A Multiple Intelligence Lifestyle

Exposure Blossoms Curiosity,Curiosity Blossoms Exposure

Monday, February 28, 2011

Linguistic Intelligence

As you read this, you are using your linguistic intelligence.  A human’s linguistic intelligence revolves around the spoken or written word. The attributes of this intelligence involve how we process language and words. If a person’s intelligence is dominated by the strengths of this form they enjoy reading and/or writing-and usually learned these skills with ease, memorization of words and dates is also done with ease, their storytelling abilities are entertaining, discussion and debate are enjoyed, and yes, crosswords and word searches are probably a favorite pastime.

In my seven years of teaching, I taught kindergarten or first grade for 5 of these years. Every child entered my classroom with varying linguistic skills. I observed most of the variations were directly linked to their early home experiences.

Only once have I had a student enter my classroom as a developed, fluent reader; she was only in kindergarten. After discussion with the family, we concluded she taught herself to read around the age of 4. Her household consisted only of adults and a teenage sibling. Everyone was always reading around her and, of course, to her (NO- they didn’t watch “my baby can read” or do daily practices with flashcards). Her dad told me one morning she came downstairs and said, “Let me read to you.”  At that point, she read every book she got her hands on! I’m telling this story for three reasons: One being, this student is what I call “highly linguistic”. Two being, “highly linguistic” people are rare. Three, the most important step in linguistic development (or any sort of mental development) is EXPOSURE!

To develop a new skill (or a skill one may be struggling with) exposure and modeling without immediate expectation, is the first important step a grown-up can do for their child or student!

Exposure can start the day a child is born. We started reading to Lil’ Em the day she was born because I believe so strongly in exposure. Book time quickly became a favorite part of her day. During floor time, I made sure to have around plenty of board books and soft books for her to grasp, chew on, or whatever else she fancied.  Certain books quickly became Em’s favorites. For keepsake purposes, we still have a pop-up book that she tore every creature out of; Tape just couldn’t help us anymore. 

As I exposed Em to books, the kindergarten teacher in me couldn’t help but point my finger at the words. I didn’t do this all the time, but I did do it frequently. As a toddler, she developed the habit to point at the pictures and words as she looked at books.

Now that she is 3&1/2 and has developed an interest in letter learning, I can really see the benefits to this action paying off. She insists on pointing at letters and saying their names. The teacher in me is thinking “wow, she is already tracking print!” Early reading skills are already in place and I didn’t even “drill” this into her. I just consistently exposed and modeled the process, and she naturally developed the skill.

The same can happen with early writing skills. Now that Lil’ Em has become interested in writing (please notice I waited until she was interested), I have stepped up my writing modeling and exposure.  Last summer Em started drawing pictures and telling me what they were. I used this as a learning opportunity. When she told me what the drawing was, I wrote the word on the picture. As I wrote the word I always said the name of each letter as I wrote it. I then went back and pointed at each letter and said the name. I conclude by pointing at the word one last time and say the word. Here are a few examples:

I am always writing out grocery lists. One day as I did this, Emery made her own lists too! These were done on post-it notes...which,along with a marker, are a great thing to have laying around within a toddler's reach. To help curb the natural desire of a toddler to write all over everything, I have always constructed my daughter's tendency with these kind words, "we write on paper"; For the most part she has stuck to it. 

Currently, Em’s curiosity about letters, reading, and writing has kicked into full gear (I admit part of this is from playing a letter Elmo game on the Wii)! I refuse to bring out the flashcards! Instead we use real-life experiences; Em is always observing road signs, words on packages, and labels at school.  For example, at Christmas time we had a calendar up with the words, HO, HO, HO. She asked me what it said. I told her. She then counted the letters and pointed at each one and said their name. After that she asked me how to spell her own name.  I grabbed a piece of paper and started modeling. After her name was spelled she actually attempted to write her first capital E!!  After this she wanted me to write out the names of family members and friends. She even attempted writing a capital B! This is a picture of our paper.

My point to all this, is go with your child’s curiosity! If you expose them, curiosity will develop. When curiosity develops, keep exposure alive with modeling! Trust me, as you model, your child is learning!! Here is another writing example from Em.  This is a self-portrait she created on her own with no prompting from me.  Afterwards, she asked me to write her name since it was her.

 A parent is a child’s first teacher. I whole-heartedly believe early childhood lays the foundation of a lifetime of learning. The toddler years need constant exposure and modeling. Exposure and modeling are the building blocks of learning.

I found this tonight :) A love for literacy is lifelong!
~Much Love,
M.I. Mama
*The approach I use to model writing, I learned when I was a classroom teacher. This approach is based on the works of Fountas and Pinnel’s Interactive Writing Program and Guided Reading. I recommend their work to all teachers. 
*If you are a parent or teacher to an older child, modeling still is powerful. When I taught a 4/5/6 mixed age class, I had a student who was ADD and dyslexic. He didn’t learn to read until the 2nd grade.  When I met him, his reading comprehension was off the charts, although his decoding skills still remained a struggle. When I discussed this with the family, I learned in the younger grades this child extremely struggled with learning to read. Due to this, his mother would listen to books on tape that she acquired at the local library. They had a long drive to school so she used this time as an opportunity to model reading comprehension. She thought, well my son may not read words yet, but he can understand them.  When this student was in my class as a 12 year old, he told me how he still enjoyed his car rides home, and sometimes couldn’t wait to find out what happened next!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Sink or Float???

