Multiple Intelligences Newsletter, Vol 29, No 3
December 3, 2019
Hello to MI Fans!
This issue features an article by Pam Clark, a Resource Teacher for the Gifted and an Instructional Coach in VA, who has been using MI for almost 30 years. As you’ll see from her intentions and activities, Pam is a sensational teacher. It’s clear that she’s the kind of teacher who connects with kids and helps them grow in a powerful way. In no small part, this stems from Pam’s belief in and use of MI. She recognizes that children learn through different intelligences, and she teaches to capitalize on this. (Full disclosure: Pam began using MI when she was teaching at the New City School in St. Louis, MO.)
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there was more empathy and kindness in the world? Well, the good news is that we educators can do something about this! “Praise kindness first, success second,” says Adam Grant in an Inc. Magazine article: Grant on Kindness. This attitude and these kinds of practices support the “human literacy” that is so needed today. (You can read a bit more about human literacy here: Human Literacy)
How about you? What’s happening with you, how are you using MI, what comments or questions do you have? I’d be delighted to hear from you!
Thomas R. Hoerr, PhD
ASCD MI Professional Interest Community
Emeritus Head of the New City School
UMSL Scholar In Residence
Honoring the Naturalist Intelligence in School
by Pam Clark
During my 29 years of teaching, I have been fortunate to have worked in three schools that valued the Theory of Multiple Intelligences and explicitly crafted lessons with that in mind. One cannot teach for so long in that atmosphere without it becoming a piece of who they are and how they naturally function. I witnessed first-hand the benefits of realizing student potential by recognizing that intelligence does not simply lie in the linguistic and mathematical realms. Although I no longer work at an elementary school with that focus, our staff is tuned in to the importance of educating the whole child, and I still see MI everywhere I look. One intelligence which our school specifically strives to cultivate in our students is that of the naturalist. In a world that has shifted from watching spiders spin webs to surfing the worldwide web, our school has not forgotten how important it is for students to connect with nature, learn in it, and love it!
Campbell Elementary School in Arlington, Virginia is part of the EL Education network of schools. (EL Education is a network of schools that follow a set of core practices which focus on Mastery of Knowledge and Skills, Character and High Quality Work. It bears some resemblance to the IB Program.) Therefore, each grade level participates in two “expeditions” per year. These expeditions are created to teach content in an integrated and meaningful way to let students see that they can delve deeply into subject matter and find a way to make the world a better place. Our fifth graders’ fall expedition centers around the study of organisms and focuses on those around us. The compelling question they are answering is: “How can I make a mark on a place that has left its mark on me?” As the oldest students at our school, that becomes a powerful question for them as they prepare to leave our little enclave and move on to middle school. They have many fond memories of their work in our outdoor classroom, and have begun to realize how integral it has become to their education.
During a summer workshop at the National Postal Museum in partnership with the Botanical Gardens, I learned about a website dedicated to sharing people’s stories about their gardens. The site, aptly named Community of Gardens, seeks to highlight gardens throughout the United States. Last year, I shared my experience with our students, and they joined the effort. They saw it as one of the ways they could “leave their mark” through narrative writing. They have learned the power of their stories and wanted to share their experiences so that others might be inspired to take their learning outside as well. Their stories are a reminder to all who read them that the naturalist intelligence is very real and must be nurtured in our young people. Whether they are turning the compost or finding microscopic organisms to view under the microscope, those experiences left their mark on students.
No one can deny that we, as teachers, have a responsibility to teach the art of using language. These stories, however, shed light on how use of the linguistic intelligence can be used herald the importance of another intelligence. By recognizing the naturalist intelligence, students are afforded the chance to develop it and benefit from the joys associated with cultivating it in the school setting. The Multiple Intelligences will always be in my purview as I teach. My dream is for everyone to feel the impact of knowing we all have potential in ways that might be missed if we fail to step back and take in the scene.
Readers who wish to contact Pam can do so at PamCamelot@aol.com.
If you are an ASCD member, you can register for a free upcoming Webinar about my new book, Taking Social Emotional Learning Schoolwide: The Formative Five Success Skills for Students and Staff. The Webinar will be on January 9, at 2pm EST, and I would be delighted if you could join me! (The book will be published in December.) Here’s the link.
During the Webinar, I will draw from my book to show how school culture can be a tool to implement the Formative Five Success Skills (empathy, self-control, integrity, embracing diversity, and grit). Some of what I say and suggest may sound familiar because the genesis of the Formative Five stems from Gardner’s Personal Intelligences.
The Whole Child
There is much overlap between ASCD movement to recognize the Whole Child and a recognition of MI. The Whole Child movement values kids being “healthy, safe, engaged, supported, and challenged.” When that happens, of course, kids learn and they are on-track to be healthy and happy people.
Well, that’s what using MI does! As Pam Clark’s article shows, by using MI as a tool, we engage and support children, they are challenged, and they learn! You can see more about the Whole Child movement here: ASCD WholeChild
This Professional Interest Community is sponsored by ASCD as part of their effort to improve the quality of education for all children. ASCD PICs are member-initiated groups designed to unite people around a common area of interest in the field of education. PICs allow participants to exchange ideas, share information, identify and solve problems, grow professionally, and establish collegial relationships.
You can learn about ASCD’s networks, publications, conferences, workshops, and the dialogues sponsored by ASCD at http://www.ascd.org. You can also register for the free ASCD SmartBrief.