Multiple Intelligences in the Classroom

I know how much you are struggling with knowing how to scaffold and tailor a class to the children you are teaching. You care about them so much. Let’s talk. I have time and am ready to be your ear as you navigate this.

  I am not going to lie and tell you it’s a quick easy fix. Or that it will come quick and natural to you. It will take practice. But really, it does not have to take a lot of time.

For this, I want you to sit with the information. Let it simmer. AND THEN decide how to apply it to what you already know. Let this just be a guide throughout the rest of the blog posts you read. 

Recognize it for what it is. An overarching theory and method of approach. It’s not a to-do list.

Here is a link to a video that will take you through this blog post

Take a moment and go back in time… VISUALIZATION

Take a deep breath out and slow a deep breath in. Let it out slowly as you imagine yourself sitting in a brown hardback chair pushed up close to the desk in front of you. This desk is a school desk. You are in the 6th grade, at the ripe age of 12 years old. Your teacher comes up to you and asks a question. One that you have never been asked before.

“How do you want to learn today’s subject of animal kingdoms?”

  1.  Read a book and write about what you learned. Afterward, study the Latin roots?
  2.  Look at 1 animal from each animal kingdom. Compare and contrast information.  Use a spreadsheet software and create a spreadsheet outlining all of the data you learned.
  3.  Play charades pretending to be various animals. Afterward, play a Wii game that uses your whole body to categorize the various animals.
  4.  Go to the zoo, take photographs featuring each characteristic of the animals?
  5.  Look through a magazine and cut out the animals, placing them in the right categories? And then on a map plot out where the animals live?
  6.  Make a team project about one of the animal kingdoms, listen to each teams presentation, and then tutor another person from a different team on your animal kingdom? 
  7.  Compose a melody of each of the animal kingdoms including various topics and facts about the different animal kingdoms?
  8.  Be given a specific debatable topic about an animal kingdom. Then relate the content to your own personal life. Defend your position and respond to the various ethical dilemmas surrounding your topic?


Take a look at what number you chose above, and match it to the number below. 

1 Verbal/linguistic
2 Logical/mathematical
3 Bodily/Kinesthetic
4 Naturalist
5 Visual/Spatial
6 Interpersonal
7 Musical/Rhythmic
8 Intrapersonal

We each have various intelligences. We are not labeled as one or another.

We also all have various intelligences that we use depending on the circumstance in front of us. This is not boxing anyone into one category or another.

Instead, this can be used to find the most effective way for you to take in information and recall it later. It is a great way to help you study, and ENJOY learning! Could you imagine going to school each day and LOVING learning?

  It is often true, that students like variety in the method of learning. But it is not always true that students like a variety of approaches to learning.

Learn about the difference between method and approach


Changing the Method meanings changing the way in which you teach within one intelligence:

Verbal/Linguistic varieties: read a book, poem or short story, Share your ideas, have a debate, give a speech, compare and contrast information, make a journal, write a book report, learn a second language, learn vocabulary words, study etymology.


Changing the Approaches means to change the intelligences

Day 1 teach Verbal/Linguistically. 

Day 2 teach using musical/rhythmical

Day 3 teach in a naturalist manner


I have found one of the most challenging things a struggling learner will face is that the approach is always changing. One day they are singing the facts and the next day they are supposed to recite them.

How frustrating if they are visual learners and now they are faced with having to auditorily learn something and then prove they know it through logic and reasoning.

 Likewise, the same struggling student then is given 15 worksheets of logical reasoning to learn a math problem, and though one day they can show “mastery” in the vocabulary for question and answer, they never did learn the meaning of the word for any functional use.


Let’s talk about what this looks like in the classroom.

Intelligence List

In other words, the students are

What it looks like in a student learning What it may look like when the student is trying to show what they know
Verbal/Linguistic In other words, the students are

Word smart

What it looks like in a student learning

  • Learns to read, write, and speak easily
  • Communicates effectively with the teacher
  • Has a good vocabulary
  • Spells easily
  • Grammar comes easily
  • Reads frequently by choice
  • Likes to tell stories
  • Makes jokes with words
  • The Socratic method works really well
  • May talk or make comments under their breath or to other students
  • May not seem like they are listening as they are not looking at the speaker or screen
  • Reads under the desk while the teacher is talking
What it may look like when the student is trying to show what they know

  1. Does well in presentations
  2. Can read a story to you
  3. Have discussions or debates around the topic
  4. Explain a concept, play teacher
Bodily and Kinesthetic In other words, the students are