The last few days have been beyond cold around here!! Yesterday we awoke to snow, today was ice. As I noticed the big chunks on the deck, I felt inspired to have Em and I go play with the ice and see where the exploration took us.
She felt the ice. Picked up the ice. Threw the ice. Ate the ice. Stomped on the ice. You name it. She's 3 and spunky! We even had a mini-lesson on slippery ice. I held her hands as she slid around on this tiny patch in the shade.
We wondered over to the fence because she noticed there was still snow left from yesterday.

More frozen tundra in our summer garden. She had a great time just exploring. The teacher in me was thinking of many different things I could be saying, but instead I remained quiet and let her just roam.
Okay, I fibbed, I did say a little to her as we wandered the yard together. The point I'm trying to make is I intentionally let her have free exploration first. When I was a classroom teacher, I found this to be a very important step when introducing a new activity, manipulative, or book( We always did a book preview). As the grown-up I may have a certain lesson or goal in mind, but that comes along later in the learning process. For example, as we were exploring the yard I had the grand idea to teach Emery about how ice floats and other objects sink. Plus, I wanted to discuss why things were frozen in the shade and not frozen in the sun. I didn't want to interrupt the exploration though-KEY observations are being made at this time! I patiently waited until she was ready to go back in. This is when I said, "lets grab a piece of ice and bring it inside to play a game".
When we came in I filled a bowl full of water. I placed it in front of her and said, "Put the ice in the bowl and notice what happens." She dropped the ice in and said," Its like in my drink!" "Good noticing. Let's find something else to put in there," I said. At this point she collected a few of her little toys and dropped them in. I wish I could say I had some shots but my camera was in manual mode and I didn't readjust to inside lighting(BLAH!). Finally, after she found many floating objects, I suggested finding a rock.
 Once many objects were floating and sinking is when I introduced the vocabulary Sink & Float to her. (Depending on the age of your child, it is your choice how much to explain. Babies might just think its great to explore water and found objects. Older children can continue to study the scientific principle of density with more experiments, research, and discussion) After I introduced the vocab, I said, " Go find something else and let's find out if it sinks or floats?" Part of the fun,engagement, and discovery of this activity is letting the kid(s) find the objects.  Here she is finding Sebastian.

"He floats!"
I love the look of excitement she has in these next few shots as she discovers if the object will sink or float.

We went back outside because she wondered if more ice would float.
It did!!
Which led to more rocks. Here she is counting the ice. Activities such as these can lead to wherever the child takes it. As an idea emerges, as the grown-up, be there to facilitate and guide the wonder. Just an F.Y.I., teachers refer to this as emergent curriculum.
 Our end result was Em placing all the rocks and ice in another bowl for them to "dry". I thought that was very caring! Little did she know in about an hour we had another lesson in front of us :)

To conclude our exploration I popped open our kitchen door and asked Emery to look at the fence line and our deck. Here is an example of what she saw.
This observation led to a quick discussion about why places in the shade had ice and sunny spots didn't. It's still so stinkin cold out there that unless something is in the sun it's FROZEN! Okay, I didn't say stinkin, but we did talk about how the sun provides warmth and makes things melt..like popsicles is what Em associated it with :)
~Keep WARM !!!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Meet Me-O

Me-O is Lil' Em's most cherished lovey! He sleeps in her bed every night! He goes with us almost everywhere!! She named him after the sound cats make :)

Me-O has been a part of our family since Lil' Em was about 9 months. We were at a local grocery store when we first met him. The "baby time limit" had been reached and I needed a ploy so I could get through the rest of the clearance racks. Luckily as I looked around I noticed a bin of random stuffed animals. For once, I was thinking, thank you store employees for strategically placing items like these in the children's department...this time it came in handy! Needless to say Em had an immediate connection! I can't imagine life without him...raggedy and all :) 

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Worm Walk

In the last couple days, the skies over the Portland area have again opened up and reminded us we live in a temperate rain forest. On these HEAVY rain days, if there is a break in the rain, I do my best to get outside right away because the rain could be back at any minute. This is a quick prep outside activity that is just for these type of moments. On previous walks Em and I have observed worms are out in full force all over the road way; I used this as an opportunity to explore the intelligences on a Worm Walk!

