Today marked the beginning of the Respecting Diversity Program in one my school’s Kindergarten classes. I will be working in collaboration with the classroom teacher, who is also learning about the program and who was interested in trying it out with her students.
Although I am already halfway through the program with Group B (a Grade 4 class), this group is significantly younger, so I will be working closely with the classroom teacher to adapt the lessons accordingly. Thankfully, the teacher has many years of experience working with this age group, and will be able to easily support with the planning process and the necessary adaptations.
The plan for Lesson 1 was as follows:
- Ask the kids what it means to be smart.
- Organize their answers in categories based on the multiple intelligences. Prompt them with questions as necessary.
- At the end, draw their attention to the different categories and tell them what each “smart” is called.
Step 1 and 2 of the lesson went pretty much as planned. At first, the students shared the answers I was expecting, such as knowing math, reading, spelling, knowing the letters of the alphabet, etc. With a bit more prompting, we were able to guide them in coming up with examples for each of the “smarts.” Existential intelligence (or Wondering Smarts) and intrapersonal intelligence (or Self Smarts) were a bit more difficult for the students to understand, but we were fully expecting this, so no big deal! I was thankful that we were two adults for this lesson. The students were very eager to share their ideas, and I would have struggled on my own to get them all down. We really tag-teamed throughout the lesson, both with the prompting, as well as with adding their ideas to the board. See how well they did in the picture below!
During step 3 of the lesson we looked more closely at each category and had them think about what each of these could be called. We drew their attention to the fact that one list included all things that requires us to use words, so we could call this category Word Smarts. They were able to work out that the kinesthetic category included activities where we use our body, so we could call this category Body Smarts. With prompting we were able to name each category.
At this point, the students were starting to check-out, which was fair enough, as at this point we had kept them at the carpet far longer than what I would normally plan for with this age group. They really knocked my socks off with their ability to sit and attend to the lesson for so long! Hopefully they will continue to be as interested and attentive throughout the coming lessons!
We finished off by sharing that we are all strong in different ways, and that over the coming days, we would be working together to learn more about our individual smarts.
After the lesson the teacher and I had the chance to reflect on how it all went. We agreed that finding a way to add visuals to the brainstorming process would be beneficial for this age group. Otherwise we were happy with the kick off to the program and we are looking forward to learning more about our students and their smarts in the days to come!
Katz, J. (2012). Teaching to Diversity: The Three-Block Model of Universal Design for Learning. Winnipeg: Portage & Main Press.