GIFTED EDUCATION PRESS QUARTERLY

10201 YUMA COURT

P.O. BOX 1586

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703-369-5017

FALL 1998

VOLUME TWELVE, NUMBER FOUR

LIFETIME SUBSCRIPTION: $22.00

http://www.giftededpress.com

MEMBERS OF NATIONAL ADVISORY PANEL

Dr. James Delisle -- Professor and Co-Director of SENG, Kent State University, Kent, Ohio

Dr. Jerry Flack --Univ. Of Colorado-Colorado Springs

Dr. Howard Gardner -- Professor, Graduate School of Education, Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Ms. Diane D. Grybek -- Supervisor of Secondary Gifted Programs (Retired), Hillsborough County Schools, Tampa, Florida

Ms. Dorothy Knopper -- Publisher, Open Space Communications, Boulder, Colorado

Mr. James LoGiudice -- Director, Program and Staff Development, Bucks County, Pennsylvania Intermediate Unit No. 22 and Past President of the Pennsylvania Association for Gifted Education

Dr. Mary Meeker -- President of SOI Systems, Vida, Oregon

Dr. Adrienne O'Neill - Johnson & Wales University, Providence, Rhode Island

Dr. Stephen Schroeder-Davis -- Coordinator of Gifted Programs, Elk River, Minnesota Schools and Past President of the Minnesota Council for the Gifted and Talented

Dr. Bruce Shore -- Professor and Director, Giftedness Centre, McGill University, Montreal, Canada

Ms. Joan Smutny -- Professor and Director, Center for Gifted, National-Louis University, Evanston, Illinois

Dr. Virgil S. Ward -- Emeritus Professor of Gifted Education, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia

Ms. Susan Winebrenner -- Consultant, Brooklyn, Michigan

Dr. Ellen Winner - Professor, Boston College


I wish each of you a successful and productive 1998-99 school year.  While reflecting upon my discussions with educators and parents during the last several months, I reviewed some perennial needs in the gifted field which are seriously unfulfilled. The following needs/problems require that all of us search for new insights and ideas:

1.  Parent concerns about identifying and educating their children.  The Internet is replete with parent complaints regarding the low levels of education received by the children.  This is particularly the case on the gifted Listservs.  Relentlessly, one can read e-mail about the frustrating experiences parents report in their dealings with public schools.  What can educators do to effectively enlist parents in the identification and instruction of gifted children?  In the current situation, the public schools have lost the support of many potentially helpful parents, apparently because of inflexibility in working with them and their gifted children.  

2.  The idea of a differentiated curriculum should be more rigorously addressed by educators in the gifted field. What subjects should this curriculum emphasize? -- e.g., rigorous humanities content, high level principles of science and mathematics, advanced computer technology applications.  How should they be organized? -- e.g., guided discovery, museum exploration approach, independent learning.

3.  The identification of gifted children is still locked into the single “g” factor of intelligence.  Even after 20 years of articles and debate in the gifted field concerning the need for a broader conception of giftedness than revealed by the Stanford-Binet and Wechsler tests, most school districts still adhere to using these or similar tests as their primary instruments for identifying gifted children.  Identification procedures must be expanded to include children with different types of abilities in differentiated programs, thereby increasing the eligible talent pool beyond those with high IQ test results.

Jerry Flack, Professor of Education at the University of Colorado, has written an excellent article demonstrating how the Cinderella fairy tale can be used to teach children about Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences theory. Flack has written a wonderful book on fairy tales: From the Land of Enchantment (1997, Teacher Ideas Press).  This issue also contains the first chapter of Technology Resource Guide (1998, Gifted Education Press) by Adriene O’Neill and Mary Ann Coe of Johnson and Wales and Midwestern State universities respectively.  Their book demonstrates how computers and software can be used in a manner to stimulate high-level problem solving and creative thinking.  Michael Walters discusses the life of Louisa May Alcott (1832-88), which provides important lessons for educating gifted girls.

                                                                                    Maurice D. Fisher, Ph.D., Publisher

                                                                                    mfisher345@comcast.net


CINDERELLA MEETS A PRINCE: HOWARD GARDNER

BY JERRY D. FLACK    UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO AT COLORADO SPRINGS

The past five to ten years have witnessed a resurgent interest in fairy tales, most especially the story of “Cinderella,” with multicultural versions of the famous tale newly appearing in bookstores and libraries on at least a monthly basis.  The past decade has also seen a rapidly growing awareness and popularity of Howard Gardner’s princely theory of multiple intelligences (MI).  In this article, I would like to play matchmaker and introduce Cinderella to Howard Gardner.  That is, I want to describe useful connections that can be established between studies of Cinderella stories and gifted students’ understanding of multiple intelligences.   

There is at least one interesting parallel between Cinderella stories and MI theory.   The world’s most famous folk tale is the story of the child of ashes who rises to greatness because of her basic goodness and sweetness; it is found in cultures on every continent (even Antarctica if one considers Janet Perlman’s delightful Cinderella Penguin, or, The Little Glass Flipper ).  The incredible diversity  of Cinderella stories underscores one of the basic tenets of MI theory.   Differences are to be celebrated.   “Cinderella” (French) and “Turkey Girl” (Zuni)  and “Yeh-Shen” (Chinese) are equally wonderful folk tales.  One is not superior.  They simply exist as equally valid stories of wonder from different cultures.   Just so verbal intelligence is not superior to musical intelligence.  All intelligences are to be valued.

In Frames of Mind  (Gardner, 1983), Howard Gardner estab-lishes and explains the theory of multiple intelligences (MI).   In this seminal work, he postulates that traditional definitions of intelligence  are too narrow.  The most significant tenet of MI theory is Gardner’s  pluralization of  the concept of intelligence. Intelligence is not a single entity. Gardner identifies seven discrete intelligences in Frames of Mind : Linguistic, Musical, Logical-Mathematical, Visual-Spatial, Bodily-Kinesthetic, Interpersonal, and Intrapersonal.   More recently, he identifies an eighth intelligence, Naturalist (Gardner, 1997).

