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Thursday, May 12, 2016

Blog Switch - Teaching a Novel the MI Way!

Hi there! My name is Marianna and I blog about my 3rd graders and their shenanigans over at It Happened in 3rd. I'm so excited to do this little blog swap with Erin...I know she's been rocking it over here with her math and science posts so I thought I'd give you the inside scoop on some things I do to keep my literacy instruction fresh!

Click here to follow me on Bloglovin'!

Just a little background about where I work...we are a small charter school focused on using Multiple Intelligence Theory to best meet the needs of all our students (#sidenote: unfamiliar with MI? I suggest you head to Howard Gardner's site and learn directly from the man himself). Our students do a profile at the beginning of the year to determine their strongest "smarts."  We then use the results of their profile to provide individualized instruction through the use of learning contracts, portfolios, and choice boards. The kids love showing off their "smarts" on a variety of different projects throughout the year!



What does this mean for me as a departmentalized Literacy/Social Studies teacher? Obviously, I have Word Smart wrapped up...and with all the reflections we do on our work we have Self Smart covered as well! However, I want to design my lessons with ALL the "smarts" in mind. I believe students learn a concept best when they learn about it in ways that incorporate many different skill sets. Something I stress to the students is that their job is to build up all of their smarts. For example, If Suzy is Picture Smart, this doesn't mean she should always make a poster to demonstrate her learning...she can make her brain work harder by doing different activities that use a variety of multiple intelligences!

One of the easiest ways I've found to quickly incorporate MI into any lesson is to use a choice board! Choice boards are one of my favorite teaching tools because they are so versatile...you can use them for anything! Here are some choice boards I have used this year:


I especially like to use choice boards when teaching novels. Rather than the standard read the chapter-answer the questions-write a summary routine (YAWN!), you can assess your students' understanding with a variety of engaging activities! Here are some ideas for creating your own MI choice board for any novel: 



You might choose to have students complete a choice board after a few chapters or at the end of the novel...whatever works for you! You can also decide the number of activities they are going to complete and the amount of time they get to work on it. The tasks can be as simple or complex as you want...the possibilities are endless!

Here are some activity suggestions for each "smart." They could be individual, partner, or group activities:

Visual-Spatial Intelligence (Picture Smart)-
Your "visual learners" will gravitate towards these activities! Students can:

  • Create a collage using items mentioned in a particular chapter. 
  • Make a diorama of an important moment
  • Turn a chapter or a set of pages into a comic strip
  • Create a new front cover for the book
  • Make a brochure showcasing all the settings in a novel.

Musical Intelligence (Music Smart)-
Got a student that can't stop tapping on his desk? Channel his energy in more positive ways by introducing these rhythmic activities!:

  • Write a song about a character in the novel
  • Make a playlist...one song for each chapter, Explain why each song represents the chapter
  • Make up a poem/rap to summarize a chapter, or do a "Weird Al" version of a popular song
  • Pretend your book is going to become a movie. Develop a movie trailer by choosing the perfect song and finding 3 important scenes in the book that you would include.


Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence (Body Smart)-
These activities are great for our friends who just. can't. sit. still:

  • Act out a scene from the book
  • Play charades using vocabulary words from a particular chapter
  • Construct a 3D version of a character from the novel
  • Make a human timeline of important events in the book


Linguistic Intelligence (Word Smart)-
Your future novelists will dive into these activities:

  • After finishing the novel, write an additional chapter that describes what happened to the characters
  • Rewrite a chapter changing the setting
  • Create a crossword puzzle using character names or vocabulary words
  • Make a newsletter using events that happened in the book
  • Summarize a chapter in the form of a poem


Logical-Mathematical Intelligence (Logic Smart)- 
Want to get your number-loving students engaged in your novel study? Here's how:

  • Create a timeline of events that happen in the novel
  • Poll the other students in the class about something related to the novel. Graph and share the findings
  • Develop a secret code two characters could use to talk to each other. Record a conversation between them using the code


Naturalistic Intelligence (Nature Smart)-
Don't worry! You don't need to cover your class in potting soil to get your nature lovers involved:

  • Create a map of a location mentioned in the novel
  • Make a "nature guide" for plants/animals mentioned in the book
  • Place 10 items relating to a chapter in a bag/box. Have other students guess the importance of each item in relation to the chapter.


Intrapersonal Intelligence (Self Smart)-
These activities are great for your deep thinkers:

  • Pretend one of the characters in the novel is transferring to your school. Create a handbook to help them fit in on their first day.
  • Keep a diary as one of the characters in the book. Describe their thoughts/feelings about events that happen in a particular chapter.
  • Pretend you have been assigned to help a buddy study vocabulary words from a chapter. Make a study guide to help your friend.


Interpersonal Intelligence (People Smart)-
You know they're going to talk, so they might as well talk about their work!:

  • Perform a puppet show based on one chapter of the book
  • Develop a whole class Jeopardy-style game to review the novel
  • In character with a buddy, interview each other about events from the book
  • Have a debate with another student about the most important event in the novel

I hope you've found some ideas to introduce MI and choice boards into your literacy instruction! If you like what you've read here, please download my Charlotte's Web Choice Board freebie! It won't be free for long, so grab it now! (Note: make sure to use after the students finish reading, as there is a teeny tiny spoiler in one of the activities)!

You can see all of my choice boards HERE.

Thanks for reading, and thanks to Erin for letting me take over her blog for the day! Don't forget to check out my blog, It Happened in 3rd, and follow me on Facebook and Pinterest!





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