These are the supplies you'll need: a clipboard, paper, and markers. Simple!! In front of my child I set the paper up. This is very crucial modeling!! Linquistic, logical-mathematical, interpersonal, and spatial intelligences are at work here; Literacy modeling, asking questions, and beginning math skills all happen in this quick minute. As I began to write the words, I said to Em "Worm starts with what letter? Worm, w,w,w,Worm." She doesn't have this sound mastered yet so she wasn't able to answer me. Thats OK though, I just answered it for her, "Worm starts with W". I preceded to write a W, followed by the rest of the letters. I said the name of each letter as I wrote it. When we got to the word 'walk', I once again asked, "what letter does walk start with? Walk, (start saying the sound)w,w,w, walk." This time she got it!! After a high five, I preceded writing the rest of the word 'walk'. After writing worm walk, I wrote the question, "How many worms?", I simply said to her, "This is the question we are answering on our walk". Lastly, I explained to her how we were going to keep track and count the worms with something called tally marks. I demonstrated by saying, " If we see a worm , make a mark like this. It means one worm. When we get back home we will count all of them to see how many worms there were altogether." Alas, we were off and she was READY to go!

Here she is in action!

More action, I love action shots!

We talked about how worms move, curl up in protective response(she tried to stomp one),why some worms were smashed on the roadway-which led to a brief dead and alive conversation, and why worms were out on the roadway now vs when it is drier. The naturalist, bodily-kinesthetic,interpersonal, and intrapersonal intelligences being exercised.

Of course, we had fun too! Lately, Lil' Em is obsessed with her tongue.

The results!! & yes, it started to rain on us. The evidence is on the paper! Back at home we counted the tallies one by one while pointing at each one. I modeled writing the number 16 on the answer line.

~Happy Worm Adventures

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Valentines Day the Multiple Intelligence Way

Holidays just seem to get bigger around here the older Lil' Em gets. 3 really has been the magical year! To start the day off with a little spice and surprise, the night before I made a display of all the next day's activities. This is what Lil' Em woke up to.

We discussed how today was Valentines Day~a day to celebrate LOVE!!! This immediately led to a discussion about the feeling of love, followed with her listing who she loves in life. What a great intrapersonal lesson first thing in the morning! We then briefly discussed how people use the heart as a symbol of love. Of course by this time she wanted to dive right into the candy, but instead we first had a heart packed breakfast of brainberry pancakes. That's right, I called them brainberries. Those little berries are loaded with good nutrients for the brain and body! This is my best attempt at a heart pancake..I need to invest in a larger heart cookie cutter, it would have made life a little easier at that moment.

After breakfast we continued cooking. Cooking is a bodily-kinesthetic experience that people of all ages can benefit from. Children especially love to cook! The best part is that MANY lessons and intelligences can be involved in the cooking process. Currently my daughter is (finally) grasping the concept of step -by-step while doing a large project. Being she has always been 3 or under, she was the dive right in kind~ if ya know what I mean. If you have tried cooking with your toddler before and it turned into a disaster I strongly encourage you to try again.

While the cookies were in the oven, Lil Em and I went back to discussing the shape of a heart. For a spatial activity we used pipe cleaners to construct these hearts.

We started by bending the pipe cleaner in half.

Next, we opened up the pipe cleaner and formed a 'V' shape. This makes a nice point for the bottom of the heart. We then curled over the top of each pipe cleaner to form the heart curves. When the two tops are curved they should meet in order to twist and secure them together. I had to help with the twisting but she sure gave it a try! Fine motor skills at work!!

Em's heart shaped easel painting is also another spatial activity that is well incorporated into the day's theme.

After a few cookies, we were on to the next activity. We re-visited an interpersonal activity from earlier in the week. For Lil' Em's preschool party we constructed hand-made Valentines. Today we were going over to GG's house(Grandma Gail) and we made a Valentine to take with us. These pic is from previously made valentines.

We took a little break to go visit GG, but returned back to our activities later in the day. To inspire the naturalist in us we started with collecting rocks from around the house(It was POURING today). We then constructed a rock heart together. 

This very shortly became a solo activity, which led to Em constructing lots of other shapes. The logical-mathematical was emerging and integrating before our eyes. When she was done with this I asked for her to help me with clean-up. I had intentionally left all the heart gems, candies, and ribbons on the counter to use in a logical-mathematical activity. I pulled out a veggie tray and asked her to help me clean by sorting each piece. 
This is the end result. She sorted by color, except for the ribbons. Afterwards she counted out some hearts one by one to 13. She always gets a little confused after this point and I hear numbers like twelve-teen..LOVE IT!
To end our day of activities we did a pre-reading lesson to reinforce the linguistic intelligence. We also read Valentine books from the local library and home library.
Throughout the day we were listening to music we "loved" to connect with the musical intelligence in us! After Lil' Em was in bed I thought about how a dance party would have been perfect!! O well, next time. Here is Lil' Em doin what she does best...the little HAM!
These ideas can be adapted in any way you can think of, with any holiday or theme you can think of. The beauty in it all is when the child emerges with their own ideas!! When I design my ideas I focus on a few learning objectives, than think of how to incorporate all the intelligences. Since Em is 3, I focused on social relationships with family and friends, emphasizing the feeling of love, following directions, shapes, beginning math skills, and early literacy skills.  I'm excited to get the shamrocks out!!