I have discovered that one of the most  effective way to help students concretize their understanding of the MI theory is through examination of the kinds of intelligences utilized by remarkably accomplished people.  Gardner uses this case study approach in much of his writing.    He uses figures such as Yehudi Menuhin (musical intelligence); Babe Ruth (bodily-kinesthetic intelligence); Nobel prize-winner Barbara McClintock (logical-mathematical intelligence);  and Anne Sullivan (interpersonal intelligence) to exemplify the various intelligences.  (Gardner 1983, 1993b)    Examining the events in the lives of remarkable children and adults allows students to note how different intelligences surface and flower in individual lives; everyone has a different multiple  intelligences   profile.  The classic bar graph or histogram is one way to visualize this phenomenon.   Students can create a bar graph profile to illustrate the particular strengths of famous youth such as Sacajaewa who used her spatial intelligence to help find the pathway to the west for Lewis and Clark, and her exceptional linguistic skill as an interpreter, speaking English and Shoshone languages.  Obviously, she had to be able to get along with a diverse group of people, mostly men, so she no doubt also had strong interpersonal skills.  Her knowledge of plants for medicinal and nutritional purposes was surely of great value to the expedition as well.   Hence, a histogram for Sacajaewa would show superiority in at least four intelligences: spatial, linguistic, naturalist and interpersonal.    Any famous person’s life, from Shakespeare to Whitney Houston,  can be examined in a similar fashion.   What intelligences does the person have in abundance?  What intelligences has the same person perhaps not fully explored or utilized?   Next,  I encourage students to create their own multiple intelligences profiles.   I urge students to examine the definitions and the kinds of activities associated with each of different intelligences found in numerous books about multiple intelligences (Gardner, 1993; Lazear, 1994; Marks-Tarlow, 1996).  Which intelligences have they had the opportunity to develop most fully?  Do they have intelligences in which they do not exhibit strengths?  This activity helps students understand themselves better as well as make the important point that there is not just one  way to succeed, but many  equally valid paths to excellence.    

It is not much of a jump then to examine Cinderella’s MI profile.   Ask students to consider a multiple intelligences profile of Cinderella, Figure 1

Of course, students are pretending since Cinderella is a fictional character, and a largely two-dimensional one at that. Nevertheless, certain qualities and characteristics come forth through a consideration of several different Cinderella portrayals. Children and their parents and teachers are typically most familiar with the French “Cinderella,” first published in 1797 by Charles Perrault and made especially popular through the 1953 Disney animation film Cinderella. The Perrault-Disney Cinderella has great musical talent as evidenced by her lovely singing voice.   She is graceful and moves with elegance on the ballroom dance floor.   Hence, another strong plus for Cinderella is bodily-kinesthetic intelligence.  She is kind, loyal and generous, so her endowment of interpersonal intelligence is similarly high. One student, referring to the Disney Cinderella, suggested that anyone who  could inspire birds and mice to sew a ball gown for her obviously had superhuman reserves of the naturalist intelligence.  Interesting discussions may arise as students finish their own multiple intelligences bar graphs for Cinderella (or, alternatively, Rough-Face Girl, Yeh-Shen, or even the Irish Cinderlad).  For example, some students may believe Cinderella has not had any real opportunities to develop her mathematical talent and thus score her “low” in that area, while giving her very high marks for verbal intelligence.   After all, she should receive credit for telling her story and helping it become such a famous part of world folk literature.

One of the most important lessons I have learned in more than thirty years of teaching is to separate process (the how of learning) from content  (the what of learning) when teaching new skills.   I have learned to use the familiar to teach the unfamiliar.  Because of their reasonably universal familiarity, fairy tales work especially well as the content base for introducing something new to students such as the theory of multiple intelligences.   The tale of Cinderella is particularly fertile ground for helping students come to understand the theory of multiple intelligences and how it may be generalized to their school work and transferred to and activated elsewhere in their lives.    

Once my students have constructed MI profiles of Cinderella, I next ask them to pretend to be teachers.   Based upon their knowledge of Cinderella stories,  I ask students to prescribe some exciting projects and activities they would like to do, the completion of which would activate and capitalize on her many intelligences.   The activities highlighted in Figure 2 (p. 5) represent just a sampling of such pursuits.  Of course, a logical next step is for the students to go forward, investigate and complete many of the creative activities  they  have  conceived.

There is amazing depth and breadth of Cinderella studies gifted students can pursue.  Of course, students can engage in both historical and comparative literature studies of the world-wide Cinderella character.  The story of Cinderella is believed to be the most popular folk tale in the world and storytellers have found elements of the classic story in the writings of the far distant past. Shirley Climo, author of The Egyptian Cinderella  notes references to the story of Rhodopis by the Roman historian Strabo in the first century B.C.   Ai-Ling Louie traces the tale of Yeh-Shen, the heroine of Yeh-Shen: A Cinderella Story from China,  to Chinese manuscripts dating from the T’ang dynasty (618-907 A.D.).   Myriad titles of  “Cinderella” can be found in bookstores and libraries. One of the best sources of multi-cultural Cinderella stories is The Oryx Multicultural Folktale Series: Cinderella  (Sierra, 1992).  Judy Sierra retells 24 variants of the classic story from such diverse parts of the world as Russia, India, Africa, Iraq and the Philippines.  Penny Pollock retells a Southwest Native American tale in The Turkey Girl: A Zuni Cinderella Story.

Gifted students can also access Cinderella electronically.  Yes, Cinderella has come of age.   Students can surf the net in search of Cinderella variant stories, locate copies of “Cinderella” books that are 200 years old, and find information about Cinderella themes published by on-line bookstore catalogs.  By using the World Wide Web browser Netscape Navigator 2.0 combined with the search engine “Yahoo!” and by doing a word search of “Cinderella,” a number of worthwhile options surface.  One of the best sites is The Cinderella Project: http://www-dept.usm.edu/~engdept/cinderella/cinderella.html. Here students arrive at the University of Southern Mississippi De Grummond Children’s Literature Collection of Cinderella stories. Instantaneously, students can access facsimile copies of Cinderlla stories that children in London read in 1809.   Nearly 20 different European Cinderella texts from the past 200 years are available at the Cinderella Project site. Dozens of multicultural Cinderella books are described and may be ordered from Shen’s Books at their “In Search of Cinderella” site on the Internet at http://www.shen’s.com.   Recent additions to their collection include Angkat: The Cambodian Cinderella  and Jouanah: A Hmong Cinderella,  both authored by Jewell Reinhart Coburn.   

