Depth of Knowledge: Professional Learning

Today I had the opportunity to provide professional learning for campus principals about Depth of Knowledge.

First, each participant received a brown paper bag containing 6 items.  To model Level 1: Recall and Reproduction, they were to empty the items from the bag, study them for one minute, then return the items to the bags.  Then, on a sticky note, they were to recall the items and describe them to the best of their ability.


To model Level 2: Skills and Concepts, once again they used the items in their bags.  This time, they were to categorize the items into two groups and name the categories.  This step required the participants to make a decision about the content beyond recall from level 1.


For Level 3: Strategic Thinking, the participants identified the animal or creature in their bag.  Then, they were to find a partner in the room whose animal or creature is of nearly the same scale.  This step required the participants to use planning and evidence, solving a non-routine problem.


We did not practice Level 4: Extended Thinking due to the time frame.  An example was shared, however, of designing an experiment to compare the properties of the items in the bags, such as motion, texture, or size.

A discussion followed this experience related to:

  • DOK Levels are not developmental.
  • DOC Levels are not sequential.
  • The verb does not define the DOK Level.

I shared examples from mathematics…

Screen Shot 2016-11-01 at 1.59.30 PM.png



Mathematics resources for DOK content:

General DOK resources:

Finally, the session was wrapped up with a reflection on what evidence will you look for in your classrooms and hallways?  Also, I shared the Hess Cognitive Rigor Matrices for further reading and next steps.






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