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Motivating Readers through 21st Century Multiple Intelligences

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Keywords: Technology, Reading, English, Multiple Intelligence, Writing
Subject(s): Grammar, Writing, Reading, English/Language Arts
Grades 9 through 12
NETS-S Standard:
  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Communication and Collaboration
  • Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making
  • Technology Operations and Concepts
View Full Text of Standards
School: Princeton School, Princeton, NC
Planned By: Suzanne Sweat
Original Author: Suzanne Sweat, Princeton
After giving a learner profile questionnaire at the beginning of the year, I was shocked to discover that not a single student chose English as their favorite subject. This led to a discussion among students about why. What caused these high schoolers to lose their love of reading? The answer - they were tired of reading books that had no interest or relevance to them. And they were frustrated at having to write a book report, when that wasn’t something they would have to do in “the real world.”

I found myself in a catch-22. I want to allow students the freedom to choose literature and projects that are relevant to them, but I also have to teach my curriculum. How can I combine those needs? The answer came as I began to study and understand personalized competency-based education. I can teach students the skills they needed to understand my curriculum, but I can allow students voice and choice in what they read and how to respond to their reading. By allowing students to choose books they are interested in reading and providing options for students to show what they’ve learned in ways that not only connect with their learning styles but also provide them with technology skills they can use in the “real world,” I can motivate students to find purpose and joy in reading. The “Motivating Readers through 21st Century Multiple Intelligences” project combines student book choices with technologically-driven expression options to provide voice for student learning.

The project begins with students taking an online survey at fab.lexile.com to help guide them in book selection because many students find it overwhelming to just go to the library and pick out a book. The website asks students to identify their grade level and whether the books they read in school seem too easy, too hard, or just right. Once their lexile range has been determined, the students then choose from a list of categories, age range, and page count. Once a student’s preferences have been submitted, the website provides a list of books that the student might like. The student can then read the brief summaries of the books and decide which one they like best.

To help students determine how they might best respond to the book, the students complete a Multiple Intelligence inventory online. I have created project options for every learning style that will introduce students to a new technology tool they can use in the future and that helps them best express their learning. Students may choose the project associated with their multiple intelligences survey results, or they can create a proposal for a project they are most interested in completing. The choice is theirs. They know that whatever they choose, the project is graded on three ELA standards (theme, technology, and presentation), so the way they show mastery of the standards is up to them.

My goal is to motivate my students to read by providing them with tools they can use to find literature they love and guidance in helping them know how to best express their learning. Though the goal in the short-term is to ensure they have grasped the ELA standards at the mastery level, the long-term goal is to create lifelong readers and thinkers who can share their knowledge with 21st century tools. But helping students find books they love and learn skills they need for the future requires technology - a commodity in high demand and short supply at my school. For this project, I need at least seven chromebooks in my classroom so that students can work on the project throughout the semester. The chromebooks will become a station that students will rotate through as part of their personalized learning.

Since I have two main goals - to help students find joy in reading and to help students best express their learning, I plan to use two measuring tools: a reflection guide and a rubric.

Students will be assessed on their ability to analyze two or more themes in a text, use digital tools to produce and publish writing, and present information in an organized, well-developed way. Students will be given a rubric explaining the requirements and expectations for these three areas. The rubric was created based on proficiency scales and published by the county to explain what a student must be able to do to achieve mastery on these standards. I feel the rubric will help me to measure a student’s understanding of theme, digital tools, and presentations, and provide feedback to students in areas where goals may not yet have been achieved.

I think it’s important for me to determine if the project helped improve a student’s motivation to read, so I will also provide students with a reflection guide that asks them if they liked their book, if they will continue reading independently, what they learned from the project, what they liked, and what ideas they have to improve the project. My goal is always to ensure that I meet students’ needs while also giving them ownership in their own learning.

Since one standard this project will address is “using digital tools and resources to produce and publish writing,” I want students to see that they can show what they know in ways other than just powerpoint. Each project option will introduce students to a new digital tool and is designed to address a multiple intelligence. The online tools are also designed to provide a technology resource that students can use after the project is over. Options include the following:
(Verbal/ linguistic) - make a video using Flipgrid
(Visual/ spatial) - create a digital comic using Storyboardthat
(Mathematical/ logical) - develop data visualizations using Rawgraphs
(Musical) - record a song using Soundstation
(Kinesthetic) - act out and record a scene using Hudletechnique, then add notes and drawings to the playback
(Interpersonal) - create a blog using Blogger and respond to other students’ blogs
(Naturalist) - recreate the setting of the book using Thinglink to insert the sights and sounds of the setting.
(Intrapersonal) - develop a photo resume of a character and explain how you connect to the character using NXTFour

For each project option, students must create a product, a skill on the highest level of Bloom’s Taxonomy. Students will also have to problem solve as they determine how to best represent the themes of the text and learn a new digital tool.

Students will present their projects to a panel from the community as part of their presentation assessment. This will allow students to receive feedback on their projects and increase relationships between community members and the school. Additionally, student projects will be showcased in an online webpage so that parents can see what students have learned.

This project is my first step into personalized competency-based education. It is designed to be worked on throughout the semester, so that students can be reading or creating their projects while I meet one-on-one with students. To allow for this daily personalization, I need a set of Chromebooks that students can access in small groups each day. The Chromebooks will allow students to learn the new technology tools at their own pace instead of just checking one cart out and hoping students can finish their projects in the three days I’m allowed to have the cart. With a small set of Chromebooks permanently in my classroom, students will have voice and choice throughout the semester, and the project can continue into the future without having to spend any more money. The Chromebooks would also allow for me to personalize learning not related to the project. If I have the Chromebooks as one station in my classroom, students can use them to complete research papers, receive additional instruction and remediation through Edpuzzle, and participate in online discussions in my Google Classroom.

The project will address three NC State Standards in English Language Arts:

RL.2 Determine two or more themes of a text and analyze their development over the course of the text, including how they interact and build on one another to produce a complex account; provide an objective summary of the text.
W.4 – Use digital tools and resources to produce and publish writing and to interact and collaborate with others.
SL.4 – Present information, findings, and supporting evidence such that listeners can follow the line of reasoning and the organization, development, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

For the first standard (RL.2), students will track two or more themes throughout their book and explain how those themes interact and build on one another. They will also explain how the setting, characters, and plot elements work together to create the themes.

To address the second standard (W.4), students will choose one of the websites associated with their multiple intelligence and use the digital tool to produce and publish their findings regarding the themes of the book and the guided focus of each project option. Each of the websites also allows students to provide feedback to others, so students will be assigned to a small group to collaborate, revise, and provide feedback to each other as part of the writing process.

Once projects have been completed, students will be assessed on the third standard (SL.4) as they present their creations to their classmates, teacher, and community members.

The needs for the grant are one-time needs. We want to purchase the technology necessary to complete this project each semester for years to come. Therefore, the project should be able to continue after the grant money has been used.

I want my students to find a passion for reading and be prepared to succeed in a world filled with technology. This project will provide students with guidance to find relevant books and access to new technology tools they can use to express their ideas in high school and beyond.
These computers would be used for this project as well as daily classroom activities that would allow me to personalize learning for my students.
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
In the future, students could choose books related to a specific subject area to learn more about that content.
Students will reflect on their likes/ dislikes of their chosen book, and determine what type of book to read next. We want to build a culture of readers
Materials: Mobile Labs, Computer Accessories
Other Items: 7 2018 Aces CB3-532 15.6” Chromebook, $199.88 each, total of $1399.16