Cinderella studies are not just for girls, either.  Shirley Climo, who has written The Egyptian Cinderella   and The Korean Cinderella, continues her around-the-world retelling of Cinderella stories with The Irish Cinderlad.   The Irish lad, Becan, is banished to the hills and fields by his stepmother and stepsisters, but with the help of a magical bull, he slays a dragon, rescues a princess, and becomes a prince.

Gifted students may also pursue biographical studies.  Charles Perrault (1628-1703) was a Paris intellectual with connections to the French royal court.   He can truly be acclaimed as the father of fairy tales.  He would have been a prime candidate for gifted programs.  He learned to read early and was expected to do his lessons in both French and Latin.  He studied law among many intellectual pursuits over the course of his lifetime.  Perrault was a lawyer by training and was an influential member of  the French Academy, serving as its director for a time.   He wrote poetry and was at the center of an intellectual debate over the relative merits of classical literature and the French writings of his time.  He truly found his greatness in life, however, in setting to paper the tales he had long told his own four children.   He first published a collection of folk tales, Tales of Times Past  in 1697.   The book which is perhaps better known by its subtitle, Tales of Mother Goose, contained eight stories including “Cinderella: or, The Little Glass Slipper,” “Sleeping Beauty,” “The Master Cat, or Puss in Boots” and “Little Red Riding Hood.”    Although most of the tales had been told since at least the middle ages, Perrault did much more than just preserve them.   He transformed these simple  stories into tales of wonder and magic for children.   The basic Cinderella story can be traced to the folklore of antiquity, but he embellished the story with three significant details.   The fairy godmother, the pumpkin coach, and the glass slipper were all the inventions of Charles Perrault.

One of the notable characteristics of gifted children is a sense of humor (Silverman, 1993; Davis & Rimm, 1997), and there is a veritable treasure chest of Cinderella parodies in print to delight readers and serve as models for their witty spoofs.   The latest entry in the Cinderella laughter sweepstakes is Helen Ketteman’s delightful  Bubba The Cowboy Prince: A Fractured Texas Tale.   Bubba is a strapping young cowboy who lives on a ranch with his wicked step daddy and his worthless stepbrothers Dwayne and Milton.   Although he has to do the work of all the others, Bubba loves ranching and never complains about his fate.  Predictably, the prettiest and wealthiest gal in the territory is Miz Lurleen.  She has a huge ranch, but lacks the companionship of a good man.  She has a ball to see if she can find the man of her dreams.   Dwayne, Milton, and their wicked daddy conspire to keep Bubba from the ball, but his fairy godcow, a heavenly Longhorn, comes to his aid.   He captures Miz Lurleen’s heart but tarries too long and in a rush to leave, drops one of his dirty cowboy boots.   Of course, Mis Lurleen finds her hero, the boot fits perfectly, and she and Bubby ride off into the sunset.  Other Cinderella laugh-out-louds include Ugh!, Arthur Yorinks dinosaur-age tale of a Cinder boy, Babette Cole’s Prince Cinders,  set in a Beatles-era Great Britain, and the funny football adventure, Sidney Rella and the Glass Sneaker by Bernice Myers. Inspired by such twisted tales of humor, gifted young wits can manufacture their own hilarious versions of the Cinderella saga.  

Cinderella can also be the springboard to a wealth of other creative activities such as planning a mall or inventing on Cinderell’s behalf.

Cinderella City Mall

Children love both shopping malls and fairy tales, so why not combine the two to produce creative group work for young learners?    Ask cooperative learning groups to work together as problem solving teams to conceive, design (draw a blueprint-type map), and build a scale model of  the nation's first all-children's mall, Cinderella City.    All the stores and activities and food venues should focus on the needs and likes of children, and the mall’s theme should be based upon fairy tale titles, characters and events.   Teachers may suggest some possible stores to serve as catalysts for student thinking.  Sample businesses may include: Rapunzel's Hair Care, Prince Charming's Formal Wear, Little Red Riding Hood’s Candy Basket, and Cinderella’s Glass Slipper (a children’s shoe store).  Once students have brain stormed about all the stores they want to have in their children’s mall, they can proceed to build a scale model of the mall and even plan a grand opening celebration. For example, might there be a “Midnight Madness” sale at Cinderella’s Glass Slipper as part of a grand opening?

Invent a Solution

Imagine that Cinderella’s fairy godmother is at home, sick with the flu. She just cannot get out of bed and come to the Cinderella’s rescue. How might Cinderella combine the following items into an invention that will transport her to the ball? Students can add other items that might reasonably be at Cinderella’s disposal:

1 large dog                            1 yellow cat

6 feet of clothesline rope      5 gerbils

1 blue satin pillow                 1 rusty wheelbarrow

1 red scarf                             1 magazine (Sports Illustrated)

Howard Gardner has made all of us more conscious of the fact that children have many different kinds of gifts and talents.  In this article, I have suggested ways that teachers of students of various ages can make their learners develop an awareness of multiple intelligences and come to appreciate their own intelligences, especially as they examine the worldwide known and appreciated folk tale best recognized in our culture as “Cinderella.”   I have also suggested ways that Cinderella studies can introduce children to comparative literature and multicultural studies.  Finally, I have shared favorite activities I have used to engage inventive young minds in projects that tantalize their curiosity and provoke creative projects and responses.  a a a a a

MULTIPLE INTELLIGENCES CINDERELLA ACTIVITIES

Linguistic Intelligence:

Read different versions of the Cinderella story, choose a favorite, and provide reasons for the choice.   Conduct an imaginary interview with Cinderella before or  after  the  ball.  Keep a journal or diary Cinderella or Rhodopis or Cinderlad (or one of the Cinderella story characters such as Prince Charming) might have kept.   Create a unique version of Cinderella (e.g., a futuristic, Mars-based Cinderella who cannot attend an Intergalactic Ball).   Practice retelling a version of Cinderella and share it with younger students.    Write a new “magic spell” for Cinderella’s fairy godmother to recite.    Summarize in one or two sentences the moral of Charles Perrault’s Cinderella.  Transpose a prose passage describing any scene from a Cinderella story to verse form.

