Friday, May 25, 2012

Multiple Intelligences

Welcome to Day 1 of my Disability Awareness Unit!

As I mentioned in my introduction post, the purpose of this unit is to help my students understand themselves; their strengths, weaknesses, learning styles, and IEP accommodations and modifications, so that they can become more independent, and better self advocates, beyond the walls of my classroom.

To ease slowly into the more serious lessons and conversations surrounding this subject, Day 1 simply grazes the top of this complex topic through introducing and examining different learning styles and multiple intelligences, or as I call them, “Brain Smarts.”

Below is an overview of my first lesson. (All lessons in this unit were created for a 55-minute class period).

Day 1: Learning Styles/ Multiple Intelligences / Brain Smarts

Objectives (Students will be able to):
·      Identify their own strengths and weaknesses
·      Identify and discuss various “smarts”
·      Listen to the reading, “Brilliant Brain Becomes Brainy!”
·      Identify the “smarts” in context
·      Identify their own personal “smart” or learning style

Anticipatory Set:
As I mentioned before, my class always begins with Quick Work. Students fill out this Strengths and Weaknesses Sheet for Quick Work as they come in the door. Since Quick Work is a fast activity devised to focus students in on the day’s objectives, this simplistic exercise prompts students to begin some basic self-reflection.   

You’ll notice on this sheet that there are already a couple of examples listed provided by me. This is for a few reasons:

1.     To model for students that I want them to write more than one word
2.     To model for students that their lists can vary; they can write about academics as well as any general activities
3.     To encourage students to begin thinking about why they might be good or not as good at something

As students are working, I walk around and remind them of these pointers. I ask students to write at least 3 for each side, but of course they are welcome to write more. When Quick Work time is up, students who are comfortable share their responses, and I record some on my master sheet displayed in front of the class.

Lesson Activities:
1.     Disability Awareness Intro
·      I explain to students that we will be spending the next few days discussing a topic that is “confidential.” We review what confidential means as a class (private, to yourself, not shared)
·      I explain that our topic will be “confidential” because we are talking about our classmates and how we learn. I explain that we’ll discuss what we are good at, what is hard for us, what helps us to do better and improve, and how we can help ourselves to do even better.
2.     Brain Smarts
·      I then discuss that everyone learns in different ways and there are different brain “smarts” you can have.
·      At this time, I pass out my Brain Map Sheet with the 8 Multiple Intelligences listed (Number Smart, Music Smart, Picture Smart, Body Smart, Nature Smart, Word Smart, People Smart, Self Smart). We discuss what theses "smarts" mean and what kinds of activities students would be good at if they were strong in a particular "smart." Since the labels for the smarts are pretty direct and picture cues are provided, students tend to do well coming up with ideas during this discussion.  
·      Students record some of these activities under the corresponding “smart” (for example, we would write the word “division” under or around “Number Smart”)
·      I love using Picture Books in the classroom as you know, and this one is perfect for this lesson! What I like about this book is it describes the “smarts” in context via experiences of the main character while giving the reader time to guess what “smart “is being described.   
·      Before the read aloud begins, students are given 8 index cards. On each card the “smart” is written and the icon that represents it. As I am reading the book, students hold up the correct index card for what "smart" they think the book is describing before it is revealed.  

4.     Class Tally
·      After the reading, students circle or shade the section of the brain that they identify with most.
·      We then take a class tally on the board and record the top 3 “smarts” of our class

Click here to print posters of the 8 multiple intelligences from Brilliant Brain Becomes Brainy! 

And don’t forget to check back for the continuation of this lesson into Day 2 of my Disability Awareness Unit: Brain Smart Strategies!


  1. I love this idea. This would be great to do with my special ed students at the beginning of the year during their academic support time. They can get to know their learning styles and set some goals and provide me insight at the same time!

  2. I like the idea of helping students identify what their specific intelligences are. After doing this, have you found yourself crafting your lessons so that they are more relatable and personable to certain students? If you have, have you found that this has been more effective?