I am responding to Dr. Solomon’s questions about addressing all students in the classroom. After having studied and implemented Multiple Intelligences in my classroom for 15 years, I firmly believe that it is possible to reach all students in the classroom. The increased benefit of using MI (Multiple Intelligences) is that not only are all students involved, they will retain the information studied, and they are passionate about their learning. Much of this is based on the work of Howard Gardner, who is quoted as saying "It's now how smart you are, it's how you are smart." For a graphic presentation of the basics of MI, see http://www.itiadventure.com/multiple_intelligences_handout.jpg . I believe all subjects can be adapted to using MI; Creating an MI environment is incumbent upon the teacher during curricular planning. My approach in planning a Tanach unit is as follows: 1. Preview the story with prior student knowledge. 1 Lesson 2. Divide the class into partners, with each pair studying different verses of the unit. 1 Lesson 3. Review comprehension of the story with each pair (orally, dramatically, graphically). 1-2 Lessons 4. Students prepare one of 2 or 3 choices of an MI activity - skits, comic strips, debates, trials, student created PowerPoints, video dialogues, wikis, journals, diaries, pantomimes, newspaper, sculpture, games, etc. 2-3 Lessons 5. Students Present! 1-2 Lessons (depending number of students) 6. Evaluate 1 Lesson Total: 7-10 Lessons When students take ownership of their learning, their own passions and creativity connect them to the Biblical text. They become the characters they are studying. They internalize the messages, nuances, and phrases of the Bible in a much deeper way than had we stopped at oral or written review (#3 above). Excitement is palpable on presentation days. If a teacher’s end result is oral or written review, then I agree with Dr. Solomon’s theory: you cannot get to every student in the class, because not all children respond to standardized written or oral methods of study. The goal of MI is to allow knowledge acquisition to be expressed individually and creatively. As it says in Mishlei 22:6: חנוך לנער על פי דרכו -- Educate the child according to his way. Evaluation (#6) is crucial. Students need to express what they’ve learned so the class reviews its commitment to Bible study, and for them to process what they’ve learned. I’ve enclosed a few samples of student responses that were completed Dec 9, 2009, with a 7th-8th grade class at the NE Miles Jewish Day School in Birmingham, AL, "Studying Leadership in the Bible," which I teach via video conferencing two days a week through the Remote Teachers Project at The Lookstein Center. For presentation, (#5), students presented skits of different Biblical leaders, such as Abraham in the Binding of Isaac and different highlights of King David’s life. On what students enjoyed learning from the Biblical Leadership Presentations A. King David or Queen Esther’s Coronation - I learned the similarities and differences between David’s coronation and Esther’s coronation B. Highlights from Queen Esther life- I learned that Esther did not really have a very good life and she had a lot of things that she did not like done to her C. David and Goliath -- I learned that David refused to take armor because he felt that it would slow him down and he was right because he won. Cara S. On explaining your responses: During the time that I read all of these stories like Akeidat Yitzhak or David and Goliath I started to evaluate what is happening and how it is happening in a deeper thought. This helped me understand the topic better so that I would not get bummed on a certain sentence that doesn’t make sense. Patrick S. On improving Hebrew reading: “…after reading so much for the skits (especially playing the angel for the play – there was so much Hebrew!!) and presenting the PowerPoints, I got a lot better at reading Hebrew” Chaya F. For more student testimonials from previous topics, see my website at: http://ieducatefromisrael.com/testimonials1.html. To see more guidelines, rubrics and evaluations on setting up MI in the Judaic Studies classroom, please see http://ieducatefromisrael.com/samples.html or contact me at Semadar@ieducatefromisrael.com. To conclude, I’ve included a list of student goals in the MI classroom: Students... -- Are passionate about Bible studies. -- Connect and relate to Biblical leaders. -- Apply Biblical values to their own lives. -- Discover and develop own talents. -- Improve cooperative skills. -- Become more independent, responsible and self-directed learners. I love feedback and questions. Feel free to be in touch at Semadar@ieducatefromisrael.com
Note: Hear the informative podcast of Semadar Goldstein on multiple intelligences at this web address: http://www.lookstein.org/podcasts/047_120809.mp3
On the next post are content applications showing how the seven multiple intelligences can be utilized in a lesson on Pesach.