Logical-Mathematical Intelligence:  

Create a Venn diagram illustrating two different version of the Cinderella story such as Shirley Climo’s The Egyptian Cinderella and Rafe Martin’s The Rough-Face Girl,  an Algonquin Indian folk tale.   Describe a logical plan for how Cinderella might go to the ball without using the magic of a fairy godmother.   Create a board game, complete with rules and regulations,  based upon story characters and elements found in “Cinderella.”   Add some measurements (e.g., miles to the castle, shoe sizes), and then write a mathematical story problem based upon some aspect of the “Cinderella.”

Spatial Intelligence:

Draw a scene from any Cinderella story.   Create a map which notes the central characters in “Cinderella” and reveals connections and relationships between the characters.    Use LEGO, K’NEX, Robotix or other modular building materials to build a castle, carriage, or other artifacts from various Cinderella stories.    Draw a sketch a stage setting for a theatrical version of “Cinderella.”   Blindfolded, use molding clay to sculpt a magic slipper or a statue of any character from any Cinderella story.    Create blueprints for a new castle for Cinderella and Prince Charming.

Musical Intelligence:

Create a Cinderella rap, perhaps voicing Cinderella’s view of her stepsisters.   Choose background music and use rhythm instruments to accompany a telling  of  any  Cinderella  story.  Compose a musical theme for the character Cinderella.   Listen to music from the countries of origin for various Cinderella stories such as Egypt’s Rhodopis and China’s Yeh-Shen.  Listen to music from Sergei Prokofiev’s ballet Cinderella, or Gioacchino Rossini’s opera La Cenerentola. With crayons and markers, draw pictures the selected music passages suggest.

Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence:

In small groups, choreograph a dance Cinderella and Prince Charming might perform. Teach the dance to the class. Demon- strate how to perform a dance such as a square dance, two-step dance, etc.   Pantomime scenes from any  “Cinderella” story. Improvise a humorous scene from any of the many parodies of “Cinderella” such as Babette Cole’s Prince Cinders  or Bernice Myers’ Sidney Rella.

Interpersonal Intelligence:

Create a list of personality self-improvement tips for Cinderella’s stepsisters.    Negotiate a truce between Cinderella and her tormentors.   Exchange notes and positive critiques of student performances in recreating scenes from Cinderella stories with other classmates.   Analyze and discuss the lessons that can be learned from reading or listening to Cinderella stories (e.g., Envy and cruelty are punished; selflessness and goodness are rewarded).    Be sure to read The Good Stepmother  by Marguerita Rudolph.   Write an advice column for a newspaper about ballroom dancing etiquette or step-sibling rivalry.

Intrapersonal Intelligence:

Students should ask themselves, “If you could be a fairy god person,  how  would  you  help  people  improve  their  lives? Imagine portraying either Yeh-Shen, Rhodopis, Prince Charming, Cinderlad, or Cinderella.   “What do you like or dislike about your role?”  Have you ever felt like Cinderella or Sydney Rella?   In the absence of a fairy godmother (or godfather), how did you overcome the feeling of being mistreated or not appreciated?

Naturalist Intelligence:

Research the geographical and climatic setting of a particular Cinderella story such as the Irish Cinderlad.  Determine appropriate flora and fauna and include these in borders or main illustrations of scenes you draw of the story.  Pose as an expert and help Cinderella landscape the palace grounds.  Chart the living, nonhuman creatures found in Cinderella variants around the world.  Note special roles played in Cinderella stories by fish, mice, and falcons.

REFERENCES

Davis, G. A., & Rimm, S. B. (1997).  Education of the Gifted and Talented.  Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

Gardner, H. 1983.   Frames of mind: The theory of multiple  intelligences.   New York: Basic Books.

_____. 1993. Creating minds: An anatomy of creativity seen through the lives of Freud, Einstein, Picasso, Stravinsky, Eliot, Graham, and Gandhi. New York: Basic Books.

_____. (1997).  Are there additional intelligences?  The case for naturalist, spiritual and existential intelligences.  Gifted Education Press Quarterly  11  (2): 2-5.

Lazear, D. (1995).   Seven pathways of learning: Teaching students and parents about multiple intelligences.  Tucson, AZ: Zephyr Press.

Marks-Tarlow, T.  (1996).  Creativity inside out: Learning through multiple intelligences.  Menlo Park, CA: Addison-Wesley.

Silverman, L. K. (1993).  Counseling the Gifted and Talented.  Denver, CO: Love.  

CINDERELLA REFERENCES

Climo, S. (1989).  The Egyptian Cinderella.  Illus. by Ruth Heller.  New York: HarperCollins.

Climo, S. (1993).  The Korean Cinderella. Illus. by Ruth Heller.  New York: HarperCollins.

Climo, S.  (1996) The Irish Cinderlad.    Illus. by Loretta Krupinski.  New York: HarperCollins.

Coburn, J. R. Angkat: The Cambodian Cinderella.  Illus. by Eddie Flotte.   Arcadia, CA: Shen’s Books.

Coburn, J. R.  Jouanah: A Hmong Cinderella.  Illus. by Anne Sibley O’Brien.   Arcadia, CA: Shen’s Books.

Cole, B. (1987).  Prince Cinders.  New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons.

Ketteman, H.  (1998).  Bubba the cowboy prince: A fractured Texas tale.  Illus. by James Warhola. New York: Scholastic Press.

Louie, A.-L. (1982).  Yeh-Shen: A Cinderella story from China.  New York: Philomel.

Martin, R. (1992).  The rough-face girl.  Illus. by David Shannon.  New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons.

Myers, B. (1985).  Sidney Rella and the glass sneaker.  New York: Macmillan.

