The following is a reflection on Lesson 2 of the RD Program that I have started in collaboration with a classroom teacher in a kindergarten classroom at my school. Read more about the program here, as well as my reflection on Lesson 1 here.
The purpose of Lesson 2 is for students to learn more about their intelligences profile by completing a multiple intelligences survey.
The plan for this lesson was as follows:
- Send home a short letter explaining the program to parents, as well as a copy of the early years survey (provided at the back of the book Teaching to Diversity – The Three-Block Model of Universal Design for Learning) for parents to fill out about their child.
- Assist students in completing an adapted multiple intelligences survey.
- Consider student input (survey), teacher input (observations) and parent input (survey) to determine each students strengths and challenges.
- Revisit our brain storming web from lesson 1 and discuss which students demonstrate strength in each of the areas.
Before getting started on the survey with the students, the classroom teacher and I agreed that it might also be helpful to get parents’ input on their child’s strengths. With this in mind, we sent a letter home in the students’ weekly mail folders. The letter gave a brief explanation of what we would be doing in class. Attached was a copy of the early years survey for them to fill out about their child.
Within a couple of days, the completed surveys started coming back to class. I was very excited to see the results of these, however, this excitement slightly turned to disappointment when looking at the first few that had come back. The results told us right away that we had not been clear enough in our explanation to parents on how to complete the survey. Many students came back with high scores in each or most of the smarts, and the point of the activity seemed to have been missed. This will definitely be something to consider next time, when asking for parent feedback. It will be important to explain more clearly the purpose of the survey, and also share that there are no right or wrong answers. Lesson learned!
Step 2 of the lesson, which involved completing the student surveys with the kids, proved to be quite time consuming, but as it is obviously one of the most important steps of the whole program, we worked through it as best we could. We had adapted a more visual survey that was shared with us by another teacher, to make it more suitable for our students. In order to collect the most accurate information possible, we decided that the surveys should be completed in small groups of 2-3 students, with an adult facilitating in each group. Overall, this process, although lengthy, went quite well. Some kids really took the time to reflect on each question of the survey before answering. Other students seemed overzealous and answered “yes” to every (or most) questions. This encouraged the teacher and me to reflect on how to improve this step of them program for next time.
After completing the survey, we synthesized the students’ results with their parents’ results and considered our observations as well, in order to determine each student’s strengths and challenges. This process was pretty interesting, as more often than not, the student and parent results were very different.
Once we had determined each student’s strength, we brought all the students together on the carpet to revisit the web of smarts and relating activities we had created together in Lesson 1. They did a great job at remembering the names we had given each smart. My favourite part of this lesson was sharing with the class what each student’s “special smart” is. They smiled with such pride to hear how they are smart!
After this lengthy but important lesson, we are looking forward to moving ahead in the program. The next lesson (my favourite of the program) will be a complete change of pace, as we work together as a class to build our class’ intelligences profile and community brain!
Read more about this program here.
Katz, J. (2012). Teaching to Diversity: The Three-Block Model of Universal Design for Learning. Winnipeg: Portage & Main Press.