A Multiple Intelligence Lifestyle

Exposure Blossoms Curiosity,Curiosity Blossoms Exposure

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence

Let’s talk the vehicle we were born with! Our body is a moving force of energy constantly interacting with our environment. Bodily-Kinesthetic intelligence is how the body is connected to learning. The attributes of this intelligence control one’s bodily motions, the capacity to hold objects skillfully, sense of timing, and the ability to train responses to become like reflexes. The word ‘coordination’ keeps coming to my mind as I visualize these attributes.  If a person’s intelligence is dominated by the strengths of this form, he/she learns best by getting up and moving into the experience-doing something, rather than reading or hearing. In short, these people remember things through their body.  This intelligence is demonstrated in athletes, pilots, dancers, surgeons, musicians, actors, soldiers, and police officers.

As a teacher, this form of intelligence always stood out to me; for most people it probably easily stands out. The athletically inclined and coordinated people tend to stand out in a crowd. They radiate confidence.  Maybe their confidence is related to their comfort level within their body? What is important to remember is this intelligence is not focused on sports; sports are more of a result.  I had a student who could play any sport you introduced him to, but sitting in a chair to write was gruesome. I finally let him do his work while standing. He stood at his table and slightly wiggled almost the whole time he completed his work. He stayed quiet though and effortlessly completed the task at hand. His body needed to be moving! I sometimes wonder what happened to this student as he moved on to other schools and upper grade levels. Did someone suspect he had ADD or ADHD because he couldn’t remain still? Was he forced to train his body to sit and learn?  Next time you have a student who can’t sit still, before you jump to conclusions remind yourself about our bodily-kinesthetic intelligence. I suggest starting here before any medical conditions are suspected. As for grown- ups that feel you have strengths in this arena, hopefully you have a job in which you get to “move about”.  I suggest doing a challenging task while you are moving. For example, try studying for something while working out. If you have to memorize important info, first get it in your brain, and then think about it over and over as your body is moving.  This idea doesn’t only apply to the athletically inclined, we all need to move! Mind, Body, Spirit!!  Anyone who wants to integrate the intelligences can try this.

I can’t help but think of how babies and toddlers use this part of their intelligence to process their whole world.  Little people are always moving! It may be no big deal to us “big” people, but to the brand new baby who is waving her arm around, her world is at her fingertips!  The toddler jumping off the curb is actually learning many scientific principles. To think every nerve ending in our body is rooted in our foot. No wonder I love a good foot massage! Learning to walk must be a fabulous experience; wish I remembered it. Luckily, I somewhat experienced it again when my daughter learned to walk. Her world, and ours, changed quite significantly when this milestone was reached. Now that I think about it, the world became at her footsteps then and her intelligence ran with it!  

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Dear Mr. President : Can teachers give a report card to families?

Dear Mr. President,
In Response to Your State of the Union on January 25th, 2011

I watched your address. I’ll admit the main reason I tuned in is because I could hear my recently passed grandmother saying, “Did you watch the State of the Union address last night?” She was a faithful follower of politics; unlike her, in my generation, most people aren’t.  I paid attention last night and am now finding myself asking why?

I’m 34. I have a beautiful 3 year old daughter that I want the best for. I went to college right after I finished high school. I stayed in college until I earned a Master of Arts in Teaching. I started teaching Kindergarten right after I graduated. You could say I was living the American Dream since I was just a girl from the projects who was raised by a single mom. I continued teaching  for seven years until 2009 when I was laid off due to school closures and a downsize in the private education market. To get a job in the public market has been a huge challenge. For the few new job openings that happen once a year, I compete against hundreds and hundreds of new graduates and other teachers who have been laid off. I admire the rigorous hiring process. Making it to the final rounds, I feel honored when I’m told you were picked from over 350 applicants! In the very end, the result has been the same every time though.  I hear “we picked someone with more experience then you”. There are more people out there in my boat? What kind of boat are all the new grads in? I wonder how crowded these boats are?

Now back to your speech. I almost turned it off when you looked into the camera and said “become a teacher, your country needs you!” HUH, What??? Not to discourage the youth, but there are a lot of us in the boat already. Are you aware of this, Mr. President?  We want to be teachers right now! Doesn’t our country need us now? I’m shortly approaching joining the 99er club and all I think about when I wake up in the morning is, I want a teaching job so I can provide the type of life I dreamed of having for my family.

