Category Archives: Common Core and MI

This thread discusses how Common Core standards and MI go together.

Hands-On Learning beyond Elementary School

From Branton Shearer, MIDAS Blog,  April 8, 2019

I want to share this interesting article from the ASCD Update newsletter with you because it nicely illustrates how to engage the kinesthetic intelligence to enhance learning in an important academic skill.

by Rachael Priore

Some people wonder how MI can be applied beyond elementary school when learning becomes more academic and textbook based. This is especially so for students in English Language Arts (ELA) who struggle to maintain attention, engagement and retention of material.

“Hands-on, movement-based learning represents a shift in the traditional style of learning in an ELA classroom, but from my experience, it is a shift that benefits all learners – not just those who struggle… weave multimodal learning into the instructional methods of your classroom.”

Priore offers several practical tips for activating more than the linguistic intelligence in the ELA classroom:

  • Activate Prior Knowledge (4 Corners Activity, Find Somebody Who…)
  • Model Content and Skills
  • Moving and Reviewing (Centers, Gallery walks)
  • Beyond Written Assessments (Conferencing, Socratic seminars, Peer Teaching)

Activating the kinesthetic intelligence in middle and high school classes may sound intimidating at first but a little at first can mean a lot to students. As you see students’ engagement increase you can be more daring in your use of movement to connect your content with the power of kinesthetic learning.

ASCD Education Update December, 2018 .


Academic Testing: What good does it do?

Three articles in Education Week, Washington Post and Educational Researcher recently caught my attention regarding  academic testing and the “accountability movement.”  It seems odd to me that we are still arguing about the effectiveness of high-stakes testing after two decades of testing has had ZERO positive impact on schools. Very odd, indeed. When will we learn?  Maybe that’s the question that should be on THE TEST for any politician running for office.


The Testing Charade: Pretending to Make Schools Better. by Daniel Koretz

“Because many people have been pretending that test-based accountability has been working as promised. Faced with pressure to raise scores, many educators cut corners, and one result was badly inflated score gains. Some cheated, but much of the fake improvement has been produced by bad test prep that isn’t considered cheating. … So time after time, we have had proclamations of success, but it’s often a sham.”

“Policymakers have ignored the fact that tests capture only some of what we want students to accomplish and even less of what we want schools to do… Inflated scores don’t provide a trustworthy indicator of what students actually learn.”

Read it here:

Buy the book here:


Does test Preparation Mean Low-Quality Instruction? by David Blazar and Cynthia Pollard

“…efforts to improve standards and tests were insufficient conditions for increasing teaching quality.  … improving teaching and learning required coherence among the tests and several other policy instruments, including curricula and opportunities for high-quality professional development…

“…positioning testing and new assessments as the primary solution to instructional ills may distract from more comprehensive efforts to elevate teaching in U.S. classrooms.”

Read it Here:


We Made This Too Hard   by Jenny Froehle

“The idea that learning should be designed with a clear goal was, and still is, a good one… but basing lessons on lists of knowledge and skills, then measuring those skills to death for 13 years in discrete pieces that never seem to thread back together into any recognizable meaningful whole? That idea backfired on us.”

“As educators, we know it is past time for us to free learning from this constraining cocoon of regulatory nonsense. The world is complex; problems do not come packaged simply. Only practice with complexity can provide the experience our children need to survive in the unpredictable world ahead … ”

Read it:   We Made This Too Hard, by Jenny Froehle, Nov. 29, 2017


Music to Promote Learning

MI-Inspired Teaching – One Song at a Time

By Cathy Robinson in     ASCD’s Education Update, Nov. 2016, | Volume 58 | Number 11


“Incorporating educational music into classroom instruction is certainly not new, but I somehow forgot about this simple and effective strategy….Too often, I have asked my students to sit in their seats quietly while my voice dominates instruction.  I am thrilled to have rediscovered a strategy that I can share with other teachers who find it equally effective.”


Read Cathy’s full brief article here:




Good stuff!









