Education

What Do You Do When the Goblin King and Metatron Die in the Same Week?

What do you do when both the Goblin King and Metatron die in the same week? If you’re me, you pout and cry. Then write. Writing has always been a way to soothe my soul; a way to cope with grief and assuage pain- to connect with other human beings while remaining safely anonymous. So here I am, typing and wiping my nose after sloppy crying. In short, it’s been a poopy week.

A purge of sorts was what I intended for this to be, but as is usual it seems to have evolved into something more. Because as I pondered over my own self pity my thoughts kept wandering back to an offhand comment a young friend of mine had made shortly after the news of Major Tom piercing beyond the atmospheric limits. She said something to the effect of, “why is everyone making such a big deal about David Bowie dying? People die every day and no one notices or cares.” This particular person is of the age where it’s important-and appropriate-for her to challenge and question the status quo, and in that way I was proud of her. Because frankly, she’s right. One life shouldn’t be seen as any more or less important than another. But at the same time, I was also so truly, very sad for her. Had she never had the opportunity to connect with someone else through their art so deeply that they tore through your being and turned your perspective upside down and threw it in the trash?

I wanted to pump my fists at the sky and scream furiously at her…”OF COURSE we care more about the David Bowies and Alan Rickmans and Robin Williamses…We are nothing if not egocentric beings. When an artist of any form has the ability to rearrange your molecules they become pieces of our own selves. When they pass, that piece of us dies with them. We mourn for those pieces.”

I’ve always preached to my children the virtues of learning pop culture references, that they are just as valid areas of study as any other historical genre. I’ll be honest, Shakespeare isn’t exactly my thing. I can appreciate it. I understand why it’s important, but if you give me a choice between reading Shakespearean literature and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, The Guide is going to win every time.

Shakespeare was crass and a little crude, sarcastic and relevant in his time. He was the pop culture of his era. This is the main reason I can find value in his work. To study pop culture references and how they’ve evolved over time throughout each generation is the truest form of sociology. You learn more about people this way than any other…after all, archaeology is merely digging through people’s trash, right? It only sounds legit because it’s really, really old trash. Pop culture is kind of like being able to dig through living trash, you get up close and personal super quick. And I readily admit and recognize, that I am a product of the molding and shaping of pop culture of my day. Labyrinth and Dogma were more than just movies to my teenage self (and by default….still are). They successfully rearranged my molecules. The reached inside, turned me around, and threw some pieces in the trash. And I so mourn for those pieces that David Bowie and Alan Rickman took with them this week.

It has been a poopy week. I mourn for the world’s loss. I mourn for myself. But in a weird way, I think I mourn mostly for our future. My young friend pointed it out so eloquently; we need heroes. We need people who will be a little crass and crude, sarcastic and relevant. People who we will collectively mourn when they die because we are intimately all tied into the mashed up mess they burned inside of us. My young friend has not experienced this yet. And I pray so hard that it’s not too late.

So here is my proposition to you.  Please, do not let them take childhood away from our children. Grip tight with bloody fingernails and gnashed teeth. Fight for their recesses, their finger-paint, their make believe. Hold value in their questionings, their independence, their yearning for expression. Let go of your “back in my days,” and burn down the standardized tests, standardized thinking, and standardized responses.  We need to let them Free their Ziggy Stardusts, their Professor Snapes, and their Goblin Kings. If we lose that cord, the one made out of chewing gum wrappers and dandelion strings, we lose our wonder. I want my children to live in a world where there are alien rockstars and wizard professors. And I want them to one day mourn alongside the rest of the world when their heroes die, aching for the piece of them that suddenly blew into Stardust.

Today My Head Exploded.

In Tibetan culture there is a deity named Avalokitesvara who is said to be the embodiment of all consuming compassion. He is sometimes depicted with eleven heads and a thousand arms, which is said to be the result of trying to realize the needs of so many beings suffering. Hearing all the cries his head split into eleven pieces, which was then formed into eleven heads to better understand and hear their needs and a thousand arms were formed in order to reach out in assistance in all directions. Although far from a deity, I think I can understand a little of how Avalokitesvara felt. Because today, my head exploded.

I try to view social media as a pleasant way to share silly things my kids said or moments I’m proud of with friends and family I have far too little time to actually meet with. Sometimes I find interesting articles from points of view I never considered …and then there’s always the cute baby animal pictures, which I believe have greatly enhanced the quality of my life. But then there are times when the amount of vitriol and narrow mindedness is so overwhelming that it permeates my being. That was today.

