The Book Fort

Instructional Ideas for Immediate Implementation

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Week Twenty One: So Each May Learn

As we continue to struggle through the dark, snowy days of winter, I thought it appropriate to review an older text about inclusion. So many of us teach in classrooms with wildly varied skills levels and may even teach ELL, SpEd, and/or GT students all in one classroom at the same time. Some even teach various grade levels in the same room! In ASCD's book So Each May Learn: Integrating Learning Styles and Multiple Intelligences (2000), Silver, Strong, and Perini present some background on the idea of an integrated curriculum and instruction that includes all learners. I don't know about you, but I can use all the help I can get in this area!


The eight multiple intelligences are defined as (based on Gardner): verbal-linguistic, logical-mathematical, spatial, musical, bodily-kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalist. The learning styles are defined as (based on Jung): mastery (sensing-thinking), interpersonal (sensing-feeling), understanding (intuitive-thinking), and self-expressive (intuitive-feeling). You may have taken an assessment yourself in a teacher training to determine your own strengths and styles; there are a ton of quizzes online such as the Myers Briggs.


While this text is going on twenty years old, it still rings true in so many ways. The introduction addresses the excitement teachers feel when they leave an incredibly useful professional development workshop and the frustration that often ensues when they cannot seem to grasp how the ideas they just got excited about will actually play out in practice. Driven "by the goal of equality" (3), the three authors of this text offer practical applications to the multiple intelligences and learning styles theory. They define multiple intelligences as the content of learning and learning styles as the process of learning, which should go hand-in-hand instead of work exclusively.


Silver, H., et al. (2000). So each may learn: Integrating learning styles and multiple intelligences. ASCD.

Bonus: if this strikes your fancy, you can find it on Amazon VERY cheap since it is an older text.

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The Principles of Diversity

In order to meet the needs of all students of various learning styles and multiple intelligences and also meet state and district standards for learning, there must be diversity in learning experiences. The authors suggest focusing on these four principles to ensure this in your classroom:

  1. Comfort: "Building comfort into learning is essential if we expect students to respond positively and constructively to their education" (44). Eric Jensen's brain research is quoted here as well; if students feel helpless in their learning environments, a defense mechanism is triggered in their brains and they enter a state of stress. This breeds behavior problems and teacher stress as well. Varying your instructional strategies to include various learning styles will help all students find comfort in the way they learn and decrease stress.
  2. Challenge: "Learning, as Vygotsky tells us, means being ready to be challenged; we grow as learners by reaching beyond our current abilities" (44).
  3. Depth: "From the perspective of brain research, few approaches could be more antithetical to the way the brain learns than the predominant cycle of content coverage: teach, quiz, teach, quiz, teach, unit test" (45).
  4. Motivation: "Studies on the roles of teacher control and student choice in learning show that self-motivation on the part of the students can be expected only if the students have opportunities to focus on topics and activities that interest them" (45).


Practical Applications

Website of the Week

Teaching Tolerance

In the increasingly divisive political climate, it is more important than ever to teach tolerance and encourage diversity in our classrooms. Teaching Tolerance offers free instructional resources and professional development opportunities for educators to do just that. Check out the website and request your free resources today. Also, follow Teaching Tolerance on Twitter @Tolerance_org.
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Ed Tech Tool of the Week

Glogster

Want to jazz up your tired old poster? Glogster is the interactive poster-maker for you! This innovative tool allows users to add video, audio, images, and more to make their presentations come alive. There is a free trial available for 7 days, and thereafter there are very reasonably priced options for educators to provide this tool to their students. Check them out on Twitter @Glogster for implementation ideas.
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What Students Are Reading

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Kristie Hofelich Ennis, NBCT

In an effort to systematically study relevant research and stay connected to the teachers I greatly respect and with whom I have worked for years to successfully implement independent reading, this newsletter came about. It will offer research and practical ideas for quick implementation and may prompt further discussion or study with your colleagues. I hope you'll find it useful and thought-provoking; I also hope you will stay in touch if you implement any of the ideas with your students. They are, after all, why I do what I do!