Archive | February 2012

Goal 3: Ask a Learner

Goal 3 of the 30 goals challenge asks us to interview a learner about his/her learning style or habits. I decided to use the information I gathered from my 3/4 class.

My class are doing a unit that focuses on learning about how they learn. One of the activities looks at their preferred intelligence based on Howard Gardner’s approach. They completed a survey with a variety of questions based around each intelligence. Some students came out with equal results for more than one intelligence.

The results were:
Naturalist = 5 students
Mathematical-Logical = 7 students
Verbal-Linguistic = 2 students
Musical-Rhythmic = 2 students
Visual-Spatial = 7 students
Bodily-Kinesthetic = 6 students
Interpersonal = 3 students
Intrapersonal = 2 students

After we gathered the results each student had the chance to share with the class how they felt about how they had scored. Most students said they expected the results they got and they thought it really reflected how they learn and what they like to learn about. Some students were surprised. One student came out with high scores in the Intrapersonal intelligence and had no idea he would. I reflected on this and I was not actually surprised. He is a student that will often pick working by himself over working in a group and does have some difficulty in listening to other people’s point of view. This activity gave the students an opportunity to reflect on how they learn best even if it’s not what they first thought.

These results made me stop and think about how often I cater for all the intelligences. Visual-Spatial and Mathematial-Logical were the two intelligences that scored the highest in my class, probably because most of my students love art and maths. This result has made me think that when I am planning I do need to include activities and opportunities for students to express themselves visually. I do include visual tasks but I think it is good to reflect on how powerful these tasks can be and to include them more often. The results also made me aware that I need to continue making connections with mathematics in all areas of the curriculum. All of the multiple intelligences are important and it will be essential that I include opportunities for my students to experience all of the learning styles.

As part of our unit my students will be further researching the multiple intelligences and exploring their preferred learning styles as well as looking at some of the intelligences that they might like to know more about.

Below are some examples of my students ‘Wordles’ that they created to visually represent their preferred multiple intelligences:
Wordle: MI

Wordle: MI

Wordle: MI

Goal 2: Highlight Your Magical Teaching Moment

Goal number two asks me to think about a magical teaching moment when I have reached a learner and made a difference.
*I have made up the name of the student.

My magical teaching moment is the story of a boy called Henry. I taught him for two years and worked through a lot of learning difficulties. Henry had a background other than English and struggled to control his behaviour. He was disengaged and wanted to do whatever he liked to do not what the class was doing. He had problems socialising with his peers and was often upset because it was all too hard.

Over the two years Henry remained one of my most challenging students, however the change I saw in him made it all worth while. Gradually Henry was able to attempt the tasks that the rest of the class were doing. His behaviour settled and his learning increased. Henry enjoyed Maths and that was one area that I tried to tap into his enthusiasm and show him that if he worked hard he could understand what I was trying to teach him.

Literacy took a lot longer. Henry made some progress but still required a lot of support. Henry needed the most support with writing. He had no intrinsic motivation for writing and the concentration it took to form letters correctly made writing tiring and boring.

Apart from the excitement that I had in helping Henry succeed in learning one of the most magical moments in this story was when I wanted to get a better picture of Henry’s comprehension when reading. I didn’t want him to have to write so I gave him an iPod and asked him to retell the story orally using Voice Memos. The results were amazing. Henry was able to retell the story from start to finish with expression and humour. He made the story more interesting than it was originally with his voices for the different characters and the excitement in which he told parts of the story.

I was so amazed at what Henry could do, that as soon as it was recess I ran around playing the recording for anyone who would listen. Everyone was so excited. I showed my principal and he said lets get 8 more iPods, that was a response I wasn’t expecting but it showed the power of what Henry had done.

Henry achieved a lot in two years and made a smooth transition into the next year. He still had a long way to go with his learning but his behaviour was no longer a problem and he had made some very close friends.