Linguistic

How to Teach Your Kids to be Critical Thinkers

Posted by on Sep 26, 2011 in Blog, Interpersonal, Intrapersonal, Linguistic, Mathematical, Multiple Intelligences | 0 comments

Critical thinking is a skill that few children are inherently born with. However, it is a skill that all children should develop. Why? Well, for starters, because it will help your child better understand the world and how to succeed within it. It will help your child learn how to communicate effectively and get what they need to flourish. It will help your child know themselves better, the challenges they face and the skills at their disposal. Critical thinking is a tool that will enable them to solve problems, be creative and find more meaningful ways of living. And who doesn’t want that?! The question is how. How do we teach children to be critical thinkers? Well, this article on Edutopia has some great ideas: “Ten Takeaway Tips for Teaching Critical Thinking” that I have expanded upon to share with you here: 1. Questions, Questions, Questions “Questioning is at the heart of critical thinking, so you want to create an environment where intellectual curiosity is fostered and questions are encouraged.” This is not just about allowing our children to ask us questions but about us asking the right questions of our children. What kinds of questions? One article suggests questions that are: open-ended, with no right or wrong answer, which prompt exploration in different directions. require synthesis of information, an understanding of how pieces fit together. perpetually arguable, with themes that will recur throughout a student’s lifetime and always be relevant. This is by no means an exhaustive list but I think the point is to use the questions as starting points, as opportunities for kids to continue exploring/expanding the limits of what they know. When our children ask us a question, our answer shouldn’t be the end of the query but rather, it should provide enough information to prompt further exploration. 2. Start with a prompt and help them unpack it. “Pose a provocative question to build an argument around and help your students break it down.” There are two parts to this: (a) pose a provocative question and (b) help them break it down. First, a provocative question is not only one that makes the child stop and think (that is, it does not have a clear black and white answer)  but one that piques their curiosity (they want to know the answer). Curiosity is what inspires the pursuit for answers. Critical thinking is the process that enables us to get there. Once we’ve asked the curious question, we need to guide our children to help them understand what precisely is being asked. For instance, “are bullies mean?” The answer is not a clear yes or no.  We need to unpack the question first: what is a “bully”? Is someone always a bully? What do we mean by “mean”? Does being the one necessarily entail being the other? Are bullies born or made? Are bullies responsible for their behavior or is it a matter of the environment or circumstances in which they live? You see where I’m going with this… The point is less to arrive at a conclusive answer and more a focus on the process of thinking through the question and its implications. 3. Provide tools for entering the conversation. The article suggests providing “sentence starters and connectors” that enable children to enter a conversation. This is a way of empowering children to question other people’s thoughts and to share their own. For instance: what do you mean, can you clarify, why do you think that, I agree/disagree, etc. The purpose of this step is for children to learn how to connect their ideas to those of others and to...

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Using Bodily Intelligence to Teach Literacy

Posted by on Aug 18, 2011 in Blog, Bodily, Ideas in practice, Linguistic, Multiple Intelligences | 0 comments

Over the summer I have been working with the Diva on learning the letters of the alphabet. The way letters are typically taught is primarily through visual intelligence and musical intelligence; that is, children are taught to make associations between the way letters look and how they sound. However, bodily intelligence is equally important to this learning process and in fact, can greatly help facilitate early literacy. Here’s how this works: Connecting Sounds to Images When we pronounce a letter, we are making a sound that results from a specific and distinct act that we perform with our body. Stringing many of these sounds together, creates words and sentences. Children who are learning how to read, start by isolating the individual sounds that each letter makes from within a group of letters (i.e. a word) and pegging them to the image of a specific letter. The challenge, however, is that what we deem as an isolated sound is not necessarily intuitive just by listening. For instance, take the word elephant. When I asked the Diva to identify the first sound she heard, she said “el.” “El” is actually made up of two sounds – the e and the l sounds but to her, that combination is the first sound she hears. Therefore, in order for her to be able to separate the e and the l sounds, we focused on how they felt. Creating Sounds is a Physical Experience What makes one letter sound different from another, is the way we form it, the specific position of our mouth, tongue, teeth, lips, and throat. Therefore, to learn a letter, we must also learn to connect it with the physical experience of forming it. To return to our elephant: to say the letter E, we need to stretch our mouth and say the sound at the back of our throat. To say the letter, L we need to touch the tip of our tongue to the back of our front teeth. I had the Diva say the sound “el” again and we talked about the different motions that her body performed to make each letter. She realized that the sound “el” entailed two separate motions and that realization allowed her to separate the first sound one from the second sound. Once we isolated each sound, we then focused on forming them in different words. This helped reinforce the physical experience of forming those letters. After that, we were able to work on isolating the sounds those letters make from words she heard and finally, connecting those sounds to the images of the letters they represented. As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts. Also, if you like this post, please share it! __________________________ DID YOU KNOW: this is an excellent way to empower children and to develop their multiple intelligences (especially their linguistic and bodily-kinesthetic intelligence). About the Author: Karla Valenti blogs about parenting on Tot Thoughts, is founder and CEO of NiSoSa (developing resources to empower children through creativity), Creative Director for Rock Thoughts (a global art and collaborative storytelling initiative), and does creative writing as herself and as Nico, a fictional character and host of Nico Knows (creative writing for kids). © Tot Thoughts – smart parenting for smart child...

