How to Put Multiple Intelligences to Work

Your I CAN is more important than your IQ!

In his theory of Multiple Intelligence, Howard Gardner states that individuals learn in multiple ways. He identified eight distinct types of intelligences: mathematical/logical, verbal/linguistic, musical/rhythmic, visual/spatial, bodily/kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, naturalist/physical world. Parents can use these eight ways of knowing not only to motivate children, but also to make better instructional decisions to ensure that they reach every child, every time.

Learn how multiple intelligences affect teaching and learning.

Incorporating multiple intelligences in your teaching will ensure that you tap into your children’s full potential for learning. By teaching in more “brain-compatible” ways, parents can engage more learners and educate more authentically and fairly.

  • For more information, click here.
  • Visual learners, click here to view an on-demand video and see multiple intelligences at work in the classroom.

Explicitly teach your students about the theory of multiple intelligences.

This can be done in whatever way that best fits your teaching style. For example:

  • Anticipatory Set: Ask children to read the lyrics to a complicated song such as World’s on Fire by Sarah McLachlan, summarize and interpret the meaning. Share out. Children will struggle with this and it is OK. Take this opportunity to discuss that people are smart in many different ways. Sometimes, it is difficult to fully understand something when we use only one of our ways of knowing – such as words.
  • Instruction: Introduce the term Multiple Intelligences and the eight ways of knowing while children represent the word using words and pictures in their journals. While kids are working, play the song, World’s on Fire. When they are finished, ask if anyone has discovered any meaning from the lyrics by listening to the song. More children will share out. Next, play the music video World’s on Fire. Ask them to use the video to determine the meaning of the song lyrics. Share out. Many more children will be able to understand the lyrics.
  • Independent Practice: Ask children to identify the various intelligences represented in the video and reflect on the experience in their journals. For homework, have them write a letter to a friend describing the theory of multiple intelligences and how it affects learners.

Find Your Children’s Strengths

  • Printable MI Assessment Survey
    • This is a longer, more detailed survey you can use to assess your older children’s multiple intelligences. Once they complete their survey, they will graph their results and find their strengths. To save paper, show the survey on a projector, doc cam, or interactive whiteboard if possible, and have kids track their results on the final page.

Use the data to make decisions about your students and apply the 8 ways of knowing.

  • Incorporate multiple intelligences in your lessons, cooperative grouping, and collaborative projects. Here are some quick lesson ideas to get you started.

 Photo from Multiple Intelligences Revealed

Free Educational Resources by SmartTutor.com



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