Perlman, J. (1992).  Cinderella Penguin, or, the little glass flipper.  New York: Viking.

Pollock, P. (1996).  The turkey girl: A Zuni Cinderella.   Boston: Little, Brown.

Rudolph, M. (1992).  The good stepmother.  Illus. by Darcy Day.  New York: Simon & Schuster.

Sierra, J. (1992).  The Oryx multicultural folktale series: Cinderella.  Phoenix, AZ: Oryx.

Yorinks, A. (1990).  Ugh.  Illus. by Richard Egielski.  New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Additional Information from Jerry Flack:

MULTIPLE INTELLIGENCE THEORY DEFINITIONS

Linguistic Intelligence refers to the knowledge, skills, and use of language in oral and written communications.   Facility with language or linguistic intelligence involves phonology, syntax, and semantics; understanding and using the sound, order, and the meaning of words.

Logical-Mathematical Intelligence is the ability to problem solve and “figure things out.”   Activities include mathematical operations utilizing numbers in problem solving, but can just as readily include scientific problem solving or invention wherein a person makes a startling analogy or intuitive leap and suddenly solves a problem or offers an explanation of natural phenomena previously unknown.    The core intelligence is not necessarily verbal.   History is replete with examples of mathematicians and other problem solvers who discovered or understood solutions to problems before they were able to eventually articulate their conclusions.

Spatial Intelligence involves the capacity to orient one’s self to spaces and to inhabit and navigate those spaces whether they be small spaces such as a classroom or the oceans of   the   world.  Spatial intelligence involves more that visual perception as evidenced by the fact that blind persons can learn very well to navigate their world.  There  are   first-rate   blind   sculptors.  Artists and navigators are among people who use space, distance, and perception with particular skill.

Musical Intelligence refers to the ability a person has to compose, perform, and appreciate music.  The principle components of musical intelligence are pitch, rhythm, and timbre.

Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence allows people to utilize bodily movement to physically solve problems, create new products and perform with or without the use of tools.    A fine surgeon exhibits bodily-kinesthetic skill as does a mime and a baseball pitcher.   Tailors and construction workers also rely heavily on their bodily-kinesthetic intelligence.

Interpersonal Intelligence is the first of two personal intelligences Gardner cites.    Interpersonal intelligence involves the ability of people to successfully interact with other human beings.  Some individuals exhibit remarkable skill in their ability to read other person’s needs, wishes, and intentions.   Teachers, religious leaders and politicians are among the professionals who widely utilize interpersonal intelligence.   

Intrapersonal Intelligence refers to the internal knowledge people possess about themselves.   This intelligence involves introspection and an understanding of one’s feelings, behavior patterns, and reactions to the world and being able to use such self-knowledge to positive effect. People who recognize their tendency to procrastinate and thus create action plans to make sure they fulfill  responsibilities are persons  who effectively employ intrapersonal intelligence.   

Naturalist Intelligence allows people to survive in the natural world.  Societies have always depended on those who can cultivate the land and make food grow, and those whose sensibilities allow them to use natural phenomenon to cure and heal. After survival, there are also those who find inspiration in nature such as the photographer Ansel Adams and the philosopher Henry David Thoreau.  There are also scientists such as Rachel Carson who protect and preserve nature.   

MULTIPLE INTELLIGENCES ACTIVITIES

Activities and performances commonly associated with each of the multiple intelligences are listed as follows:

Linguistic Intelligence Activities:  reading, writing poetry and prose, editing, formal speaking, journal keeping, storytelling, giving directions, learning foreign languages, appreciating verbal humor (e.g., puns)

Logical-Mathematical Intelligence Activities: outlining and conducting science experiments, predicting outcomes, estimating, math calculating and problem solving, reasoning and debating, understanding analogies and abstractions, detecting and solving mysteries, deciphering or creating codes, solving brain teasers, playing chess

Spatial Intelligence Activities:  painting, drawing, imaging, composing photographs, orienteering, building models, inventing, designing and building, inventing, mapping, creating diagrams, working with mazes and jigsaw puzzles

Musical Intelligence Activities:  singing, playing, improvising,  composing, keeping time, humming, using percussion instruments, making rhythmic patterns, responding to music

Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence Activities:  dancing, acting, skating, sculpting, sewing, crafting, playing sports, physically illustrating, pantomiming, practicing martial arts, tinkering with machines

Interpersonal Intelligence Activities:  leading people, cooperating, mediating and solving disputes, teaching others, organizing, negotiating, empathizing, counseling, sharing, interviewing, collaborating, understanding others, brainstorming, volunteering, peer coaching and tutoring

Intrapersonal Intelligence Activities:  silently reflecting, keeping a diary or journal, daydreaming, understanding one’s self, imagining future roles and opportunities, analyzing self behaviors, motives, and performances, goal setting, clarifying values, making personal choices, designing, implementing, and evaluating daily, weekly, monthly and life plans

Naturalist Intelligence Activities:  observing nature, labeling and mounting specimens, collecting data, keeping logs, studying changes in the environment, gardening, farming, caring for animals, classifying natural objects, protecting wildlife

 

CHAPTER ONE: THE CONTEXT FOR USING TECHNOLOGY

From  TECHNOLOGY RESOURCE GUIDE: TRANSPORTING GIFTED AND ADVANCED LEARNERS TO THE 21ST CENTURY (1998)

BY ADRIENNE O'NEILL    JOHNSON AND WALES UNIVERSITY

AND

MARY ANN COE    MIDWESTERN STATE UNIVERSITY

“Nothing endures but change.”   Heraclitus

The Continuing Debate

The debate about what constitutes a good education has been raging since the beginning of recorded time. None of the criticism that we hear today is new. As long as there have been published books, newspapers or magazines, criticisms of education have been stated. Finding critics of today's educational programs is very easy. Newspapers, popular magazine articles, and books have been written to "scare" the public into believing that education is in crisis.

Is education in a crisis situation? Are the future citizens and leaders of our world learning to solve problems, make decisions (both individually and collectively), and becoming self-efficient learners? If the answers to these questions are no, then we had better look at what the problems are and work together to find a way to make sure that the problems are solved, and the sooner, the better.