In just a few moments time I was blasted with the news that a young middle school girl in my town took her own life, who in her moment of desperation saw this as the only solution to the problem of being bullied and miserable at school. Some people’s reactions were of heartbreak and love, but most were focused on revenge and “getting” the bullies-who mind you, are children. Next I see news coverage of a young girl who is forcibly, violently removed from her classroom by a police officer and people’s reactions polarized between revenge on the police officer and revenge on the young girl-who mind you, is a child. Then I see a status blaring the evilness of common core math and why can’t things just be done the way they used to be before we tried to dumb down the content so illegals could understand-illegals, who mind you, are children.

In my classroom our motto was “Focus On The Solution,” a motto I sincerely try to embody in my everyday life. But at that moment I saw no solution. Only a bunch of big people taking their frustrations out on smaller people, because, well, they can. When I thought about how this is just a tiny sampling of a little corner of the world…that there are so many children out there that are being bullied by other children and see no way out, that there are children who are being bullied at home and are usurping their power back from other children at school, that there are people in positions of authority that do not understand basic human development and physiology and punish children for being human, people who are willing to publicly shame and humiliate an entire group of children because they deem their child’s homework too hard or unnecessary, when I saw no possible way that I could stop their tears and comfort them..My head exploded. Or, at least it felt like it.

Trying to have a well thought out conversation on social media is like pouring water into a sieve. No matter what your intention, it’s not gonna go anywhere but out the other end. Instead, I will write all the things I wanted to say, but where it will be well received–to myself! So here is my futile attempt, using the frayed ends of dollar store tape, to piece myself back together.

Children are humans. It may come as a surprise, but they don’t suddenly become people with well formed thoughts and opinions at the magical age of 18, the governmental edict of adulthood. On their very birth day, and my hunch is quite some time before that, they have loud, obvious opinions and preferences. They have points of views and favorite foods. They have feelings and emotions comparable to that of other humans. The difference is, they do not yet have the experience -or physiological development- to handle those feelings and emotions the way adults expect them to. In fact, adults expect way more from small people who have less than two decades of life experience and an underdeveloped brain than they do from other adults. Adults have bad moods, temper tantrums, hissy fits, and inappropriate behavior ALL THE TIME. (See my references above.) My own children can attest to that fact. But put an overstimulated toddler, who has been trying to keep it together–but man they are frustrated because they wanted to put their own shoes on and you rushed them along and they can’t get their fingers to cooperate with the picture in their minds and they didn’t want to be picked up they wanted to walk on their own so they could touch that stuff over there what is that it’s so cool I want to find out wait stop mommy I dont want to sit in the cart and be held down Im trying to figure out my world — in a grocery store and have them react emotionally and you will hear snickers, tsk tsks, and condescending remarks about how that child needs a “whooping.”

A child who is a bully does not need to be bullied. A child who is a bully has BEEN bullied and is trying to get rid of the feelings of powerlessness that are left behind. Anti-bully programs will never work. Why? Because you are ANTI — you are not for them. You are not helping them. You are further taking away their power which is the exact need they are trying to fill. Using catchy slogans and fluffy worksheets to stop bullying behavior is akin to using an already wet cheap paper towel to sop up an oil tanker spill. Are you angry that a young girl felt so desperate that she took her own life? You should be! Now turn that anger towards the cause. The cause is a society that not only embraces and condones childism, it values it. It waves it around as a source of pride. Turn that need for justice around to your own homes. Make sure your children’s points of views, feelings, perspectives, and emotions are heard and given the credence they deserve.

Being in school is hard. (..and I was the teacher!) A classroom is one of the most obvious places where childism exists. We ask them to sit still (even though developmentally that is not only inappropriate but completely counterproductive to the learning process..plus-it’s boring) for hours on end and perform mind numbing tasks filling in blanks on worksheets. We’ve taken away recess, art, P.E., music, and give them crap lunches. Then, when their underdeveloped brains have an emotional reaction-you guessed it! We punish them for being human before they are 18.

