Essence of wet dog thinking

by Pam Hook on August 27, 2016

in deep learning, SOLO Maps, SOLO Taxonomy

“Less is more” thinking lies at the heart of a SOLO rubric.

When we make the SOLO Taxonomy level of learning outcomes visible using text-based success criteria – SOLO differentiated rubrics – we show students that learning outcomes are malleable not fixed. They focus on the strategies that might help shift their learning outcome to another level. However, if the quantity of text in the differentiated rubric is too large students can experience cognitive overload. It feels overwhelming to read 5 different outcome descriptors before deciding on the SOLO level of your work.

When I create a SOLO differentiated rubric for an achievement objective or desired learning outcome I rework it many many times until I am happy that I have captured the outcome in its simplest way. I call it “essence of wet dog” thinking – can I reduce the quantity and complexity of the text until I capture “the essence of wet dog” – less is more thinking.

I remain very chuffed with my SOLO visual rubrics based on the academic verbs. I created these using “essence of wet dog” thinking in 2011. They use variously coloured-in elements in the SOLO map templates to communicate the different SOLO levels for define, describe, sequence, compare explain causes etc – and they achieve this with an elegance and simplicity that text could never achieve.

HOTSOLOVisualRubric Describe_450

Other educators use visual rubrics to make SOLO surface and deep learning outcomes accessible to their students. But in my experience none do this as well as Emlyn Wright. He has my “essence of wet dog” thinking award. Emlyn is Head of Graphics, Design and Technology Departments at Lincoln High School in Christchurch, New Zealand. He creates and uses the most fabulous visual SOLO rubric posters to make learning in technology visible for his students. And over the years many students across New Zealand have been advantaged by his work.

Some sample posters from Emlyn are shared below:

emlyn_lhs1_Understanding (424 x 600)

emlyn_lhs1_Concepts (424x599)

emlyn_lhs1_Sketching (424 x 600)

And before you ask – I do not sell the posters in the HookEDshop – but if you contact me via the website I promise to pass on his contact details.

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