Much of the criticism of today’s educational system is focused on the curriculum of the schools and the achievement of the students. Oddly enough, parents do not commonly agree with the critics. Polls of parents generally show satisfaction with the local school district and the educational program offered to their children. What is the reason(s) for this opposing view? How can change occur, if those most closely linked to schools find them to be satisfactory?

Since change usually occurs at the local school district level, it is not difficult to understand why change in education happens very slowly, if at all. Administrators in local school districts are inhibited by parental satisfaction and are not motivated to change what is believed to work. Only when parents, educators, administrators, and community agree and work together will change occur.

The Reform Movement (1983-Present)

Since 1983 a school reform movement has characterized education in the United States. The movement began with a flurry of national reports following the publication of A Nation at Risk by the National Commission on Excellence in Education (1983). Teachers and school districts were exhorted to make a plethora of changes. Schools were to be restructured to change the learning experiences for students to a more active learning environment in the classroom. Parents and community members were to be included in the educational decision making process. The curriculum was to be upgraded, teaching methods varied, the needs of individual students accommodated in the classroom, and technology was to be integrated into the curriculum.

There have been other reform movements in the history of education in the United States, but this was the first time that the federal and state governments led the movement. However, the state reforms that followed from the reports were more rhetoric than substance, more piecemeal than systemic. While the graduation requirements for students in the fifty states have increased, teacher certification standards are higher than before, and some school districts have adopted site-based management, the curriculum in the local schools and the instruction in the specific classrooms have changed very little. Most classrooms still primarily address the learning style of the linguistic, logical-mathematical learner, the curriculum is stagnant, students pursue the same or similar content material each year, and learning is still a passive activity in most learning environments. Very little substantive change has occurred in most school districts.

The lack of curricula and instructional change in the local schools is surprising when one looks at the increased volume of educational literature and research embodied in the number of books and articles that have been published in just the last five years. Some educators are worried that much of what has been written is merely a recasting of old ideas using new words. Given the loud and ever constant criticism of schools and educators, change may be thought of as too much of a risk. Educators query: What if the changes I make are not the right changes? What if the change makes things even worse? What if I (the educator) need to take risks, am I ready for the problems that I may encounter? If research has proven that active learning is a powerful way to learn, how do I know how active learning takes place in the learning environment, what models are there for me to follow?  

But, it is also too risky not to change. The world has changed greatly in the past two decades. No longer do businesses need people who simply perform repetitious tasks day after day. Life requires people to have problem solving, creative and critical thinking, and interpersonal skills, as well as technological skills. Education of today’s students must prepare them for tomorro’s world, not for what has been, but for what will be.

Perkins (1992) suggests that we can have “Smart Schools” where students are engaged in a learning process that moves beyond the ritualistic and fragile acquisition of knowledge to a genuine understanding of the disciplines of knowledge through thinking. In these schools, teachers would use modeling and questioning to stimulate student thinking and understanding instead of focusing on basic skills and their development. Learning would be assessed through various forms of authentic assessment including portfolios or extensive public presentations rather than through multiple choice and true or false tests. Students would become active participants in their own education.

For education to make these changes, we must look at the entire picture. We have ample proof  that piecemeal change is not enough,. Chris Dede (1997) calls these piecemeal changes “islands of innovation.” Good things are happening on these small “islands” of classrooms and schools, but wholesale innovation and change is not occurring.

Perhaps a reason why schools are not significantly different despite the exhortations of the experts, is that the process of synthesizing all of the recommendations into one holistic learning environment is often beyond the scope or control of the classroom educator working alone. Dede points out that:

Systemic improvements can take place only within the larger context of systemic reform–sustained, large-scale, simultaneous innovation in curriculum, pedagogy, assessment, professional development, administration, incentives, and partnerships for learning among schools, businesses, homes, and community settings. (1997, p 13-14).

Systemic change takes time, time well spent if “Smart Schools” are the end result.

What to Teach?

What teachers teach is not randomly selected. Curriculum content is usually selected for the educator by the school district. Some classroom educators may be invited to join the district curriculum committee to help select that content. But, their selection of content is usually limited by the standards generated by the national and state organizations for each subject area, for example the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM). State curriculum standards are now adopted in thirty-seven states, thus, limiting the individual decisions of the local educators. Most of the current national curriculum standards place an emphasis on the use of technology as a tool.

Along with the standards, some school districts use the contents of textbooks adopted by the school district (or state  Texas, California), as the means of deciding on content for each curriculum area. The textbook series generally includes a listing of the scope and sequence for the knowledge and skills that are covered in the series.

Content or Skills?

Presently, there is some argument that the disciplines of knowledge should be presented as discrete entities and should be mastered by all students. Others argue that the disciplines of knowledge should be integrated around themes and that the well-educated student is able to use the knowledge of the disciplines to solve problems and/or think critically. Howard Gardner (1991) suggests a middle ground and advocates that the disciplines of knowledge be presented in a variety of ways, using a variety of materials, and incorporating a variety of assessment procedures.

Regardless of the intellectual arguments presented, it would seem that the pendulum of curriculum thinking is in the midst of swinging once again. Rather than teaching a curriculum emphasizing the disciplines of knowledge as discrete entities, educators are asked to do two things – integrate the curriculum to reflect the relatedness of the disciplines (as reflected in real-life situations) and integrate technology into the curriculum . The goal of the integrated curriculum is to produce learners who have the skills to make a difference in today’s (and tomorrow’s) complex, technological world.

Instructional Methods Addressed to the Differences in Learning Styles

Instructional planning is a complex process that requires knowledgeable and well-trained teachers. Once a decision about what is to be learned has been made, and the teacher has studied the curriculum, the teacher must make a series of instructional decisions:

        How should the learner be motivated and involved?

        How should the lesson be sequenced?

        How should the learner be involved in the lesson?

        How should feedback be given to the learner?

        How should the learner’s achievement be assessed?

These decisions are usually incorporated into daily and/or weekly instructional plans.