The young girl who made national news for not wanting to leave class had recently experienced major life traumas. Within the span of the previous six months, her mother passed away and was placed in the care of her grandmother. Her grandmother then passed away and she was placed in foster care. With strangers. And then people who don’t know her or love her made the decision for her to go to this new school–further away from any remnants of a life she used to know, friends she used to have–any evidence that anyone cared for her. Would an adult have been able to pick themselves up and drag themselves off to school? Would they have then been able to pay attention and focus on worksheets? Would we have had compassion for an adult who was going though such emotional difficulty? Or would we have called the police and forcibly had them removed for not paying attention? What if an adult who had NONE of those life traumas were to go to a classroom and not pay attention…would the police have been called? At most, the professor may have stopped them after class and said, “hey, I notice you weren’t really paying attention.” Maybe if they were a good professor they would have added, “is anything bothering you? Can I help?” If that young girl had been met with empathy and compassion, from anyone in that classroom that day–things probably would have ended much differently. Because in the end that’s all we want, us humans. We want others to recognize our struggle. Even if we are small humans. Even if you deem my struggle small.

I honestly don’t know if there really is a deity out there somewhere with eleven heads and a thousand arms reaching out to help us from all directions. But I do know, that even if there is, a thousand arms isn’t nearly enough to help everyone that needs a hand. So, when I Focus On The Solution for today, I will try to remember to use the two hands I have to reach out with compassion. If we all use our two hands, maybe Avalokitesvara can take a break. It sounds like he’s been having a rough couple of days himself, and could probably use some compassion.

I’m A Dirty Dinosaur-A Multiple Intelligences Book Study

Find Out What Multiple Intelligences Theory Is

And Why We Should Care Here

The book “I’m A Dirty Dinosaur” written by Janeen Brian and Ann James is a

fun, silly story of a dinosaur who loves mud! You can purchase your own copy HERE

Verbal/Linguistic

As with any picture book, repetition is key. Each time you read through with your little one, focus on a different aspect. The first time you may just want to do a “picture walk” – in other words just look at the pictures and talk about what is happening on each page. What does your child think the story is about? What do they think will happen next?

Another read through and you can focus on vocabulary development…for example, “what does the word “snout” mean?” Or rhyming words…such as “snout and about”

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Visual/Spatial

We took a page that peanut especially liked and I made a “vague representation” of the dinosaur illustrated on the page. I just drew my version on construction paper, we cut it out, and she glued it on another piece of construction paper. We then took shaving cream and brown finger paint and mixed them together to create “mud.”

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Here is our finished version!

 

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Musical/Rhythmic

“I’m A Dirty Dinosaur” has a natural tone and rhythm to it. In addition, there are verses that specifically give musical representations. For example, “Tap, Tap, Tap, Tap, Tap It Like A Drum” During one of your read throughs, reenact the chorus using musical instruments, whether you have your own or are playing the environment. For example, you could use the table as the drums!

 

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Or—“Shake, Shake, Shake, Shake, Shake About The Place! – with maracas!

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Logical/Mathematical

We took some bright toy dinosaurs and decided to get them dirty. I like to use kinetic sand, but a sandbox or real mud pile would be just as fun! After just exploring the dinosaurs and the sand together for some sensory input, we began to sort them by color…

 

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And Create Patterns

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We then rolled a large die and counted the pips.

We then added in the corresponding number of dinosaurs.

 

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To increase complexity, I modeled for her the different combinations of number sentences that could create her matching number. For example, 3 green dinosaurs and 1 yellow dinosaur, 2 green dinosaurs and 2 yellow dinosaurs, 1 green dinosaur and 3 yellow dinosaurs, or all 4 yellow dinosaurs, etc.

 

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Bodily/Kinesthetic

For fine motor/tactile learners we took the toy dinosaurs and acted out the phrases from the book with our leftover shaving cream “mud.” For example, when the book says “I’m a dirty dinosaur with a dirty snout” we smeared mud all over his nose. Once we reached the end of the book and our dinosaurs were sufficiently dirty…

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we gave them a good bath!

 

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For gross motor learners, we acted out the scenes from the story using our whole bodies. For example, when you get to the part that says “Stamp, Stamp, Stamp, Stamp, Stamp About the Street!” you would stomp all around the living room!  An alternative activity would be to continue with the shaving cream mud into the bathtub and have them smear the mud on their own bodies before giving themselves a good wash. Here is our whole body version of “Shake, Shake, Shaking it!”

 

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Intrapersonal

Intrapersonal learners need time for reflection and introspection. Make sure to provide your little one with a comfy place for independent exploration.

 

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Interpersonal

Interpersonal learners need to process their information with a buddy. They may need to verbalize their thinking – or – they just need someone to share in their experience!

 

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Like these ideas? Check out www.rainbootsandrocketships.com for more!