I do agree with you on a few things:  America is a great country, we need to be a land of innovation to compete in our modern world, we have an education system that needs fixed, teachers need more respect in this country, and most importantly, education first starts at home with the family. I whole-heartedly believe all of this this! With that said, at the end of your education section my feathers were still ruffled, and I tuned out most of the rest of your speech for the following reasons.

Besides the “become a teacher” comment, you kept stating, “our schools need high expectations and high performance. We need to get rid of the bad teachers, and replace them with good ones.”  Well, I’m sure test scores will be used to measure this. I find it VERY unfortunate teachers are the only people being “graded” for how a student performs on tests! Didn’t you start your education plan stating “education first starts at home”?  Are families also going to get report cards?  Honestly, from a teacher’s viewpoint, I think it is a good idea. Can I give a family an “F” in preparation if their child comes to school tired because he/she were up all night playing video games?  Or how about a “C” because they ate a sugar packed breakfast of Fruit Loops? Or “F” for when a parent tells a child "you go to school to learn, have your teacher teach you! "?  There are many elements that are attributed to a child’s performance rate. Why are teachers the only people taking the blame?

I’ll end with asking you this: how will America be a land of innovation if we don’t teach our youth to be creative? You did so much talk about science, math, technology, and computers I almost couldn’t sit still and keep my mouth shut to listen. I value those subjects, but where is your talk on teaching creativity or how to cooperate with peers and adults to accomplish a common goal? Teaching students only to regurgitate facts in certain subjects will not lead us back to this innovative America you speak of. We also need to teach our students to create, think, and interact! Our future doesn’t need a bunch of robots running the country.

Desperately holding on to belief

Friday, January 21, 2011

Good Read #1- Let's PLAY!!

This article was handed out at the local preschool co-op we belong to. Choosing a path for your child’s education is an important decision every parent faces. With that said, every stage in development seems to have its buzz choices. Since my daughter is 3, we are still in the preschool years. This article was handed out at our last general meeting. It basically wraps up every reason why I chose the school I did. It can apply to the later years as well.  Don’t worry, I will not jump on a soapbox right now about choosing a certain type of school for your child. Every parent knows what their child needs. Nor, do I think that because we chose a play- based preschool vs. a skill-based, Lil’ Em is goin to Harvard. She will aspire to be whatever she aspires to be. Hope you enjoy the article!


Sunday, January 16, 2011

Spatial Intelligence

Next on the line-up is spatial intelligence. Spatial intelligence is our spatial judgment. The attribute of this intelligence is visualizing with the mind’s eye. If a person’s intelligence is dominated by the strengths of this form they enjoy building and constructing, working with lines, drawing, puzzles, painting, architecture, art, design, prefer visual aids and charts as educational tools, are in tune with their imagination, and use visualization to complete tasks. If you or someone you know is a visual learner, it’s likely because of strengths in this form of intelligence. 

O, how this is an area of weakness for me. I remember back in elementary school I was always horrible at figuring out what a shape would look like if it was rotated. It’s okay though, I’ve come to accept I am not that spatially aware. Only sadly does it present a challenge for me in my photographic composition, but I persevere cause I love it so!!  My spatial awareness has become quite the joke in my household. King B just stands back and times how long it will take me to complete a spatial task, all while he can see in his head exactly what I should be doing. Geez, putting away my recently inherited ceramic Christmas village houses was quite a task! I’ll admit that I usually like to hand these tasks off to King B, so that I can do something I am more inclined to do, like watering plants, writing, or making dinner. He has also been a great photographic teacher.


Lil’ M, on the other hand, must have inherited her father’s spatial intelligence. She has stacked anything she can get her hands on since she was just a little tike. Books, magazines, blocks, cups, pillows, washcloths; you name it, she stacks it to this day! We began using an easel at the age of 2. Her paintings have evolved to straight colorful lines known as "rainbows". She draws the cutest people too. With her dolls and little people she designs very detailed scenes with each person and object having their specific place and role, if you try to deviate from her plan, it won't happen! She actually keeps her doll accessories sorted-little people are not mixed with strawberry shortcake or little pet shop, etc, etc. Of course, I can't forget how she has ALWAYS meticulously lined up her blocks, cars, basically any toy she collects. Her newest craze is puzzles! I've lost count how many we have now. When we go to the dollar store she chooses a puzzle as her one toy to purchase. What can I say, she's spatially aware and I feed the fire.

