Friday, June 15, 2012

Grouping By Multiple Intelligences

When I first learned Gardner's work-I didn't put much stock in it. But the more I thought about it, the more I was fascinated by the distinctions between how people learn. I've had classes where the students were dominantly visual learners-getting them to listen to a read-aloud was like pulling teeth. You would think that all young kids like to get up and move around and that would make them kinesthetic learners, but you'd be surprised, there are always 3 or 4 that will sit out and another group that will do it to please me, but their heart is not in it. I can tell you I am definitely a more visual learner. When I was a kid, we would be grocery shopping and I was notorious for having to come back to my mom and say "what did you tell me to get again?". I can be truly listening to you and not catch a word you just said. I thought it was really interesting when I read they added the Naturalistic style and was probably the only person in the world watching the movie based on the book "Into the Wild" who was thinking--that guy is a perfect example of the naturalistic learner! What can I say am admittedly a teaching nerd!

I was talking to a colleague who is taking a class for her master's (and I thought I was tired :) where they talk about grouping kids this way for small group instruction-and I am in love with this idea! We do small group twice per day-once in reading and once in math. We have always brought the kids to work with us based on where they were on the academic spectrum. Are they working on letters and sounds, are they already reading fluently? We work with those kids together on the same reader or math activity. And I think I will still have to do that because I'm not sure the powers-that-be would go for an extreme makeover of our small group system. However, I think I am going to start grouping kids to work together in their stations by learning styles. There are lots of surveys out there to determine what their style is or I think I could easily create one that's early childhood friendly with happy/sad faces to circle. 

We'll see if that makes any difference. Has anyone ever grouped their kids this way before? I'd be curious to hear how it worked.

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  1. I have been a fan of Gardner for a long time. I really look forward to finding out how this works for you and how you determine intelligences - please feedback :)

    In my class, rather than determine the intelligence of the child and then create groups, I offer opportunities to learn the target across as many intelligences related activities as possible. This way hopefully, they are developing more than one intelligence and there is a good chance one activity will resonate more than another. I think most early years teachers approach teaching this way but dont necessarily equate it to multiple intelligences.

  2. That is a wonderful idea! Then each group can teach or present the material in the learning style of their choice! I'm a teaching nerd too. ;)

  3. Both my daughter and I are strong visual learners. Sometimes it's wonderful. Sometimes it's a challenge. She is definitely not the type to sit or stand still to listen. I've tried making eye contact, use touch to get her attention, have her repeat what I said as strategies for auditory input. But I'm always looking for more ideas. Please share what worked for you! Music has always helped me remember. Now trying things like silly putty to keep her hands busy while listening. While it's easier to work with one's preferred learning style, I also want to help her develop areas in which she is weak.

  4. Thank you for your comments.

    Shar- I definitely do think we probably touch on all these styles in our teaching, especially in early childhood. I think that's also a great thought-to cover all of them in the activities-that would also help them strengthen ones they are weak in.

    Joyful-I'm not sure I ever did get over it! :) Sometimes I really have to consciously get out of my own head and tell myself to really listen! Sounds like some really great strategies you're using with your daughter! I might steal some of those. :)

  5. I worked with Gardner many years ago on Project Zero. I totally forgot to think about grouping this way. Thanks for stopping by my blog and for sharing this must use idea!

    1. I forgot about him too-the more I read about it, the more excited I'm getting to try something different!

      I just loved the design of your blog! It was so different (but in a good way! :)