 

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Usborne Publishing Ltd. has no connection with these pages and does not sponsor or support their content.

 

The Value of Pineapples

Pineapple Pic

Over the last couple of decades or so, high stakes standardized testing has become part of the American classroom status quo. There is talk of increased “academic” time, academic achievement goals, and adequate yearly progress. Several times a year teachers and administrators gather together to pour over their data and try to decipher those numbers into meaningful classroom experiences. As hard as they may try not to, it’s pretty much guaranteed teachers will peek over their own reports and ask about their neighbors’ scores. After all, this is serious stuff. Not too different from their student counterparts, they’ll nervously ask, “What’d you get?”

What scores are they referring to? Their overall classroom math and reading scores.

Frequently a teacher’s scores may be a bit lopsided. Their overall reading scores may be vastly higher than their overall math scores. It may be that they have a class full of students who naturally lean toward the verbal side of things rather than the mathematical. Perhaps the teacher is a bit shy of math themselves and isn’t completely comfortable teaching the material. Maybe math is taught at the end of the day and by the time they get to it the kids are exhausted and tuned out. Or maybe it’s vice versa? Maybe the overall classroom scores are biased towards math and reading scores are lacking? Worried for job safety, feeling defensive over all the work and love they poured into their students, and maybe a bit of dented pride – the cry of “but how can I be accountable for both scores? Math and reading are like apples and oranges. I can’t be held responsible if they don’t get both subjects!”

So much emphasis on apples and oranges. Maybe some apple fritters and orange juice. Fried apples and orange sherbet. But what happens if you’re a pineapple?

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I like to imagine a time long ago, when humans lived communally in tribes and each was assigned a responsibility based on their natural gifts and inclinations. Maybe there were warriors, shamans, healers, gatherers, farmers, textile workers, and caretakers. Someone had to be leaving behind all those artifacts right? There must have been artists, dancers, scientists, musicians, and problem solvers. I’m sure there were those responsible for diplomacy and social justice as well. In a time when you HAD to rely on each others’ innate talents for the benefit of the tribe as a whole, every members’ gifts were valued and utilized to their maximum capacity.

Fast forward in time and we still have people who perform those functions. But we put limits on who can participate. We devise hoops and hurdles to jump through. And then there are only so many available “spots” open for those who make it through the obstacle course. From our earliest experiences, our five year old selves learn quickly that only apples and oranges are valued. High praise for those who are reading in kindergarten. Kudos to those who can “carry the one” with ease. But if you’re a pineapple, and your skill is of the visual/spatial variety – you can replicate pieces worthy of the Louvre and you quickly understand that your talent is less valuable. That’s “fluff.” Crayons are for “free time.”

What about pomegranates? You may be able to brush the strokes of heaven with your musical talent, but you quickly learn that “we don’t sing songs past second grade.” Music class? That was deemed unnecessary in lieu of practicing how to fill in bubbles, because we all know “musician” isn’t a real job. Whether we want to recognize it or not, our classrooms are filled with pineapples, pomegranates, blueberries, even a mango or two. Our beloved apples and oranges come in other flavors as well; there are Pink Ladies, Galas, Clementines, and Kumquats each with their own unique perspective to share. What I fear, is that our exotic fruits are beginning to believe they hold no value. They have nothing to contribute because when they look in the mirror, they see neither an apple nor an orange.

When you make a fruit salad, letting the flavors chill and mingle in the fridge for a few hours makes it so much yummier. THIS is why many of our overall classroom scores are lopsided or failing all together. In our rush to achieve health, we have forgotten that we need those extra bioflavonoids that come from a varied diet. If we continue with this dichotomous course we truly run the risk of losing a piece of our humanity. Most of our game-changers would have been classified in the exotic section of the grocery store and some of them would have had to have been special order. Albert Einstein? The Indian Custard Apple. Mozart, Kurt Cobain? Pomegranates. Thomas Edison, Nikola Tesla? Boysenberries. And I’m pretty sure Leonardo da Vinci was a Rambutan.

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…And the little boy who grew up believing he had no value, whose talents weren’t recognized or cherished because they didn’t translate well on a Scantron sheet, he’s a Pineapple.

A beautiful, bright Pineapple that stops our fruit salad from becoming dull and predictable. Please know I see you, and I value you. And as long as you can remember to value your own Pineappleness, you’ll be a game-changer too.

