digital Blooms: different ways to approach learning

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Anastasis Academy, Apply, Blooms Taxonomy, Create, Evaluate, inspiration, Knowledge (remember), Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain) | Posted on 17-10-2012

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I’ve long been a fan of Bloom’s Taxonomy…not necessarily for all the ways it has been pushed into different fads throughout the years, but instead for the way that it helps me (and my students) think about the learning process.  It helps me approach the learning process in a more holistic way, ensuring that I don’t camp out in one way of thinking and evidencing learning for too long.  I think it is human nature to get excited about one way of thinking and suddenly everything we do falls into that.  It can be a little bit like the new car that you purchased, you begin to see that car everywhere because you have a new awareness of it.  I’ve noticed myself doing the same in teaching.  Bloom’s Taxonomy helps me to keep myself cognizant of all the different ways to approach learning.

A few years ago, I created some different versions of Bloom’s Taxonomy for my students.  I wanted them to really think about all the different ways that they can approach learning.  Learning isn’t just memorization.  It isn’t just reading and understanding.  Most traditional schooling has them believing that this is all there is to learning.  One of my goals over the past year is to help students understand that learning is life.  It is a part of everything we do. There is something to be learned in every situation and from everyone we encounter.  There are different ways to learn that give us a larger understanding and help us to make connections.  That is exciting!

You will notice that my images don’t have the traditional Bloom’s pyramid.  That is intentional. Each of these ways of thinking is important in its own right. I have used these with students so that they have an awareness of the different ways of learning, but also so that they can see what options are available to them when they are demonstrating learning.  Powerful things happen when students can make decisions about how they choose to learn. Challenge them to enter into learning in different ways.  A new approach to the same question can bring about amazing new insights.

Are you looking for the full-size poster version of these images?  You can find them here, best of all you will be helping me make personalized education a reality for EVERY child.  The poster options are along the right side of the page.  My favorite is still the Peacock :)


And the digital version:


Breakdown of the digital taxonomy with links:


BBC Skillwise- http://www.bbc.co.uk/skillswise/

Spelling City- http://spellingcity.com

Starfall- http://starfall.com

Discovery Streaming- http://streaming.discoveryeducation.com

Lexipedia- http://lexipedia.com

YouTube- http://youtube.com

Gamegoo- http://www.earobics.com/gamegoo/gooey.html

PBS Kids- http://pbskids.org


Into the Book- http://reading.ecb.org

Skype- http://skype.com

Treasures- http://activities.macmillanmh.com/reading/treasures/

Book Adventure- http://bookadventure.org

Twitter- http://twitter.com


Kerpoof- http://kerpoof.com

PhotoBooth- Software

Scholastic- http://www2.scholastic.com/browse/learn.jsp

Fotobabble- http://fotobabble.com

Google Earth- http://google.com/earth


Read Write Think- http://readwritethink.org

Cool Iris- http://cooliris.com

Wordle- http://wordle.net

Creaza- http://creaza.com

Mindomo- http://mindomo.com


Shelfari- http://shelfari.com

Wikipedia- http://wikipedia.com

Think.com- http://think.com

Nota- http://notaland.com


Pic-Lits- http://piclits.com

Kerpoof- http://kerpoof.com

ZimmerTwins- http://zimmertwins.com

Wiki Spaces- http://wikispaces.com

DomoNation- http://domonation.com

Glogster- http://edu.glogster.com

Creaza- http://creaza.com

Voicethread- http://voicethread.com

Kidblog- http://kidblog.org

Wetpaint- http://www.wetpaint.com

edublogs- http://edublogs.org

Stage’d- http://stagedproject.com/

Garageband- Software

iMovie- Software

I have also started a breakdown of apps for the iPad by Bloom’s Taxonomy. This one is a work in progress and has not been added to in quite some time.


Are you wondering how you can help me make the Learning Genome Project a reality?  Tweet, blog, send it as a story tip to news organizations, donate, send it to family/friends/colleagues/acquaintances.  Buy the Bloom’s images above in the Poster version.  Thank you for all of your help and support!

Comments (5)

Thanks for sharing these. I’m also a great fan of bloom’s and use it with 1st grade to help structure assessment tasks.

Dear Kelley,
Hi my name is Jazmin, I am a student at the University of South Alabama. I commented on your post for Construct #2 last month. I really like the approach you are using in your classroom for the Bloom’s Taxonomy. Even better how you created posters for a classroom setting to share with everyone. Students should be able to see they have options when it comes to learning, and that everything does not revolve around standards. I feel this is what you did when you listed under each of the learning categories. I would like to use this approach, and hope I can buy these posters later on in the future. Thank you for taking the time to read my comment and if you would like you can visit my blog.


Teaching online is a great experience and people who are using an online teaching platforms like WizIQ are teaching beyond any geographical boundaries. These online teaching platform enables student to get register in the class of any teacher of their choice. Teacher can also teach them in a interactive manner using audio-video communication, sharing any file, text chat with students, whiteboards tools to draw anything, creating any courseware, conducting online tests and many more applications.

This is appropriate. The taxonomies needs to respond to the emerging needs. As we embrace technology, environmental, inclusions and gender issues we need to re look the taxonomies to respond to the needs. Appropriate placement will bring out more relevancy.

[…] have represented the taxonomy as a series of interlocking gears, a blooming rose (hah!), and a feathered bird – just to name a few. Notably, Rex Heer at Iowa State’s Center for Excellence in […]

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