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SOLO Taxonomy

The SOLO taxonomy is used throughout our school to help children extend their learning through the use of thinking maps. SOLO maps enhance thinking skills that extend children beyond their current experiences. The children learn to understand and use this language and this sets them on a path for lifelong skills in learning.

SOLO is divided into a number of levels of learning:

  • Prestructural where a child needs support in expressing an idea on the topic.
  • Unistructural where a child can express one relevant idea.
  • Multistructural where the child can express a number of relevant ideas e.g. defines, describes.
  • Relational where a child makes connections and links between these ideas e.g. compares & contrasts, analyses.
  • Extended abstract where a child thinks beyond the subject or takes the learning into a new context e.g. generalises, hypothesises.

Here is an example of a statement at the multi-structural level written by a Year 2 child – this statement was written after the child had completed a 'describe' map.

'Ladybugs are insects and they are a kind of beetle. They are living things. Ladybugs have 7 spots or 14 spots or 22 spots on their small round wing case.'

At this level children are able to give two or more ideas about a topic, and the ideas are not linked.

A relational level statement results when children are able to compare, contrast, classify, sequence and analyse. Children use words such as 'because', 'similar', 'therefore', 'whereas' and 'next' to make links between their ideas. This statement was written by a Year 2 child and is based on a 'compare and contrast' map.

'In NZ the flag is blue, red and white whereas the Tongan flag is red and white. In Tonga they speak Tongan and English however in NZ people speak Maori and English. Tongans and New Zealanders both weave but Tongan people weave with pandanas and in NZ people weave with flax. Both countries are islands. Both NZ and Tonga have Sunday School in their churches.'

This child has made use of 'whereas', 'both', and 'but' to link relevant ideas in her statement.

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