The childhood years are a key time to observe a child’s primal intelligences blossom- what I mean by that is, this is the time when a child’s strengths will shine and the foundation for the rest of a lifetime is made. As a parent it is a great opportunity to observe your child’s natural learning style. Start your nurturing here than move on to other areas. After all, pretty much everyone would agree our strengths help carry our weaknesses.

So, if ya feel like nurturing this part your intelligence whip out a good puzzle, play Echo Chrome, get down on the floor and build blocks, a model car, or legos with your child, do line art with another person, or pick up a paintbrush. There are many products on the market directed at this intelligence. I have faith you will find an activity that suits you and your loved ones.   

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Interpersonal & Intrapersonal Intelligences Explained

Hi everyone. I’ve been having a tough time choosing an order to introduce each form of intelligence. I want to write it all out at once, since in theory they all work together, but that would be way too long!! I thought about starting with linguistic and logic-mathematical because I have previously mentioned these forms the most due to their significance in our present day culture. I also thought I should start with something people may not know a lot about. Then the answer was placed in front of me when I attended my daughter’s preschool meeting the other night.

Interpersonal intelligence; since we all have to be a social creature, this is a great place to start. In a nutshell, interpersonal intelligence is how we interact with others. The attributes of this intelligence are cooperativeness, sensitivities to others needs, effective communication, discussion, debate, and learning best when working with others. If a person’s intelligence is dominated by the strengths of this form, they are social butterflies, prefer to be with people versus alone, tend to be easy going, and are excellent to have on your side whether as a teammate, classmate, or work colleague. People who possess these strengths may be classified as your typical extrovert.

Intrapersonal intelligence is the like the flip side of interpersonal intelligence. Intrapersonal intelligence is how we interact with our self.  The attributes of this intelligence are self-awareness, reflection, and intuition. If a person’s intelligence is dominated by the strengths of this form, they know their own strengths and weaknesses, are skillful at deciphering their own feelings and motivations, frequently document life’s happenings, achieve their best work when alone, value their choices, and can usually predict their own emotions and reactions. People who possess these strengths may be classified as your typical introvert.

It’s pretty safe to say in our society people are easily labeled as either the extrovert or introvert. Man, I sure would like to be a balance of both! I’ve met a few who have seemed to master it. Lucky people :)

Now here come the questions, ya know I love to ask 'em!

What causes most people to be either one or the other-why does the interpersonal intelligence develop over the intrapersonal intelligence or vice versa?     

Is it nature vs. nurture - Are we born pre-wired with certain intelligences dominating over others or are our intelligences developed as we process our surroundings? Is it both? …Just a few food for thought questions…if they were easy to answer I don’t think psychologists, educationalists, parents, or neuroscientists would have anything to debate over.

Thats enough said for me. Until next time, much love and appreciation

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Brains shrinking...what?

For the past few months I’ve been concocting this blog in the back of my mind. As it brewed, I realized the main ingredient was the brain. How the brain fascinates me. Yes, this sounds dorky, but oh well. I accepted this part of my nature years ago.

The brain; we really know little about it; and its advancing as fast as we are learning about it. Although it is our CPU, it really is a new territory of study. Only in the past few decades have technologies advanced enough to PROPERLY study the brain and its functions.  

The brain is the root of intelligence. It’s where intelligence is born and spirals out to the rest of our body.  As we use our intelligence, the power of intelligence grows. When we power our intelligence it naturally leads to an enhancement of interaction with our world.

With that said, I would like to refer to intelligence as intelligences from now on, as it should be apparent I'm an enthusiast of the Multiple Intelligences Theory-an eclectic mix of 8 virtues of intelligence: linguistic, logic-mathematical, musical, spatial, bodily-kinesthetic, naturalist, interpersonal, and intrapersonal. I whole heartedly believe every human possesses each of these virtues. We all just possess them in different levels. I measure the levels in terms of strengths and weaknesses.

