BY MARTHA ROGUS, RESEARCH, FREELANCE WRITER, WARREN
Now that it is back to school time parents can engage their children in learning at home to facilitate readiness and to prepare for the coming year while having fun at the same time. Howard Gardiner’s research of multiple intelligence serves as a guide for delivery to your child’s intelligences. Simply put, multiple intelligences refer to your child’s interests and the way he or she learns. When you can identify one or more intelligences in your child, learning will happen more easily when you pitch to these interests.
The Naturalist - has a respect for the natural environment and the ability to help the environment through problem solving.
Musical - likes singing, playing an instrument, and has the ability to see elements of music such as rhythm, pitch, and musical variations.
Logical/Mathmatical – has the ability to understand reasoning, patterns, and orders of numbers.
Interpersonal – understands relationships between people.
Intrapersonal – understands his or her-own emotional needs.
Verbal/Linguist – is interested in words and language, has the ability to recognize words, letter sounds, and variations.
Visual – ability to manipulate forms in space, such as in sculpture, architecture, and mime.
Kinetics – learns through physical activity (Roberts, Kellough, Moore, 2006).
Pennsylvania and New York both foster the Naturalist learner. Some activities to explore are nature and discovery walks, leaf collection, tree, plant, and animal discoveries, weather observations and charting, and reading stories and poems that bring in nature’s elements.
For the Musical learner, listen to classical music with your child and identify the instruments together as you hear them. Act out the way the instrument would be played. Also listen to classical music together and close your eyes. Imagine flowing streams, gentle butterflies, thunder, birds, and waterfalls. Take turns telling each other what you imagine for each song.
Also, clap to the beat of a rock-and-roll song, country western, or other genre. Learn the words to a new song and sing it together for each other, or for other family members.
Reading with the Verbal/Linguist will develop this interest further. Poetry offers so much for children and is written in every subject imaginable. Poetry and storybooks can easily be found online or at the children’s section of the library. The repetitive sounds and word play help your child make those connections. Write a rhyming and non-rhyming poem, or make up a story and write together.
The Visual learner will like making sculptures out of clay and play-doh. Miming is a manipulation of space and can be fun in getting each other to guess what you are acting out. Creating with wooden or cardboard blocks enhance this spatial type of learner.
The Interpersonal can help solve conflicts among friends.
One way to exercise this interest is to let him or her explain rules or a game to other children when conflicts arise. Ask for his or her ideas on how to make relationships better and have him or her outline specific actions that can be taken such as apology making, card writing, flower giving, etc.
Intrapersonal learners let you know when his or her feelings have been hurt. This type of learner might enjoy drawing emotional response faces when shown pictures or stories of things such as a furry kitten, a threatening storm, someone hugging, someone frowning, etc. If he or she does not like to draw, have them pretend to act out the emotions or responses.
Lastly, Kinetics learners will like to play tennis, baseball, soccer, volleyball, or other physical activities. Teach your child a dance step you know, or look up the many cultural dances available. Learn the rules of new sport together. This is a great time to teach rules and characteristics of a game or activity, which foster discipline. These activities encourage teamwork and a sense of dependability and trust for each other.
The Logical/Mathematical learners will enjoy games such as Hershey fraction games, Pizza fraction games, dominoes, games that involves counting or keeping scores, Sudoku, and card games (Go Fish and Crazy 8’s).
Areas not covered are physics and technology. Physics can involve toy cars with moveable wheels, electronic toys that move, marble games, magnets, and the mouse and graphics on a computer screen. Technology can involve educational
computer, video, and electronic games.
The great thing is these interests can be combined to learn. For example, the intrapersonal learner can take his or her drawing of an emotional response to a threatening storm picture and develop a naturalist interest by discussing ways the threat of a storm could be reduced. Counting the number of beats in a song can combine math and music. The math and the naturalist can be combined by counting petals on a flower, lines on a leaf, rings in a cross-section of a tree, seconds between thunder, or by measuring snowfall and rainfall. Most of the activities should involve language and sounds to encourage language skills. Keeping interest up and frustration low to engage your child or children in these activities while playing to the point of exhaustion can be rewarding for all. Age and preference should be considered for all the activities and adjusted to accommodate needs.
Roberts, Patricia, Richard Kellough, & Kay Moore. 2006. A Resource Guide for Elementary School Teaching. Pearson Prentice Hall: Upper Saddle River, NJ
Martha is a non-traditional student at Edinboro University working toward her degree in Education with a minor in Creative Writing. She worked part-time for the Buffalo & Pittsburgh Railroad and is a writing consultant for EU’s Writing Center. She has been accepted to two writing conferences as a presenter and had an article published in a 2007 issue of ‘Mother Earth News.’ She has been married for nineteen years and has two daughters, age eighteen and sixteen. She is a member of St. Joseph Catholic Church where she has been teaching kindergarten CCD for over ten years.