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Tool: Evaluating styles of learning activities

(Also see Responding to multiple intelligences and learning styles).

You may find it helpful to break a learning activity down into each of its parts and look at what intelligences are being drawn upon during this activity. This process can help you develop an understanding of the various types of intelligence and how you can draw upon students' strengths. Choose an activity you are thinking about using as part of your planning, or think about the various types of intelligence you have drawn on most often in your classroom. Consider the responses in the chart below, then add your own activity to evaluate.

Evaluating styles of learning activities
Activity What are the students doing? How will they get information? How will they work?
Examples: Writing a story, drawing a picture, working equations, etc. Reading, watching a video, listening to a lecture, doing an experiment, etc. In partners, in groups, individually, as a whole class
Procedures in this activity:      
Types of intelligence students draw from      

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Discussion questions for analyzing activities for multiple intelligences

Verbal/Linguistic and Mathematical/Logical are the types of intelligence most commonly emphasized in schools. Are there ways to address your teaching objectives for your chosen activity while emphasizing other areas?

How many intelligences does the activity draw on? While activities that emphasize only one or two styles may be appropriate, emphasizing the same styles in each lesson may put some children at a disadvantage. See Extending unit plans for a form about looking at intelligences across a unit.

What standards will students be expected to meet for the activity? Would you expect all children to produce the same quality of work on a picture, on a set of problems, on a story? Why or why not? Try a thought experiment: what would a classroom look like that expected all children to show kinesthetic, visual or musical expertise? What would learning disabled children look like in a school that expected students to draw accurately, to compose melodies, to dance well?

For an example of a secondary lesson that appeals to both kinesthetic and visual learners, see Using skits to extend literature learning.