An excellent presentation at the IMBES conference highlighted the importance of engaging Intrapersonal intelligence by having students do Self Explanations of their work. I have witnessed the value of Self Explanations during the RADAR project at St. Patrick’s Elementary. To learn more…

Eliciting self-explanations improves understanding. Cognitive Science, Volume 18, Issue 3, Pages 439-477   M Chi, N De Leeuw, M Chiu, C Lavanche


Learning involves the integration of new information into existing knowledge. Generating explanations to oneself (self-explaining) facilitates that integration process. Previously, self-explanation has been shown to improve the acquisition of problem-solving skills when studying worked-out examples. This study extends that finding, showing that self-explanation can also be facilitative when it is explicitly promoted, in the context of learning declarative knowledge from an expository text. Without any extensive training, 14 eighth-grade students were merely asked to self-explain after reading each line of a passage on the human circulatory system. Ten students in the control group read the same text twice, but were not prompted to self-explain. All of the students were tested for their circulatory system knowledge before and after reading the text. The prompted group had a greater gain from the pretest to the posttest. Moreover, prompted students who generated a large number of self-explanations (the high explainers) learned with greater understanding than low explainers. Understanding was assessed by answering very complex questions and inducing the function of a component when it was only implicitly stated. Understanding was further captured by a mental model analysis of the self-explanation protocols. High explainers all achieved the correct mental model of the circulatory system, whereas many of the unprompted students as well as the low explainers did not. Three processing characteristics of self-explaining are considered as reasons for the gains in deeper understanding.




Engaged1 Engagement2

I was struck by these headlines from two very different contexts: the world of work and the realm of school. What is curious is that this word – engagement – is also a key term in neuroscience. For the brain to do its job properly (efficiently and at a high quality) engagement is required. How people become engaged in a task is murky. It is difficult to answer the question, What is the best way to engage each person’s brain??

“For some of us, the key to a more fulfilling work life is finding a job that matches our strengths or a career that makes it easy for us to do what we do best.  By spending more of our time doing what we’re good at, we’re going to be happier and feel more balanced.”

Cindy Krischer Goodman, Miami Herald.

“Academic success and engagement are not mutually exclusive,” argued DC Public Schools chancellor Kaya Henderson. … It is becoming clearer that engagement is the lens through which students see school, and is therefore their window toward hope for their futures. “…students who strongly agreed that their school is committed to building students’ strengths and that they have a teacher who makes them excited about the future are almost 30 times as likely to be engaged learners as their peers who strongly disagreed with both statements.”

Education UPDATE from ASCD. August, 2016












Hope for MI in America’s Schools? What goes around, comes around…

ESSA_PICIt is a cliche that schools are influenced by a cycling and recycling of ideas often called the latest fad in education.

I was encouraged this week to learn that ESSA – the new American education law – that replaced NCLB includes language that opens the door beyond academic testing to include “multiple measures of student learning and progress, along with other indicators of student success…” Education Week notes that sprinkled throughout the law are references to an instructional strategy that has enormous potential for reaching learners with diverse needs. In particular, the strategy called Universal Design for Learning (UDL) “…encourages students to use a variety of techniques, such as group projects, multimedia presentations, drawings, or music” for literacy and other academic subjects.

Read more about ESSA –

edWk_EssaEducation Week, Feb. 24, 2016

ESSA Spotlights Strategy to Reach Diverse Learners


ASCD Calls for Moratorium on High-Stakes Testing

test_moratorium America’s focus on standardized test results for high-stakes decision-making “…has lead to several consequences, including overtesting, a narrowing of the curriculum, and a de-emphasis on untested subjects and concepts – such as the arts, civics, and social and emotional skills  — that are just as important to our students’ development and success.”

To learn more, go to:

ASCD is an international association of educators and administrators dedicated to the improvement of schooling for all children.

Quoted fromASCD’s EDUCATION UPDATE April, 2015

Poor Kids Struggle in School

 Poor_ChildrenI’ll bet you already knew this, right?