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36 Ways to Develop Your Child’s Linguistic Intelligence

Posted by on Jul 20, 2011 in Blog, Ideas in practice, Linguistic, Multiple Intelligences | 7 comments

36 Ways to Develop Your Child’s Linguistic Intelligence

So you want to improve your child’s Linguistic Intelligence? Well, I have 36 fun, engaging and crazy effective ways for you to do that. But first, if you don’t already know: What is Linguistic Intelligence? Linguistic intelligence is one of eight computational abilities that we all have and it pertains specifically to your ability to process information using words and language. Children who favor a Linguistic Intelligence tend to have strong verbal skills and learn well through reading and writing. The does not mean they don’t use their other eight intelligences. Nor does it mean that only kids who are very verbal use their Linguistic Intelligence. How do you develop Linguistic Intelligence? Below are 36 ways to help your child develop their Linguistic Intelligence. The activities are presented in levels of increasing complexity. These levels are in no way related to a child’s age or grade level. Rather, in light of the fact that each child has a unique intelligence profile, these activities allow children to start at whatever level they prefer and to continue feeling engaged and motivated as they advance to the more challenging levels. PS – many of these activities also help develop other intelligences (see the MI code references here). LEVEL 1 Play the “what if” game with a friend (e.g. what if you were a crocodile? What if my teacher turned into a shoe? What if my house was made of cheese?). Write and illustrate your stories. [S.I.] Share your stories with each other. What do the stories tell you about the other person? [Ia.I.] Narrate a story for someone who cannot see. How would you describe the scenes, events and characters of your story? [S.I.] What are some of your challenges in narrating this story? [Ie.I] Write words with each syllable in a different color. [S.I.] Choose an animal or object and give someone else clues to describe that animal or object until they guess what it is. [S.I.] Invent new words and give them meaning. Teach the words and meanings to someone else and use them in silly sentences. [Ia.I.] Describe an emotion to someone else. Have they ever experienced this emotion? How was it different from or similar to your experience? [Ia.I] [Ie.I] Pick three books or stories that you like and analyze the differences and similarities between them. [LM.I.] Listen to a book on tape or narrated by someone else. Illustrate the story. [S.I.] Choose an interesting work of art. Have a friend close her eyes while you describe the art in detail. [S.I.] LEVEL 2 Create new riddles and see if your friends can figure them out. Spell a word out loud. Spell it backwards. Draw an image and without showing it to someone else, give them detailed instructions as to how to draw that same image. [S.I.] What are some of your challenges in doing this? [Ie.I.] Explore the origin and meaning of words. Find different words to express the same idea. Find words that mean the opposite of the idea. Pretend to be someone else and in your pretend role, teach a friend something new. What are your challenges? [Ia.I] [Ie.I] Write a story using words written vertically. [S.I.] Choose the words that best describe you. Why are they important? Arrange them into categories. Do these categories tell you anything about yourself? [Ie.I] Read a book and reflect upon the effect that certain words have on the reader. Why did the storyteller choose those words? Could the storyteller have chosen different words? How would that have changed the story? [Ia.I.] [Ie.I.] Write a story about an inanimate object from...