Body smart

What it looks like in a student learning

  • Has good motor skills
  • Good body language
  • Uses gestures and facial expressions to communicate well
  • Learns with hands-on activities
  • Moves their body to learn vocabulary and content
  • Coordinated
  • Can act out and role play easily
  • Depicts concepts from movement including sign language
  • Using manipulatives and props help
  • Put together a puzzle or other piece-to-parts project
  • Project-based learning works very well
  • Visiting the real place helps
  • Science experiments work well
  • Move around (jumping, skipping, walking, moving while learning information. For example walk and read)
  • Doesn’t sit still very long
  • Fidgets what may seem “mindlessly” even if the item they are fidgeting with might break
  • Chews on their pens and pencils
  • Picks at their erasers and other items scratch their desk while sitting
What it may look like when the student is trying to show what they know

  1. Create a play
  2. Take things apart and put them back together
  3. Build models or dioramas
  4. Play charades for vocabulary
  5. Move while reciting information
  6. Dissect a plant and tell you the vocabulary words while doing the project (opposed to just identifying the pieces. They need to see the process to remember where it is to know what the answer is)
  7. Stretch and do yoga while giving you the answers
Logical and


In other words, the students are

Math and Logic smart

What it looks like in a student learning

  • Patterns to information are easy to discover
  • Algorithms and equations come easily
  • Thinks very analytically and clearly
  • Sequential in their talking
  • Loves logic and reasoning
  • Good at math
  • Remembers events and is good at time oriented things
  • Uses symbols to remember other information
  • Often needs higher level thinking to be involved in order for it to be interesting to them
  • Use numbers
  • Use calculators and rulers
  • Use spreadsheet software
  • Write an equation
  • Becomes restless if the information has already been explained or is mostly explained and they know the outcome
  • Says “I know” a lot (even if they don’t) and try to finish the assignment on their own
  • Has a hard time listening to all directions
What it may look like when the student is trying to show what they know

  1. Analyze data
  2. Apply information
  3. Brainstorming
  4. Classify and categorize
  5. Compare and contrast
  6. Decipher codes
  7. Discover pattern and trends
  8. Evaluate ideas
  9. Outline material
  10. Make inferences and predictions
  11. Sequence events
  12. Use graphic organizers
  13. Use numbers
Naturalist In other words, the students are

Nature smart

What it looks like in a student learning

  • Can easily categorize natural items
  • Good at astronomy, biology, meteorology
  • Good with animals, fish, and wildlife
  • Good with non-natural items such as cars, machines, airplanes, fixing toasters etc.
  • Do best when information is related to the real world
  • Very aware of their natural surroundings
  • Good observational skills
  • Garden for fun
  • Tries to take the information you give them and is motivated to figure out how to apply to the real world
  • Asks the question of how or why a lot
  • Seems spacy and disconnected
  • Explores and is constantly curious
  • Doesn’t seem to listen
  • Has to touch everything
  • Takes things apart and tries to put them back together
What it may look like when the student is trying to show what they know

  • Record changes in development
  • Great at record keeping
  • Pays attention to detail such as color, size, form, actions, and reactions
  • Great at taxonomy
  • Sorts and categorizes non-natural items easily
  • Good with photography
  • Collects specimens or “treasures”
  • Remembers videos
  • Observes wildlife and natural life
Visual and Spatial In other words, the students are

Art and Space smart

What it looks like in a student learning

  • Often thinks in pictures and images
  • Uses a lot of detail to explain themselves
  • Learns through visuals
  • Likes to draw and create
  • Focus’ on details that may seem unnecessary but are important to them
  • Uses imagination
  • Visual aids are helpful
  • Guided meditations and imagery
  • Spends a lot of time thinking prior to doing
  • Likes to watch movies
  • May “draw out” several versions before settling on an idea
  • Plans to plan their plan 😉 In other words, they like to see the outcome in full prior to doing it
  • Draws constantly while the teacher is talking
  • Fidgets or folds the corners of their books while listening
  • Doesn’t always have great eye contact in a classroom.
  • Has to touch everything
What it may look like when the student is trying to show what they know

  • Art projects
  • Craft projects
  • Watch a video and report on it
  • Sketch what they remember
  • Compare and contrast
  • Tell a story
  • Create a brochure, logo, design of clothing etc
  • Paint, sculpt, draw, posters, visual aide etc
  • Take photographs
  • Use paint or drawing software
  • Imagine or pretend the end to a story
  • Mind maps
  • Build a 3D image
  • Make a chart or route
  • Estimate the size or distance
  • Play with puzzles or mazes
  • Use page layout software
  • Graphic organizers
Interpersonal In other words, the students are