Differentiation

One of the greatest challenges a classroom teacher faces is to deliver new information to a group of 30 or more people and do so in a way that is interesting to everyone, meets everyone’s learning style, and is at an appropriate level for everyone. Why is this so challenging? Because it’s pretty much impossible!

When you have 30 humans in your charge you have 30 different life experiences, 30 different brains, with 30 different ways of processing. So, we teachers do the next best thing we can: differentiation! Essentially differentiation means we try to give each student a way to process something that is different than what we might give to someone else based on their needs. It can get pretty complicated when you have a whole classroom of students. However, we’re lucky here because no one knows your child and what they need as well as you do. So you can differentiate the suggestions in these guides in precisely the manner that your children need at exactly the speed in which they need it. When it comes to an optimal learning environment…it doesn’t get much better than that!

In order to help you though the process, I will offer some suggestions for differentiation along the way. Rather than saying “for 2 year olds do this” I will label the differentiations with much broader strokes – let’s call them readiness stages instead of age ranges. Not all 2 year olds are the same and their learning experiences shouldn’t be either. Some 2 year olds are highly verbal and are ready to rhyme. Some are even ready for letter recognition. Some won’t be ready for that for another year or years! We want to help our little ones stretch just a bit beyond what they currently grasp easily, not to overwhelm and frustrate them. The key is to listen to your child’s cues and let THEM tell you what they are ready for.

Sensory Stimulation

Our sensory perception greatly contributes to our sense of wonder and enjoyment of our world. The smell of chocolate chip cookies baking, the sound of jingle bells on Christmas Eve, the sight of our best friend walking up to our door…for most of us, these sensory experiences induce great feelings of pleasure and contentment..AND we are also very likely to remember in great detail what these experiences entailed. Yet another way we can use brain science to give our little ones a boost in memory power.

Our sensory system is intimately entwined within our limbic system — the seat of our base emotions. The smell of those chocolate chip cookies?? We may associate that delicious aroma with the anticipation of our first sweet bite, the feeling of love emanating from our mother’s kitchen, the contentment of basking in the warmth of the oven contrasted by the coolness of that glass of milk; Intense, pleasant memories. Change those chocolate chip cookies to cooked Brussels sprouts and you may have just as intense a memory, albeit not as pleasant. Chances are you’ll still remember exactly what the kitchen looked like when you were forced to clean your plate…maybe even remember what you were wearing and what was on the t.v. that night. The more intense the sensory experience, the more intense the emotional response, and ultimately, the more clear the memory.

For our purposes here, our goal is to be able to use those feelings of joy and contentment as a tool to solidify our child’s journey in his world around him. We truly want her to gain a “sense” of the world around her so that she can move through her space more eloquently.

Scaffolding

Scaffolding is a brain based, research backed technique that truly makes a difference in the efficiency of learning!

Our brains work best when they can create a “network” of neuropathways—neural connections weaving in and around other neural connections. As much as I think the analogy of the brain as a computer is belittling to the intricacies of what makes up human intelligence, I have to admit there are many similarities. Our brains store information kind of like the folders on our desktops. It’s easiest for us to remember newly acquired information if there is already a “folder” with some kind of similar knowledge stored in it. For example, when an infant is first learning about what “dog” means, there may be a folder already created in their minds titled “that weird thing with lots of hair I saw at the neighbor’s house.” Then, every time she comes in contact with something four legged and furry, she will take this folder out, compare it to the notes already on file and either add more information or create a new folder or maybe even a couple of subfolders titled “weird furry things that say woof” and “weird furry things that say meow.” Essentially, this is scaffolding; building new knowledge on top of already acquired knowledge. Just as scaffolding makes building a house with many floors easier, educational scaffolding makes deep understanding of a subject easier.

With this in mind, I have written these guides around a certain topic that would ordinarily be intriguing to those of the preschool set. Animals, things that go, their bodies…these are usually the things in their world of which they immediately take notice. So we can capitalize on this pioneering spirit. A few decades ago this technique was called a “thematic unit.” Today, many schools are calling this “experiential learning.” Whatever the label, when we are able to connect something to any aspect that we’ve already learned…it kind of acts like neuronal glue!