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Multiple Intelligence Games

Posted by on Jun 7, 2011 in Ideas in practice, Linguistic, Mathematical, Multiple Intelligences, Naturalistic, Spatial | 0 comments

Yesterday I started a discussion multiple intelligences. My objective is to spend some time covering different techniques that we can employ as parents to help stimulate our children’s different intelligences. This brought to mind one of the first posts I wrote so I am bringing it back today as I think it is very relevant to this topic. The post is about certain games we play with our kids. What I like about these games is that not only do they provide countless hours of entertainment for relatively long periods of time but they also help develop children’s intelligence in different ways. The Animal Game The Animal Game is quite simple, it consists of thinking of an animal and then giving the other people clues to describe it. The person that guesses it right gets to go next. Our daughter’s favorite: “I am pink, I live in a farm and I go ‘oink oink.'” This isn’t rocket science but you’d be surprised how long the kids wi’ll play this game. The Animal Game can really be anything (including, the Anything Game). Some popular variations: the Food Game (a personal favorite delivered courtesy of the six-year old: “I am yellow, shaped like a square, and I live in a sandwich”) the Princess Game the Dinosaur Game the Holiday Game the Objects that Fly Game… you get the idea. This is a great exercise to help children develop their linguistic, visual, logical-mathematical and naturalist intelligences. Guess Who This is a game that involves guessing the person you are speaking about based on their relationship to other individuals. For instance: “Who is my father’s sister’s mother’s granddaughter’s granddaughter?” It can be as complicated or as simple as you need it to be (our three-year old loves this game). It is a great game to help develop linguistic, musical, and logical-mathematical intelligences. Math Games These generally involve raisins or mini chocolate chips, Legos, etc. T he purpose of these games is really to offer visuals to help explain mathematical concepts such as division, multiplication, addition, subtraction. We’ll have the kids count out a certain amount of raisins and then divide them into various piles, add or take away from the piles, etc. So, for example, with the three-year old I might have her count out ten raisins and divide them into 5 piles. When she thinks she’s finished, we’ll talk about whether the piles all look as if they have the same number of raisins, then we’ll count them to confirm. To the extent they are not the same, we’ll talk about what needs to happen for them to be even. Eventually she’ll get there and then we can talk about what division means. Or, we might just do addition: 1 raisin + 1 raisin = 2, 2+1, etc…. or subtraction, you have a pile of 5 raisins and you eat 1, how many are left? Then we verbalize 5-1 = 4. With the six-year old we do a bit more advanced work, for example, we use each raisin as a base 10 or do more complicated division/multiplication problems. This is a great game to help children develop their linguistic, logical-mathematical and visual intelligences. 20 Questions We come up with the end scenario, give them all the facts and have them ask us questions until they figure it out. This was one of my favorites: “the two opposing sides faced each other and the king gathered his knights for battle when suddenly a great big hand came down from above and picked up one of the knights, what happened?” (answer – this is...

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How Building Towers can Help your Child Improve their Math Skills

Posted by on May 31, 2011 in Ideas in practice, Linguistic, Mathematical, Multiple Intelligences, Spatial | 0 comments