So, the other day as I’m in my kitchen chopping vegetables or maybe I was doing dishes, anyhoo that is really not the point here, I had this weird AH-HA moment. Do you know what kind I’m talking about...I love those moments!! Remember earlier I said I was of the dorky type, well here is a prime example (Oh and by the way to make myself feel better, I tell myself I’m more philosophical than dorky. It can be easily confused, right?). So, I was pondering away on how in modern times our society over -emphasizes/values the linguistic and logic-mathematical intelligences. I also began wondering if a human isn’t using all his/her natural intelligences because of an over-emphasization of select intelligences, would that have an effect on brain and body development? If I’m losing ya let me help you. Historically humans have had to use, for lack of better words, a lot of the brain and body to get by in daily life. In modern day times our convenient lifestyles have a lot of machines that help us perform daily tasks and basically do the thinking and/or work for us. Comprehension of words and numbers is at the forefront of knowledge and everything we do.  What happens when a human isn’t exposed to knowledge through all intelligence factors?
My brain was going off in a question frenzy.

Shortly after I logged on to my facebook page and a friend had posted this article: 

No joke. The universe works in mysterious ways. Read the article. There is no direct link to what I’m saying. I came up with my own conclusion. If it’s true our brains are shrinking, maybe it’s because we aren’t using all our natural intelligences on a daily basis or even at all?  Or maybe the areas of the brain that control logical thinking, languages, memorization, reasoning, numbers, facts and dates are more compact, although they boast more power? Almost similar to computers. Remember how honkin big computers used to be?  Maybe our brains are downsizing as we progress. 

Personally, I’m a little worried. The thought of our brains shrinking doesn’t sit well with me. Whether it’s natural evolution or not, the article set off quite a local debate and it did fit in perfectly with my weird ah-ha moment. I guess now I can add brain shrinkage to my list of reasons of why I should promote learning with all forms of our natural intelligences.

P.S. I know my posts are long, I’m just getting through all my preludes of thought. Posts with practical ideas to promote intelligence and boost yours and your loved one's brains are promised in the future! Thanks for stickin around :) 

Saturday, January 8, 2011

A Network of Thought : The 8 Intelligences Introduced

    Hi All! Let’s talk Howard Gardner, not that I know him personally or have I ever met him in passing. I do know about some of his work or should I say theory. Howard is a psychologist well known for his Theory of Multiple Intelligences. He and his wife are professors at Harvard University. I could tell you a few more facts on him, but as I already said, I don’t know him personally so if you want to know more about him just Google him and you’ll find out all the info you need to know(Surprisingly the wikipedia page does a fine job). 

   How Gardner’s work applies to my life is more like an inspirational platform. Gardner’s work coincides with how I view intelligence. Intelligence is not just an IQ score, nor can it solely be measured by a test. The theory implies there are eight different types of intelligence that each human naturally has..meaning we all have each type of intelligence; it’s just few or even only one type end up being prominent in our life, very similar to strengths and weaknesses. Gardner's eight classifications of  intelligence  are as follows: linguistic intelligence, logic-mathematical intelligence, musical intelligence, spatial intelligence, bodily-kinesthetic intelligence, naturalist intelligence, interpersonal intelligence, and a intrapersonal intelligence that each human possesses. Gardner stresses in our society only the linguistic and logic-mathematical intelligences are emphasized/valued because these are the two types of intelligence measured in IQ tests. As an educator and mama, I can say I believe this opinion true especially when you look at the current educational model that influences the public school system and a lot of children’s toys made by major manufacturing companies! I can also say this is where our educational system may be going wrong and why a lot of student's end up struggling with intellectual development. Not here though! My adventures will lead to nurturing all the intelligences, whether a strength or weakness. By using our individual strengths we can promote weaknesses to flourish. Each human deserves to belong in the network of thought.

     With that said, Each intelligence has its own characteristics that I will describe in detail in future posts.   I’m sure right now most of you are already starting to define these 8 categories..which is a good thing :) They pretty much do define themselves although a detailed description is very worthy. When I was exposed to this theory I immediately started recognizing how it applied to my own intelligence, my family member’s intelligence, student’s intelligence, and the greater human population. I am hooked for lack of better words.   

