10 Days in Maine

It’s a family tradition. Every year, around the Fourth of July, we head to Maine to visit my grandparents. I look forward to this trip every year. However, this year’s trip held a special place in my heart. I will have to wait two years to set foot in the great state of Maine again as I will be in Malaysia next July. Until then, I’ll have these photographs to remind me of the journey.


High above Iowa, the former homeland.


A river flows south to meet Lake Erie.


Sediments from an unknown river mix with those of Lake Erie.


Our approach into Boston made for an excellent opportunity to photograph the city.


As they say on the East Coast: “Fresh Lobstah.”

As an educator, I have a special adoration for Boston and its rich history.

As an educator, I have a special adoration for Boston and its rich history. This city seal still adorns the famed Boston Commons (circa 1630).

Another Boston must: Mike's Pastry for a cannoli.

Another Boston must: Mike’s Pastry for a cannoli.

It was only fitting that we ate at Boston's top Malaysian restaurant.

It was only fitting that we ate at Boston’s top Malaysian restaurant.


My grandparent’s homestead in Newfield, Maine.


The view of the lake from the dock.


Freshly caught and served “Lobstah.”


In Maine, it is all about the lobstah.


An atlantic fog rolls into port in Freeport, Maine.


In addition to outstanding seafood, Freeport is also known as the headquarters for L.L. Bean. Check out their Boston Red Sox Bean Bootmobile.

In addition to outstanding seafood, Freeport is also known as the headquarters for L.L. Bean. Check out their Boston Red Sox Bean Bootmobile.


Checking out the Atlantic Ocean along Maine’s beautiful coastline.


One last look across the lake before heading back to Colorado. I’ll have to wait two years before I’ll be back on this dock.

Excellent Resource: Question Starters Using Bloom’s Taxonomy

Think back to your days in an introductory-level education or psychology course. If I were to guess, you were most likely exposed to Bloom’s Taxonomy when you discussed higher-level thinking. The taxonomy is a visual representation of the different levels of thinking learners engage with while processing information. Lower-level questioning can be categorized at the bottom of the model: simple fact recall and comprehension questions. Higher-order questions fall in the upper levels of the model: applying information or analyzing content.

During my undergraduate coursework and early in my teaching career, I have found myself referring back to this model to help guide my instruction. Teaching in its purest form is effective questioning. As an educator, I am responsible for guiding my students on a path towards understanding. One of the most effective, and student-friendly, ways of doing this is through questioning. To be an impactful teacher is to be a skillful questioner.

But this is where it can get tricky: how can we, as educators, take what we know about Bloom’s taxonomy and higher-order questioning and apply it in a day-to-day classroom setting?  Thankfully, I stumbled upon this Curriculet article. The article addressed this exact issue by generated question stems for each of the levels in Bloom’s taxonomy. The stems are laid out below. I hope that these stems will find their way into your classroom, I know they will end up in mine.


Level 1: Remember – Recalling Information

Key words: Recognize, List, Describe, Retrieve, Name, Find, Match, Recall, Select, Label, Define, Tell

Question Starters:

  • What is…?
  • Who was it that…?
  • Can you name…?
  • Describe what happened after…?
  • What happened after…?


Level 2: Understand – Demonstrate an understanding of facts, concepts and ideas

Key words: Compare, Contrast, Demonstrate, Describe, Interpret, Explain, Extend, Illustrate, Infer, Outline, Relate, Rephrase, Translate, Summarize, Show, Classify

Question Starters:

  • Can you explain why…?
  • Can you write in your own words?
  • Write a brief outline of…?
  • Can you clarify…?
  • Who do you think…?
  • What was the main idea?


Level 3: Apply – Solve problems by applying knowledge, facts, techniques and rules in a unique way

Key words: Apply, Build, Choose, Construct, Demonstrate, Develop, Draw, Experiment with, Illustrate, Interview, Make use of, Model, Organize, Plan, Select, Solve, Utilize

Question Starters:

  • Do you know of another instance where…?
  • Demonstrate how certain characters are similar or different?
  • Illustrate how the belief systems and values of the characters are presented in the story.
  • What questions would you ask of…?
  • Can you illustrate…?
  • What choice does … (character) face?


Level 4: Analyze – Breaking information into parts to explore connections and relationships

Key words: Analyze, Categorize, Classify, Compare, Contrast, Discover, Divide, Examine, Group, Inspect, Sequence, Simplify, Make Distinctions, Relationships, Function, Assume, Conclusions

Question Starters:

  • Which events could not have happened?
  • If … happened, what might the ending have been?
  • How is… similar to…?
  • Can you distinguish between…?
  • What was the turning point?
  • What was the problem with…?
  • Why did… changes occur?


Level 5: Evaluate – Justifying or defending a position or course of action

Key words: Award, Choose, Defend, Determine, Evaluate, Judge, Justify, Measure, Compare, Mark, Rate, Recommend, Select, Agree, Appraise, Prioritize, Support, Prove, Disprove. Assess, Influence, Value

Question Starters:

  • Judge the value of…
  • Can you defend the character’s position about…?
  • Do you think… is a good or bad thing?
  • Do you believe…?
  • What are the consequences…?
  • Why did the character choose…?
  • How can you determine the character’s motivation when…?


Level 6: Create – Generating new ideas, products or ways of viewing things

Key words: Design, Construct, Produce, Invent, Combine, Compile, Develop, Formulate, Imagine, Modify, Change, Improve, Elaborate, Plan, Propose, Solve

Question Starters:

  • What would happen if…?
  • Can you see a possible solution to…?
  • Do you agree with the actions?…with the outcomes?
  • What is your opinion of…?
  • What do you imagine would have been the outcome if… had made a different choice?
  • Invent a new ending.
  • What would you cite to defend the actions of…?


A unique graphical representation of Bloom's Taxonomy. I love this model because it visually emphasizes higher-level thinking (i.e. Creating, Evaluating, Analyzing).

A unique graphical representation of Bloom’s Taxonomy. I love this model because it visually emphasizes higher-level thinking (i.e. Creating, Evaluating, Analyzing).


USA v Portugal: Getting you up to speed in case you live under a rock

Tech companies across the globe have been beefing up their offerings for this year’s World Cup in Brazil. While social media outlets such as Twitter have been providing new services such as minute-by-minute updates and “hashflags,”, Google has taken things one step further. Google Trends provides analysis of “what’s happening now.” Through simple yet powerful graphics and maps, Google helps to contextualize global events. Needless to say their World Cup special feature is spectacular. Take a look at how the world reacted to the United States’ most recent match against Portugal on Sunday:


Google Trend Analysis: Match 32; USAvPOR

#USAvPOR: How the World Reacted


Based on the outcome after 94 minutes, I'd say Google got it right. This about sums it up...

Based on the outcome after 94 minutes, I’d say Google got it right. This about sums it up…

Left wanting more? Check out Google’s analysis of the USA’s previous match: Match 13; GHAvUSA 


Looking for Some Inspiration? Check out NPR…

Upset that graduation season has come to an end? Are you left looking for more inspirational messages delivered during commencement addresses? Or are you simply interested in prestigious academic institution’s ceremonial regalia? If you answered “yes” to any of those questions check out National Public Radio’s recent page: The Best Commencement Speeches, Ever. The page includes inspirational excerpts from over 300 speeches, see below, as well as archived video.


For more inspiration, as well as in-depth reporting, check out NPR’s website.