How Building Towers can Help your Child Improve their Math Skills

[scroll below to see what math looks like] Last week I started a discussion on the value of using multiple intelligences to help children learn math. The challenge arose with some math problems the Negotiator was working through, specifically related to time. He’s actually quite good at math but was struggling with two particular concepts, “quarter to” and “quarter past.” The previous post compared a linguistic intelligence and a mathematical intelligence approach to learning the concept of quarters. Today’s post will integrate visual intelligence as a way of conveying the concept of passing time and using that to reinforce the mathematical construct of hours. Understanding time as a linear concept The way time is traditionally taught is with the image of the clock and the two hands spinning around in circles –> 12 numbers that are used to convey the passing of 24 hours in 5 minute increments. The same 12 numbers represent both single hours as well as batches of 5 minutes (e.g. 1 represents 1:00 as well as 5 minutes, 2 is 2:00 and 10 minutes, etc) and once the hands make it around the clock, the process simply repeats – there’s your day. We explain it this way: “when the little hand is on 1 it means 1:00, when the big hand is on 1, it means 10 minutes.” Children are asked to memorize what each number means based on whether it is a big hand or little hand number. Taught in this way, time would seem to be a one-dimensional concept entailing counting off arbitrarily named “minutes” sixty times and doing that 12 times before the whole process starts up again. At that point, the minutes that have lapsed are wiped clean and our life is reset at 12. For some kids this makes sense. However, without understanding the larger concept of incremental time, this exercise is meaningless for most of the other kids. The problem is that time is not a linear concept, it is an incremental one. Therefore, in order for children to fully grasp this notion, we need to reinforce the linguistic component by drawing on mathematical and visual intelligences. Understanding time as an incremental concept Time is incremental insofar as each minute is added onto the preceding one. When 1 hour has lapsed, it is actually the sum of 60 minutes which is in turn the sum of 60 seconds 60 times, etc. Thus, when 12 hours have lapsed, we are not back at square one. Rather, we have already accumulated 12 hours worth of minutes and seconds and are essentially 12 hours away from where we started. Visually, this looks more like a tower or a spiral than a flat round surface. Every minute that lapses is a block in that tower and the tower is on an ever-increasing rise. That means that no matter what we do, we will never get back to the base (i.e. there is no resetting of time). Now, let’s bring out the Legos. Using visual intelligence to teach time Since the Negotiator was working on the concept of quarters, we split up our hour into four blocks. Each hour represented 15 minutes and he had to build an hour by accumulating four blocks. Once he had all four blocks, he had an hour and he could begin building his next hour in 15 minute increments. It looks something like this: We started off with the empty surface being noon and built the first hour (1:00). This is important to visualize because what we are actually doing when we start an hour is building the subsequent one....

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The Animal Game and other forms of entertainment

Posted by on Jan 13, 2011 in Blog, Ideas in practice, Interpersonal, Linguistic, Mathematical, Multiple Intelligences, Naturalistic, Spatial | 2 comments

Ever on the search for ways to entertain our kids (for that is, after all, our raison d’etre), we have amassed a small repertoire of games that I thought I’d share with you all. What I like about these games is that not only can they provide entertainment for relatively long periods of time but they also help develop children’s intelligence in different ways. To be clear, I am referring to intelligence as in multiple intelligences (a theory proposed by Howard Gardner and one that I wholeheartedly support). If you are not familiar with this notion, I highly recommend you read up on it. The first and family favorite is the Animal Game (which has any number of variations, as you’ll see below). I don’t recall how or when we started this but we have been playing the Animal Game forever. We’ll play it on the way to the store, on walks, on long drives, while making dinner, over dinner, in waiting rooms, etc. The Animal Game is quite simple, it consists of thinking of an animal and then giving the other people clues to describe it. The person that guesses it right gets to go next. Our daughter’s favorite: “I am pink, I live in a farm and I go ‘oink oink.'” This isn’t rocket science but you’d be surprised how long they’ll play this game. The Animal Game can really be anything (including, the Anything Game). Some popular variations: the Food Game (a personal favorite delivered courtesy of the six-year old: “I am yellow, shaped like a square, and I live in a sandwich”), the Princess Game, the Dinosaur Game, the Holiday Game, the Objects that Fly Game… you get the idea. This is a great exercise to help children develop their verbal, visual, logical-mathematical and naturalist intelligences. Guess Who is a game that involves guessing the person you are speaking about based on their relation to other individuals. For instance: “Who is my father’s sister’s mother’s granddaughter’s granddaughter?” This can be as complicated or as simple as you need it to be (our three-year old loves this game). It is a great game to help develop verbal and logical-mathematical intelligences. We are also fond of playing Math Games with our kids. They generally involve raisins or mini chocolate chips, etc. The purpose of these games is really to offer visuals to help explain mathematical concepts such as division, multiplication, addition, subtraction. We’ll have the kids count out a certain amount of raisins and then divide them into various piles, add or take away from the piles, etc. So, for example, with the three-year old I might have her count out ten raisins and divide them into 5 piles. When she thinks she’s finished, we’ll talk about whether the piles all look as if they have the same number of raisins, then we’ll count them to confirm. To the extent they are not the same, we’ll talk about what needs to happen for them to be even. Eventually she’ll get there and then we can talk about what division means. Or, we might just do addition: 1 raisin + 1 raisin = 2, 2+1, etc…. or subtraction, you have a pile of 5 raisins and you eat 1, how many are left? Then we verbalize 5-1 = 4. With the six-year old we do a bit more advanced work, for example, we use each raisin as a base 10 or do more complicated division/multiplication problems. This is a great game to help children learn math concepts by using their verbal and visual intelligences. On the topic of math games,...

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