Monday, January 3, 2011

Furthermore into this Venture

Intelligence. We all know what it is. We all think we have it. We all DO have intelligence. I thank the fabulous organ; we humans refer to as, the brain. The power within this organ has blossomed humans into a thriving, dominant animal. If you are thinking no duh Brooke, hold your horses, I am going somewhere with all this. What I’d like you to do for a moment is ask yourself these three following questions:  Do you consider yourself an intelligent person? Do other people consider you intelligent? Does society consider you intelligent? You might have a different answer to each of these questions. If so, that is because they are three different questions, each one being measured and affected by the evaluator. In the first question you are the evaluator. The second question your close friends, family, co-workers, and acquaintances are the evaluator. The third question, society is the evaluator. Intelligence is really a variable that can change depending on circumstance. If you find yourself once again, thinking Brooke, I know all this, then uh O, because I have more questions..(I like questions) If you aren't thinking any of that then good :) So, My next question is: Why don’t we teach this to our children? Why doesn’t our society actually value all forms of intelligence? For some reason I can’t help but think of the scene from Forrest Gump right now. When Forrest is standing there telling Ginny “I’m not a smart man”. Why does our culture place the most value in facts, numbers, tests, norms, and diplomas, PhD's, etc?  If you asked any child in America what they think smart means, there is a 95% chance they will respond by telling you someone who gets A’s, someone who gets good scores on  tests, someone who is good with computers, someone who can spell good, someone who can memorize, someone who knows all the multiplication tables, etc. You get my gist; basically all the answers revolve around someone who is book smart. Kids are beginning to think knowledge is somehow inserted into them instead of being created by them self.  The result being kids not realizing they have their own intelligence! Intelligence is becoming scripted.  We are forgetting to look at intelligence holistically. This is where the point of M.I. MaMa comes in! I want to spread the word that intelligence is also musical, artistic, intrapersonal, interpersonal, logical, physical, linguistical, spatial, and environmental.

My pursuit is to look at intelligence from a holistic view, to serve as a resource for moms, teachers, students, and any other human that feels interested and values the creative process of intelligence and knowledge. I see intelligence as multi-faceted, with people having many forms of intelligence being displayed through individual strengths and weaknesses. I have come to this vision from years of experience working with young minds in elementary schools. All the schools I worked at were on the progressive education front…meaning we were not run by the state ,therefore didn’t have to perform state tests…we created our own curriculum and assessed our students using a variety of methods.  This is where Howard Gardner comes into play. Way back in grad school I was exposed to the works of Howard Gardner and his theory of Multiple Intelligences. I will explain his theory in more detail in my next post.  With that said, this theory has always been rooted in my mind and as a new teacher I began applying the notion in my curriculum design and assessment …and to make a really long story short, because of my belief and experiences, as I taught at various schools I slowly became known as the Multiple Intelligence teacher within my small school communities. From the start of the year, my students were exposed to the idea that each human has multiple forms of intelligence. I referred to each form as “smarts” for a kid-friendly language appeal. Each student evaluated his/her “smarts” and continued to as the year progressed. How I introduced each form and my lesson plan design will come in a future posting. When I became a new mom it became a “mission” of mine to teach my little being all about the multiple intelligences as her fresh brain began developing. Of course, in infancy it was pretty much all about exposure, but once toddlerhood hit it can be very hands-on!  I want to share these adventures with all of you and hopefully you can apply them to your own lifestyle. I want to help spread the influence of intelligence and how to nurture each form we have whether it be a strength or weakness for us- no matter what are age is either. We all have the power to learn something new every day!     

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Venture 2011

Hi! I’m Brooke, aka M.I. Mama, and I’m glad you have stopped in for a visit. This blog is my venture into the unknown, a creative outlet to share with the world my life and my love for learning! Before I fill your head with all the wonders of Howard Gardner’s work in Multiple Intelligences and how you can apply it to daily life, learning style, and lifestyle, let me start by sharing with you what I LOVE -what makes me tick, fires up my brain, and makes me smile my big cheesy smile :)

I love my daughter.  She is my drive.  She is why I do what I do. 

I love my family.  Yeah, we all are a little loud, yet truly amazing people. Without them, none of this would be possible.

I love learning! I have a Master of Arts in Teaching degree and was a school teacher for seven years before staying home with my daughter for the last year and a half. I have taught all elementary grade levels and now consider myself an early childhood educator as well. Currently, I’m applying for a graduate program that will add a special education endorsement to my license.

I love photography!! This will become VERY apparent VERY soon…

I love green tea.  I love watching my girl play outside.  I love standing in the sand with my bare feet.  I love swimming in rivers. I love cooking especially eating what I cooked.  I love the sound of laughter.

I love nature’s elements. Nature is a laboratory for learning!

I love natural light.  I love random acts of kindness. 

I love sharing. I’m excited to share with you my journeys and knowledge on how to nurture the intelligences we were born with!  Let’s wonder together!