One of the ways teachers routinely help students make these connections is -usually while reading a book- we ask them to think of something that relates the text to themselves, the text to another piece of text, or the text to the world. This technique will work well in any situation, not just while reading. For example, you and your three year old are at the zoo and they see a zebra for the first time. You might pose the following questions: Whoa! That animal has black and white stripes! Have you ever seen an animal like that before? (text to self) I remember one time we read a story about a zebra wearing pajamas. Do you remember that story? (text to text) My favorite part of that story was when the zebra ______. What was your favorite part? (text to self) Do you think that zebra would wear pajamas? (text to world) The idea here is to help your child make connections – to create a new folder that is connected to as many other folders as possible – so that if one folder accidentally gets “deleted” he’ll have the information stored somewhere else!

Multiple Intelligences Theory

Multiple Intelligences Theory was pioneered by Dr. Howard Gardner, a psychology professor from Harvard University. Essentially the idea behind MI is that we have more than one type of intelligence and our “IQ” in each of these intelligences can vary. Originally there were thought to be seven types of intelligences, but each year there seem to be a few new ones added to the list. For our purposes, we will concentrate on those first seven:

Verbal/Linguistic – rhyming, letter/sound/word recognition, phonetic awareness, storytelling, listening comprehension, expression, vocabulary development

Visual/Spatial – painting, puzzles, play-dough, sculpting, drawing, daydreaming, designing, decorating, making mental pictures, video, pictures, photos

Logical/Mathematical – problem solving, volume, puzzles, quantity, sorting, patterns, predict, analyze, “how and why,” board games, games with rules

Musical/Rhythmic – rhyming, pitch, rhythm, timbre, tone, singing, playing instruments, listening to music
Bodily/Kinesthetic – fine and gross motor skills, body awareness, pinching, throwing, kicking, grasping, crossing the midline, dancing, recognizing body sensations, dramatic play, “dressing up,” expressing emotions through the body
Interpersonal – understanding others’ emotions, making friends, empathy, recognizing body language, understands others’ perspectives, cooperation, communication

Intrapersonal – understanding own emotions, labeling feelings, daydreaming, setting boundaries, solo play
One of the main differences between this theory and the traditional sense of IQ is that there are so many more ideas of what it means to be gifted. Michael Jordan might be considered gifted in his bodily/kinesthetic intelligence, Nelson Mandela gifted in his inter and intrapersonal intelligences, and Johnny Cash within his musical/rhythmic intelligence.

As with ANYTHING, especially in education, there has been some grumblings regarding this theory. First of all, “the academics in charge” don’t like the word theory. So for our intents and purposes we will view the word theory as “idea.” There has also been contention around the word intelligences itself, the difference between M.I. and Learning Styles, as well as whether or not brain scans have entirely discounted the theory altogether. But here’s the thing: Any teacher who has been doing this for awhile will tell you that when we present information in many different ways it “sticks” better, for which I have coined my own term: The Folder Theory. But since no one knows this theory but me and a handful of parents I’ve told about it, we’ll stick with Dr. Gardner. His list is a handy way for us to make sure we’ve presented new information in a well rounded manner, stimulating different aspects and perspectives of thinking. In addition, I’ve seen it work firsthand. A student doesn’t get it, still doesn’t get it, wait…what did you say?, Nope don’t get it. Has the exact same information from before but this time sings it…oh! Now I get it!

We seem to naturally have a preference for one or two intelligences from birth. Since we will tend to do more of what we are good at, because it feels good to excel, those one or two intelligences tend to become stronger and the other areas, if not exercised, may “weaken.” Those of us who have a natural inclination towards verbal/linguistic or logical/mathematical usually do well in traditional academic settings. However, if our tendencies lean more toward the visual/spatial or musical/rhythmic there is a POSSIBILITY of struggling in a classroom setting. This is not because there is anything wrong or lesser with these areas, only that the traditional classroom is filled pretty much solely with verbal and mathematical opportunities. We need to think of our primary intelligence as our learning language. It is through this language that we can translate other areas.

I have seen more times than I care to remember bright and enthusiastic children, who are very capable of learning, labeled with disabilities simply because their primary intelligence didn’t fit into the box of a traditional classroom. Instead, we should act as translators and travel guides, interpreting what we see along the way in a language they can understand. For instance, if our child’s learning language preference is visual/spatial we must find visual ways (without words) to explain math concepts, etc. If I only speak English and I attend a trigonometry class taught only in Mandarin, it does not mean that I am learning disabled because I didn’t understand the trigonometry. I needed someone to translate the lesson into a language I can understand.

However, the more early experiences that encompass ALL of the multiple intelligences may prevent such a lop-sided experience altogether. Our goal as parents and teachers should be to provide our children with varied and engrossing sensory adventures that stimulate EVERY learning language they are born with!