Ever since I was in elementary school I have realized that my classmates who came from “poor” families struggled in the classroom. The kids with shabby shirts, stained skirts, worn out sneakers and (horrors!) last year’s fashions were the ones who were in the lower ranked classrooms. Yes, we were all sorted into classrooms of “high achievers” and on down the GPA rankings (grade point average). Is this still true today? If so, why? And what can be done?

New research today strongly associates poverty with impaired brain development that in turn results in cognitive delays and low academic success… Researchers write in a new issue of JAMA Pediatrics  “…children living 1.5 times below the federal poverty level had smaller volumes of several brain regions critical for cognitive and academic performance (gray matter, frontal and temporal lobes, and the hippocampus).”

So what can be done?  This study does a fine job of documenting the brain development consequences for something that confirms common sense obeservations but stops short at describing the problems without addressing the “so what?” question. What are parents and schools supposed to do?? More homework? More tests? Harder tests?  More tutoring?

What is missing from this not-so-new information that poverty produces negative consequences is that these kids also have strengths that often go unrecognized and unappreciated in the school environment. Their weaknesses may be in reading and math but if we get stuck there then we will ignore their cognitive strengths and they will be further marginalized. This is where we need a Multiple Intelligences perspective to help us see beyond the weaknesses in order to activate strengths in the service of maximizing whole child development. Yes, we need to look beyond the 3 Rs – ‘readin’, ‘ritin’ and ‘rithematic – in order to tackle this problem in a strengths-based way.

If we simply hammer at students’ problems with more of the same-old-same-old then we’ll drive them even further off the map and into the margins of both school and society.

This is where the the MIDAS™ assessment is important for both parents and teachers. Parents need to supplement the child’s schooling with an enriched range of fun learning activities in the child’s “real life.”  Where to start? Is the question asked first by many parents who are feeling overwhelmed. A MIDAS Profile provides parents with a “map” that can focus your attention on fun activities that will also enhance your child’s thinking skills.

To Learn more, I recommend my book ONE FAMILY. You can also find FREE tips on my website:



Hair  NL. Hanson  JL, Wolfe  BL, Pollak  SD.  Association of child poverty, brain development, and academic achievement [published online July 20, 2015]. JAMA Pediatr. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2015.1475.

Low grades for Common Core tests

PARCCA survey conducted by the Ohio Senate Advisory Committee on Testing of educators and school administrators who have been involved in the roll out of PARCC and AIR tests found great dissatisfaction. What is noteworthy is that this negative finding wasn’t just for a vocal minority of Common Core opponents, but instead is widespread at all levels. The negativity rating was 100 – 1 among teachers. Out of 353 school superintendents only one “strongly agreed” that the new tests went well, while 108 “strongly disagreed.” School principals were more moderate in their appraisals, but still a majority gave the tests a negative rating for both time and quality.

 Are these simply growing pains as the Core testing launches or does it represent a systemtic and long lasting opinion?  These results make me wonder how the Common Core tests are being evaluated in other states? Is Ohio unique or typical?

Lastly, if these very negative reviews remain widespread and robust, will the government listen? Or will they make the same mistake as they did with NCLB and shove the testing cart ahead of the horse up a very steep hill?

I guess only time will tell, but the current negativity is noteworthy for depth as well as breadth.

Read the full results here:



What’s Wrong with This Picture?

OvertestedNate Beeler really hit the nail on the head with this cartoon.  It seems to me that advocates for an MI inspired school, instruction and curriculum have failed to offer a visible and coherent and DOABLE alternative to mass academic skills testing that will include the MI philosophy. Politicians have a compulsive need to measure “school quality”. This might be a neurotic need, but billions of dollars have been wasted in pouring water down this hole in the ocean of ignorance. If MI is to “scale up” to public school dimensions then we need to create a portfolio approach that allows schools to be compared along several meaningful dimensions, e.g., how about the 8 intelligences?   Such a portfolio could include scaled down standardized tests of reading and math but also put value on the arts and other academic and technical subjects.

The Columbus Dispatch, April, 2015