It is great to finish 2016 with a fab review.

This one is for the Danish translation of “First Steps with SOLO Taxonomy.  Applying the model in your classroom.” Published by Dafolo.

The review in Danish is featured in Læsepædagogen nr. 5/2016. 

After describing the content the reviewer states:

“I truly believe that many students could benefit from visualizing their learning and learning strategies through SOLO, especially students with reading difficulties.”  


Pam Hook: SOLO-taksonomien i praksis.
Oversat af Simon Hastrup. Serie: Undervisning
og læring i praksis. Illustreret.
126 sider. Kr. 250,- ekskl. moms. Dafolo,


english_front_slide_450SOLO Taxonomy hand signs are a powerfully simple way to watch thinking in action. These spontaneous gestures of thought are a learning strategy that helps students and teachers make sense of learning.

In using gesture to represent increasing levels of cognitive complexity – surface to deep to conceptual (transfer) outcomes – SOLO hand signs have the potential to enhance the sense making in any learning conversation.

In my experience, once introduced the hand signs are quickly integrated into all classroom and staff room talk. Furthermore, the concurrent use of SOLO gestures with the SOLO terms and symbols captures, clarifies and reinforces the nature of the learning task and desired learning outcome.


When observing teachers and students who use SOLO to good effect you will notice the skilled and active use of this consistent visual imagery integrated within the classroom discourse. The SOLO hand signs help embody surface and deep learning.

I am curious about mimicry. When using SOLO hand signs you will often observe teachers or students who spontaneously mimic the SOLO hand signs of the speaker. They appear to borrow the significant gestures in ways that help both parties make meaning of the conversation.

The power of gesture is also evident when the SOLO hand signs are used in SOLO rubrics and visual displays.  The examples below are from Isleworth School in New Zealand.









Why do I post this?

Gesture is often neglected in conversations about effective strategies.  SOLO hand signs are a powerful pedagogical approach when used in isolation and when integrated with other multiliteracies.  These spontaneous gestures of thought are a learning strategy that do not need a printing or laminating budget. Use of gesture is generic – effective across any surface to deep to conceptual learning. They are a SOLO learning strategy that is easy to implement and cheap to sustain – and as such as they are worthy of our attention.



Horses for courses

September 2, 2016

Embed from Getty Images Just as there are “different horses for different courses” so there are different learning strategies for different stages of the learning process A recent article by John Hattie and Gregory Donoghue (2016) uses meta-analyses, effect sizes and a more nuanced model of surface and deep understanding to look at learning strategies […]

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Essence of wet dog thinking

August 27, 2016

Embed from Getty Images “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 […]

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5 Strategies for Deep Learning

August 21, 2016

Using SOLO Taxonomy as a model for surface and deep learning learning is a sandbox pedagogy. Embed from Getty Images Using SOLO helps create learning environments that are option rich – collaborative, adaptable and much like a sandbox – always open to the introduction of new possibilities and opportunities for deep learning. The following slides […]

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Thinking about knowledge

August 20, 2016

Knowledge and what we miss when we limit our focus to a discussion about parts of speech – “verbification” and all that.

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HookED SOLO Map Animations

July 24, 2016

New SOLO resources on YouTube The HookED SOLO Map Animations are instructional (how to) video for the SOLO Maps. The first SOLO Maps to be animated: Define, Describe, Sequence, Classify, Compare and Contrast, Generalise, and Predict Each animation is designed by the ever fabulous Nick Denton. And yes I will be uploading more SOLO Map […]

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Sketching the New Zealand Curriculum

July 20, 2016

Embed from Getty Images Planning for successful learning is not unlike planning successful plays for team sports. I have a new creative project this year – I am sketching the New Zealand Curriculum (NZC). One achievement objective at a time. Sketching ideas for learning, showing how they can be connected and extended is fun. It […]

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The Olympics and SOLO Taxonomy

July 17, 2016

Embed from Getty Images A question from Pete in New Zealand Hi Pam, Pete here from XXXX School. We are making a start on our plan for next term. We want to look at “success” as a concept and the challenges and opportunities in becoming successful… linking this to the Olympics and integrating the role […]

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School Values and SOLO Taxonomy

July 16, 2016

Embed from Getty Images A question from Siobhan in New Zealand We met when you came to [xxxxxx College] last term. In between one of the slots with the teachers, I was asking you about ways to link SOLO to our school values. You said you may have some ideas that you could share with […]

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