8 Multiple Intelligences: Finding the Giftedness in Every Child

Did you know that there are EIGHT different ways that your students can demonstrate their intelligence??  Think back to your college days and upper level education classes (That’s WAY back for me….Over a decade!) and you might remember an important educational figure named Howard Gardner.  Ring any bells?  Howard Gardner is the face behind the theory of Multiple Intelligences.

In my gifted and talented K-2nd classroom, we spend a lot of time at the beginning of the year exploring and discussing our unique multiple intelligences, and we connect them to all our class activities throughout the school year as well.  Specifically, we discuss which of the 8 intelligences are easy to “measure” with a test (or show on paper) and which ones are more difficult.
This is my bulletin board that displays our Multiple Intelligences, or “smarts” as we call them in the lower grades.
We begin by playing one of my favorite games on our Interactive Whiteboard called “The Warm Wind Blows.” Both younger and older students LOVE this game! Basically, you arrange chairs in a circle with one less chair than your number of students.  You call out a category (in this case, characteristics of a multiple intelligence), and if that category applies to you, you get up and try to move to another empty chair. If you are the one student “left” in the middle of the circle, you get to call out the next category.  This is a great way for me to get a feel for their interests in a more social setting.

Then, we follow up with a more formal Multiple Intelligences questionnaire that was designed for elementary students.  There are many versions of quizzes that are similar to this.  This one is a free download from Scholastic at the link below!


We tally up their total numbers, and finish with a personalized project that illustrates their unique strengths.  We display these in our classroom all year long!

Unfortunately, only a few of the 8 Multiple Intelligences are utilized on a daily basis in the typical elementary classroom, such as Linguistic Intelligence (Word Smart), Logical-Mathematical (Logic Smart), and Intrapersonal (Self Smart).   Specialty classes and extra times of the day such as lunch and recess are geared specifically to Kinesthetic (Body Smart), Intrapersonal (People Smart), Spatial (Art/Picture Smart) and Musical (Music Smart).  What’s hard about this concept is that many children who might be considered “gifted” in one of the eight multiple intelligences very often slip through the cracks, most likely because they aren’t given ample opportunities to manifest that intelligence. 

One of my biggest goals with my Gifted and Talented kiddos is to do everything I can to allow them to stretch their highest intelligences to their FULLEST potential, which often means that they are demonstrating learning in differing, nontraditional ways.  I also encourage them to strengthen weaker intelligences through strategic cooperative grouping and partnering.

If you are interested in purchasing my Multiple Intelligences Activities for both upper and lowergrades, please click the link below!  This package contains posters, “The Warm Wind Blows.” game, student projects, and intelligence quote posters in both upper and lower elementary versions.

I almost forgot!! I also have these AMAZING Multiple Intelligences Choice Boards from “Chalk One Up for the Teacher” that my kids refer to all the time!  Perfect for early finishers in the regular ed classroom as well.