In 1983, Harvard professor Howard Gardner published "Frames of Mind," which explained his theory of multiple intelligences. He originally described seven forms of intelligence, some of which go beyond the traditional forms of intelligence reflected on a school report card. As a kindergarten teacher, identifying individual styles of learning and strengths will help you teach each student more successfully. Teaching your students about multiple intelligences will help them identify their own style of learning and develop a healthy self-esteem. Create a display demonstrating Gardner's multiple intelligences, of which there are now eight: Linguistic, logical-mathematical, musical, bodily-kinesthetic, visual-spatial, interpersonal, intrapersonal and natural. Kurwongbah State School suggests kindergarten-appropriate names for the intelligences: word smart, math smart, music smart, body smart, picture smart, people smart, self smart and nature smart.
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Student Name Display
Create a large display on a notice board where students can attach their names to their forms of intelligences. You could create a pie chart and divide it into eight sections, labelling each section with the different names of intelligence. Add a small picture or graphic to each pie piece so your kindergarten students will be able to remember what each intelligence means. For example, draw a tree for nature smart and a book for word smart. Explain to the students what each intelligence means by citing examples. For example, someone who enjoys completing puzzles and is good at drawing is picture smart; someone who works well with numbers and patterns is math smart. Pass out four name cards to each student, where they can attach their names to up to four intelligences they think they have. Stress that one intelligence is not better than another; they are all equal and valuable. Revisit the display from time to time allowing students to make changes or to add their names when they've realised another talent. You can also complete checklists with the students to help them identify their intelligences, such as the George Mason University survey.
Create an interactive display showcasing the multiple intelligences, so that students can continuously learn about the theory through experience. You can either make a two-dimensional display on the wall or a three-dimensional display, similar to interactive stations at a museum. Create either eight mini-displays all at once or introduce one intelligence display each week. An interactive display for body smart might involve placing play dough next to pictures and to challenge students to mould shapes similar to the images they see. For music smart, you could set up a listening station, a xylophone or a homemade rain stick for students to improvise with.
Recruit your students to help you make a multiple intelligence wall display for the class. Divide the class into eight groups; assign each group one of the intelligences. Provide students with words or pictures as reminders of what their intelligence means. Ask students to draw pictures or find photos in magazines that are representative of the intelligence they have been assigned. Pin the students' pictures under the appropriate headings on the notice board. One possible arrangement is placing a brain in the middle of the notice board and arranging the headings and pictures around the brain. You could also add at the top or centre of the notice board words such as "We are proud to be unique" or "All smarts are equal."
Another notice board idea again uses the eight intelligence headings. In this case, you can continuously add students' work and experiences to the board under the appropriate heading. For example, simple journal entries can go under word smart or self smart, pictures from a field trip to the zoo can go under nature smart or people smart and art work can go under picture smart.
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- The Cornerstone: Multiple Intelligences
- Panhandle Area Educational Consortium: Kindergarten Science Objectives
- "Multiple Intelligences in the Classroom"; Thomas Armstrong; 2009
- Kurwongbah State School: Gardner's Multiple Intelligences (SMARTS)
- Regis University: Howard Gardner, Multiple Intelligences and Education
- The Gardner School: Multiple Intelligences