Teachers then must decide on the type of learning environment that might best be used to present the curriculum. They need to adapt their instructional environment using whole class instruction, small cooperative groups or an individual approach where the teacher is the facilitator, coach, or tutor. Varying the type of instructional environment helps meet the needs of the different learning styles of the students and allows the student to be an active participant in the learning process.

Educators also need to accommodate for the multiple intelligences (linguistic, logical-mathematical, intrapersonal, spatial, musical, bodily-kinesthetic, interpersonal, naturalistic, and ethical) of their students (Gardner, 1983, 1997). Additionally, instructional methods must vary:  for students who learn at different rates; for all learners labeled as disabled into the classroom; for those students labeled as gifted learners who need to be further challenged; and to involve the family and community in the learning process.

These tasks are not easy but technology can play a major role in making these things happen.

Integrating Technology into Curriculum

One way to manage the complexity of the curriculum and planning instruction for each child is through the integration of the use of technology. Today's technologies, including the use of computers, telecommunications, laserdisc and CD-ROM players and appropriate software as tools for learning, have great potential for stimulating the individual child, for establishing cooperative programs in the schools, for collaboration with schools around the world via distance learning, and/or partnerships with the home and the school to challenge students.

Today's computers are compact, efficient and relatively inexpensive to purchase.  For  as  little  as  one thousand dollars you can purchase a computer, monitor, CD-ROM player, and modem (or other on-line capabilities) with sufficient memory and disk space to run and use many programs. A laser printer is very helpful and for a reasonable amount of money can be added. Purchasing and using many currently available software programs can give students the ability to learn and grow. Best of all, the child can be an active learner. Many of today's software programs are interactive, thus the learner is no longer a passive participant but is actively engaged in the learning process.

The traditional notion of having more able students do more work or use computers to do more work faster or giving the slower child more remedial practice whether on xeroxed sheets or through practice provided by a computer program, can now be replaced with something different for every child. However, progressing beyond the basic skills to the utilization of those skills requires knowledge, practice and good models.

Imagine, an individually planned curriculum for each child without the record keeping nightmare that characterized the individualized instruction movement of the 1970's. With one or more computer(s) in the classroom the teacher can set up individual activities for particular children can use a common topic for all students and allow cooperative groups of students to work together to accomplish the report writing or data analysis in the fashion they choose to design, or can set up learning centers which allow choices of software programs appropriate to the child’s interests, learning style, and/or ability level. Or, future education may look as follows:

No More Class Periods*

James and Delores are 11th grade students at Anytown High in 2002. Schedules located in the office show that they are taking five courses: Intermediate Algebra, Chemistry, American History, English 11, and Psychology. No student in Anytown High School is required to attend school on an everyday schedule that characterized their parents schooling experiences. Students at Anytown take all of their courses through the World Wide Web. Busses run through the town four times during the day at 7:30 a.m., 12:30, 3:00 and 6:00 and pick up and deliver whoever is waiting to go to or return from the school. The busses also run on Saturdays at 7:30 and 12:30 because the school is open until 3:00.

James’s family has a home computer with access to the school’s server, so he usually goes to school to attend football, basketball, and baseball practice at 3:00 everyday. Sometimes he arrives early to meet with a tutor if he has a question that hasn’t been answered well enough by the tutors at the e-mail help desk.

Delores goes to school every afternoon because her family does not have a home computer and she has a job at a local supermarket in the mornings. At school she works at networked learning stations connected to the World Wide Web and receives instruction in a variety of formats, completes her assignments, and dialogues through e-mail with the teacher she has never met at Somewhere High School, and through Listserves with the rest of the class located at high schools throughout the state.

Each student in High School has a Zip Disk supplied by the school and a package of materials for each course that contains textbooks and lab materials. All assignments are sent using e-mail, but many students use the printers to make copies of Web searches until they have finished writing their papers for various classes.

Where are the teachers? They are in school, working with small groups and meeting with individual students. They are supervising tutors and they are developing new curricula. Often they   are  responding  to student questions via e-mail and they are grading the papers or presentations that they view or download and print from each student’s e-mail. Sometimes they will send e-mail to a group of students and ask them to attend school for a short class. Those invitations usually happen when the student work shows a deficiency.

*Adapted from: Business Week, The Future of Technology in Education: Transforming the Way We Learn, Special Advertising Section (November 15, 1993).

CHARACTERISTICS OF GOOD EDUCATIONAL SOFTWARE*

Supports and enhances curriculum objectives

Contains helpful documentation for the educator and the user

Has options for the educator and the user

Allows the student to anchor his/her learning to past experience and knowledge

Can be completed individually, in pairs, in small groups, or by whole class

Is a valuable learning experience for the user

*Adapted from Coe and O’Neill, 1995                      

The Software Selection Process

One of the keys to integrating technology into the curriculum is to select good software. Choosing and using educational software is not easy because the software choices are growing rapidly. Most important to remember is that the software should enhance the resources already on hand, make learning more active for students, and help to support the various intelligences within each learner. The following are a few simple rules to follow when reviewing software for possible use in a learning environment.

Accessing and Acquiring Information

Another key to integrating technology into the curriculum is the use of telecommunications – e-mail, the World Wide Web. Using these technologies can make accessing and acquiring information much easier than ever before. The Internet can be likened to an enormous “book of knowledge” waiting to be used in the learning process. Students can use the Internet for researching topics of study, working collaboratively with other students around the world on scientific experiments, “traveling” on virtual field trips, and participating in virtual instruction.

About the  Internet

The present Internet has been evolving since 1969. Originally the Internet was funded and run by the federal government, but in April 1995 the federal government exited and the Internet infrastructure is now commercially operated (Baran, 1995). While the full potential of the Internet has not yet been realized, the current Internet is a rich source of information and exciting communications opportunities for adults and children.

As the number of users grows and the commercial vendors increase, it is expected that the services on the Internet will expand. For example, video-conferencing is already possible and as new software for the individual user is developed, use of this feature will become more widespread.

Children are learning to use the Internet as early as pre-school in teacher-directed or monitored classes or activities (parental supervision is recommended for at home use).

