Sunday, November 14, 2010

Celebrating Every Learner

Celebrating Every Learner, Activities and Strategies for Creating a Multiple Intelligences Classroom by Thomas R Hoerr, Sally Boggeman, Christine Wallach, and the Faculty of the New City School ($32.95) is another wonderful book published by Jossey-Bass that helps teachers and parents be better teachers, this time, by defining MI (multiple intelligences) and giving us activities and strategies for growing them as we teach.

I know that there is quite a bit of research in the area of Multiple Intelligences and I believe that figuring out where my homeschooler (a child on the autism spectrum) has strengths and weaknesses in areas is important. Understanding each intelligence, what, exactly, each is, and understanding how to capitalize on strengths, grow both strengths and weaknesses, is brand new to me. I want to know more. The authors of Celebrating Every Learner give me more.

As I flipped through the book on a first look-see, one activity caught my eye: Unfairness on Purpose: A Problem Solving Mind-Set. It's part of the Interpersonal Intelligence, an area of weakness for individuals on the autism spectrum, and a topic (unfairness on PURPOSE) that is difficult for most of us. How might we teach our students to think about that? It's in the book, chapter one, which is here. My favorite part of each chapter is the section of resources, lists, and checklists at the end. Oddly enough, I would rather begin with the checklist for the intelligence to give me a snapshot, a preview of the intelligence, and then begin the chapter from the beginning. (That's a Pennyism.)

This book is written for groups of students; if you're homeschooling one child, as I am, there will be some activities you can adapt at home and some you'll want to use in a group, a co-op setting, perhaps. Some of the activities are appropriate for church and youth group settings.

From my perspective, the parent of a child on the autism spectrum, there are activities in the book that could be used with a dyad or triad to incorporate practice navigating relationships while focusing on an activity that includes (but is not limited to) academics, previewing, predicting, planning, assessing after the fact, movement, music, and perspective taking. The authors give the teacher ideas to generalize concepts outside the activities, too. It's another book that reminds me that sometimes I need to think outside the box a little more.

Curious? A sample lesson is HERE. Instead of my listing the multiple intelligences here, check them out: The TOC is here. If you're like me and like to start with the index, it's here.

I especially like the fact that the book includes disabilities simulation activity.

Celebrating Every Learner comes from the experience of a team of professionals who know that the activities are do-able and that they accomplish what they intend to accomplish. The activities, for the most part, use everyday items that you would find in a typical classroom or homeschool. Sometimes, a book aimed at teachers uses professional terms and lingo that have me reaching for the dictionary; the authors of Celebrating Every Learner have written a book that even a laymom can understand and they've provided activities and strategies that I can implement. They've given me some new information to help my daughter with some do-able activities. If you're looking for new perspective and insight, whether you are a school-building school teacher or a homeschool teacher/parent, this book may be helpful for you, too.

Jossey-Bass sent me a review copy of Celebrating Every Learner in order that I may review it on my blog. I am not paid for reviews and am not obligated to provide a positive review.

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