People smart

What it looks like in a student learning

  • Make and maintain friendships easily
  • Sensitive to feelings and moods of others
  • Good mediators
  • Learn best when interacting with other people
  • Respect others easily
  • Resolve conflicts easily
  • Learn best when working with others on projects
  • Do well in debates
  • Succeed at team games
  • Does well when interviewing others
  • Can tutor and teach the material well
  • Good at role-playing
  • Can plan events
  • Writes collaborative papers
  • May talk a lot in class
  • Seems distracted by other conversations
What it may look like when the student is trying to show what they know

  • Plan a pretend event
  • Write a collaborative paper
  • Do a team building activity
  • Have a debate defending a topic
  • Conduct an interview
  • Have a team presentation
  • Paraphrase an author
  • Teach a topic to the class
Musical and Rhythmic In other words, the students are

Music smart

What it looks like in a student learning

  • Hums, sings, or whistles a lot
  • Can always relate the information
  • Can change the word to a song quickly
  • Makes jokes using lyrics
  • Can easily tell you the first sound or last sound in words
  • Does well breaking words into syllables
  • Good sense of rhythm and timing
  • Once they learn to read they have a good reading voice
  • Listens to music while studying
  • Can read and write music easily
  • Remembers information when putting it to song
  • Often learns best with music in the background
  • Sensitive to pitch, timbre, timing, tone, and rhythm
  • Does not struggle with tonal languages
What it may look like when the student is trying to show what they know

  • Compose a melody with the information needed
  • Change the words to a song to fit the information needed
  • Clap out the vocabulary words
  • Categorize words by different pitches (high, funny voice, low etc)
  • Separate information into categories based on how many syllables there are
  • Assign an instrument to represent various meanings. For example, the trumpet represents the word loud, the violin represents the word high, the drum represents the word low.
Intrapersonal In other words, the students are


What it looks like in a student learning

  • Prioritizes homework well
  • Sets goals and is always working towards the next goal
  • Keeps daily logs
  • Observes mood changes
  • Reflects on learning
  • Relates content easily to their own life
  • Thinks about thinking
  • Works independently
  • Writes about wants and needs
  • Writes autobiographies and personal poetry
What it may look like when the student is trying to show what they know

  • Defend a position
  • Express likes and dislikes
  • Respond to hypothetical dilemmas
  • Write an ethical code
  • Develop a pretend country


Within this blog post, I have given multiple examples of how to teach in various intelligences.


  • I have used COLOR CODED EACH SECTION OF THIS POST. This helps the visual learner know I am transitioning from one topic to another. I have also tried to stay consistent in the color coding to reference previous sections more easily.
  • I have changed the font to show the importance of various parts of the post
  • I have used charts to break up information to make it easier to compare and contrast
  • Using bullet point in one section versus numbers in another help to break up the information (even though we are taught in school to be consistent *wink*


  • In the video, I show exactly how to apply certain aspects of information it in a manner that the learner can copy what I am doing at the moment. 


  • I have done my best to sequence the material in a very methodical way. To begin with, deciding what you are, apply it to yourself, seeing how it works in the real world, and then imagining their own students.
  • Using charts and outlines to allow for inferences, categorizing and analyzing of information


  • In the video, I use my classroom that I teach in. We go through actual problems and situations that I come a crossed daily. Problem solves, and if the student chooses can do the problem with me at that moment.


  • I have written out all of the information that I am trying to convey. As avid readers, I am hopeful that this blog post is helpful to verbal and linguistic learners.
  • A lot of comparing and contrasting is used throughout the post

**I purposely put the headings: In other words, the students are, What it looks like in a student learning, What it may look like when the student is trying to show what they know as a header in each column, because unless a person is logic and math or word smart, it is difficult to keep the headings in memory as you read through the list. By adding the headings all the way down, it makes the information easier to RECEIVE. That is the main goal as a teacher, to have the student RECEIVE and RETAIN the information. Even if it is more work for the teacher 🙂  


  • Identify 2-4 of the students learning intelligences. This will give you variety and various approaches depending on what topic you are teaching. To always teach in song and music to learn English would not be super effective. Unless the child wants to only use English to sing.
  • As you approach each topic, make a list of ways you can teach that unit. How can you connect with your student in the learning intelligence that is most interesting and easy for them to RETAIN information?
  • Identify your student tends to express themselves best using a different intelligence than how they learn. If they do, it may benefit you to teach using one method, and do assessments, projects, and reports using another intelligence.

Watch it here. How do you apply this in the classroom?



2 thoughts on “Multiple Intelligences in the Classroom

  1. Pingback: Your Classroom Set-Up Matters – Mom by Day Teacher by Night

  2. Pingback: Don’t waste your students’ time – Mom by Day Teacher by Night

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