To use the Internet you need a computer, a modem and telephone line (or another type of connection), and telecommunications software. Many schools started using the Internet using one computer and a modem, but many have now switched to fiber-optic cabling which allows faster access to online services. In the home, one way to access the Internet is through a local area network (LAN). Before you buy software or join an on-line consumer service, check with your school district and your local library. They may have LAN connections to the Internet and you may be able to obtain information and access from them. If you can’t connect your own computer to the Internet using access from their system, you may be able to use their connection on their computers. Look in your local newspaper for Internet providers listed in your area. The usual cost is less than twenty dollars per month, or you may be fortunate enough to live in a community with an  Free-Net (a name for a LAN) which will provide you with access and again, the local library can help you get started.

Several states have developed Internet services for K-12 educators. If you must make your own connection, it is probably wise to begin by reading one of the books mentioned in the References or to visit your local book store or library for other options. Most of the books about the Internet contain explanations of the simple computer commands you will need to know and listings of sites of information together with file search capabilities.

Computer magazines are also helpful to the novice Internet user. For about four dollars you can buy the magazine and often you will receive a free disk to try one of the on-line services. Trying out the consumer services on a free basis may help you decide which one you like, if any.

The major on-line dial-in services are constantly expanding their services and making access to the Internet and the World Wide Web easier. The most frequently used services are: America On-line, World Net Services (AT&T) and Microsoft Network.

Organization of This Book

This book is about using technology to help develop a well-educated graduate of a K-12 educational program (whether it be in a traditional school system or in the home), who has mastered the beginning levels of the content knowledge of the disciplines and is a Critical Thinker, a Creative Thinker, a Problem Solver, a Researcher, and/or a Writer. We have carefully chosen the “er” outcomes because we think that these are the outcomes that allow students to be and/or become successful. We believe that each of the “er” words needs to be modeled, developed, and practiced during the K-12 school experience because we do not think that the processes underlying these outcomes are intuitive or emerge automatically from the non-differentiated, non-active, and non-technological classrooms typical in so many school districts today.

The “er” outcomes are not designed to be taught in isolation, but as part of the total instructional process. Thus, when the learner is ready to explore a science topic, a selection of software and websites that are appropriate to the content can be selected and utilized to support the development of the “ers.” Each chapter begins with a brief description of why we think the particular proficiency is important for the learner and identifies what the learner will be able to do when proficiency has been achieved. The recommended software is listed and categorized by tradi-

 tional grade levels, discipline(s) or subject area, thinking skills required to be used (Marzano et al., 1988), and the intelligence(s) (Gardner, 1983) that are tapped. A compilation of World Wide Web Sites is listed and described, and sample activities to use the software and/or the World  Wide Web sites are designated. Space is provided for the reader to make notes, and/or add software and additional resources.

All of the software and World Wide Web examples mentioned in the chapters are annotated in a summary alphabetical listing at the back of the book. Definitions of many terms used in the text are contained in the glossary.

 

A WRITER AND MODEL FOR GIFTED GIRLS: LOUISA MAY ALCOTT

BY MICHAEL E. WALTERS

CENTER FOR THE STUDY OF THE HUMANITIES IN THE SCHOOLS

Louisa May Alcott (1832-88) is perceived by many today as primarily a writer of novels for adolescents.  What is lacking in this perception is why her books were so popular in her lifetime, and her continuous popularity in the present age. (Two of her books were recently made into movies – Little Women and Little Men.)  The reason for her popularity is that young people believe she is speaking from their point of view.  She was able to describe everyday living, and the family was the model for good living.  

Louisa May Alcott and her family liked to engage in discussions of ideas and concepts.  During her teenage period (1840's), the Boston-Concord area – where she and her family resided – was the intellectual center of the United States.  It was here that the most important educational institutions and book publishers were located, e.g., Harvard University, Houghton-Mifflin, the Atlantic Monthly, and Little-Brown and Company. Louisa’s childhood was constantly stimulated by intellectual and moral concerns. She was encouraged to think, speak her opinions, and to be taken seriously for her ideas.  The ideological current during her childhood was the transcendental philosophy of her father, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. Transcendentalism emphasized that ideas and social progress are entwined with one’s religion.

Louisa’s father, Amos Bronson Alcott, was a very unique individual who had a great influence on his daughter. Although he lacked a formal education, he became superintendent of the Concord Public Schools.  At the time he held that post, Concord was an important cultural center in the United States.  It is noteworthy that despite his lack of formal education, the professors and graduates of Harvard (e.g., Emerson, Thoreau and Longfellow) took his ideas seriously.

Her siblings (three sisters) were also an important part of her intellectual development.  They wrote constantly in their journals and described their writings and feelings to each other.  As teenagers they organized the Pickwick Club, and performed plays in the barn attached to their house.  What is so significant about the novel Little Women (1868) to educators of the gifted is that it is account of a family of gifted daughters, each seeking to find her intellectual destiny.

Louisa May Alcott’s environment was a paradigm of enrichment for gifted girls.  In her childhood and teenage periods, both Emerson and Thoreau were her personal mentors and friends.  Emerson permitted Louisa to explore his entire library, which was one of the most important at that time.  She discovered and cherished the German poet and philosopher, Goethe.  While visiting Emerson’s home, Matthew Arnold (the famous British poet and educator) encouraged her to become a writer.  

During the Civil War, Louisa spent several months as a nurse for the wounded in Washington, D.C.  Conditions were very bleak and medical organization was almost nonexistent  – yet she was able to carry out her responsibilities.  She wrote a book about these experiences called Hospital Sketches (1863).  It was well-received; she was considered a heroine by the public. After the war, she wrote Little Women at the request of the publisher, Thomas Niles.  

Louisa wrote Little Men (1872) as a sequel to Little Women.  This later book is a neglected masterpiece of educational thought.  Plumfield, the school in Little Men, was based on her father’s educational ideas.  The mission of the school was multicultural – to educate the neglected children of the affluent, and the troubled children of the Boston-Irish slums.  The goals of the school were to develop each child’s unique sensibility and creative personality. The school was holistic since it emphasized both individual development and social responsibility.  The life and works of Louisa May Alcott need to be reexamined, especially as they relate to gifted education.