Multiple Intelligence: Johnny Tremain

TITLE:  Multiple Intelligence (Circular Curriculum) for any short story

**note:  This learning experience is specifically about the novel Johnny Tremain. This activity is designed during the reading of the novel.  Students must know something about multiple intelligences, including their own.


MATERIALS/TIME REQUIRED:  poster paper; at least one class period of 90 minutes

PROVIDE FOR INCLUSION – A You Question, Energizer, or Linking Strategy:  Ask students to share (in partners, groups, or full group) what they like about the novel so far.  Ask students to share what they think will happen before the story ends.


Content Standard:  Any reading comprehension or literary analysis

Collaborative:  Reflect on experience, think constructively

Personal:  Develop personal strengths, explore challenges

IDENTIFY THE STRATEGY:  Circular Curriculum (from the Artistry for Learning)

While reading the story, invite students, working in tribes or individually, to make a poster that employs some or all of the “multiple ways of knowing”.  These examples are NOT how the concept is taught, they are demonstrations of learning, on the students’ part.

At first, this is best done in small groups, where students collectively produce a poster that represents all intelligences.  Require that students work on at least three different intelligences; they may work in pairs within the group.  Be sure to have students sign their names to the appropriate parts (intelligences) represented on the poster.  After students have success both with the group effort, and with exploring and developing multiple intelligences, use the circular curriculum for individual works (utilizing three or more intelligences).

Here is an example of demonstrations of understanding, based on the multiple intelligences (also the student handout).  The italicized words are elements of Bloom’s Taxonomy. There are many more ideas in your Tribes book; look up “multiple intelligences in the index for the page numbers.

Read the assigned section and, as a group, divide the following requirements:

Linguistic – Choose six good vocabulary-building words.  Write the sentence from the story and the definition for each word.

Logical – Choose two characters from your section.  Make a Venn Diagram of character attributes (at least five each).

Musical – Choose a “theme” song and write the lyrics (you can use a song already published, or make up your own), or write a poem about a character or an event in your reading section.

Visual – Design a picture, logo, cartoon, or collage for the section and write 6 sentences explaining what you have created.  (If you design a cartoon, your 6 sentences can be included in the dialog bubbles.)

Kinesthetic – Pantomime an event from the reading section, or use sign language to “tell” about an event from the reading section.

Interpersonal – Present a complete and detailed oral summary of your section.

Intrapersonal – Write a diary entry one of the characters in your reading section might have written (at least 5 sentences).

  • As a group, all requirements must be on the finished poster.
  • Individually, you must participate in at least three of the requirements.
  • You will have an hour of class time to read and begin work.
  • The finished poster is due on (choose a date 1-2 days from now); you will have 20 minutes of work time at the beginning of class on the due date.

Each requirement is worth 10 points.

The complete poster is worth 5 points.

Your grade is based on 35 potential points.

If you choose to do more than three requirements, how nice of you! (There is no extra credit…)


Content:  How did you choose your “intelligence” entries…based on your strengths, or based on your challenges?  How was this demonstration of understanding more or less demanding than the traditional or usual summary or book report?

Collaborative:  What did you enjoy about being able to work with someone else on any part of this project?  How did you handle any disagreement?

Personal:  Why is it important to recognize multiple intelligences?  How can this influence you…in anything in life?

PROVIDE AN OPPORTUNITY FOR APPRECIATION:  If the final result is a group poster, then use the strategy “Gallery Walk” and invite statements of appreciation.

AUTHENTIC ASSESSMENT:  Have students develop a rubric (they will need some experience here) and grade their own work (really helps if they view each others work first).  Eventually, students can actually make up the specific “intelligence” suggestions and develop their own responses.  (I actually got to the point where I could say “Give me three examples, using three different multiple intelligences, that demonstrates your knowledge of_____.”)


►Group Development Process (Influence – meaningful participation)

Cognitive Theory

►Multiple Intelligences

Cooperative Learning


►Reflective Practice

►Authentic Assessment