Mimi and the Grands

Educating Through Multiple Intelligences

Books About Butterflies: Lesson Plans for Ages 3-7

Our local botanical garden has a butterfly pavilion that opens in early May. In anticipation of a field trip with my grandsons to this event, I planned a unit of study on butterflies.

After ordering several books from the local library, I created some lesson plans that I will share with you in this post.  As always, I planned a variety of lessons in each intelligence to have differentiated activities for each grandson: Tigger (7), Kona (5), and Tahoe (who just turned 4 in the middle of this unit). I have more time with Tahoe, since his brothers go to a charter school, so he did more activities than his brothers in this unit. I had planned to spend three weeks on this unit of study, but it has been two months and we are still in the middle of this study unit because there were so many activities that I wanted to complete with them (and the books were so good, too). When using a study unit, I want the grands to complete at least one activity for each intelligence.

I hope you are finding these Multiple Intelligence activities useful as you plan lessons for children in your care. If you would like to see more of these unit studies as I create them, you can become a follower of this blog.

Linguistic Intelligence (Word Smart)

Read and discuss books- I read and discussed at least one of these books to the grands each day during the study unit. The first few times I read the books to the grands, our discussion centered on vocabulary. After those initial discussions, I  had specific reading skills I used as a focus for each book, depending on my grandsons’ individual needs. These are the books I borrowed from the library and the skills I chose for further discussion:

TravelingButterfliesTraveling Butterflies by Susumu Shingu is a great introductory book to explain the life cycle and migration of monarch butterflies. Besides the simple explanations in the book, the illustrations are gorgeous. This was an especially good book for Tahoe.

Discussion Focus: Sequencing-This was the main book I used to explain the sequence of events in the life cycle of butterflies. All the grands could tell me the sequence of events after reading this book to them several times.


Summer BirdsSummer Birds: The Butterflies of Maria Merian by Margarita Engle tells the story of a seventeenth century girl who became a famous scientist, artist, and explorer. The book explains how by careful observation, Maria Merian discovered that metamorphosis was a natural process, and that insects did not spring forth “spontaneously” from mud.

Discussion Focus: Fact and Fiction-Because this book explains how Maria Merian used observation to uncover the natural process of metamorphosis, it is a good book to use to explain the difference between facts (which can be proved somehow) and fiction (which is an imagined creation).

Butterfly ParkButterfly Park by Elly MacKay is a beautiful story of a little girl who moves to a new town and brings a community together as they revitalize a butterfly park. The paper-cut illustrations are remarkable in this book!

Discussion Focus: Identifying Main Ideas Themes: Children need lots and lots of examples of the thinking process involved in identifying the main idea of a story (what the story is mostly about) and theme (the underlying message). This is a good book to use as you model how you use details in the story to uncover both the main idea and the theme. 


Elmer and the ButterlyElmer and Butterfly by David McKee is a cute fictional story of an elephant and a butterfly who help each other out of dangerous situations. This is a great book for preschoolers, including Tahoe, aged 4.

Discussion Focus: Story Elements-I used this book to practice identifying main characters, setting, problem, and solution with the grands. For Tahoe, (4), I modeled my thought process in identifying these story elements. Kona and Tahoe were able to identify the story elements with just a little discussion reminding them how to find the problem and solution.


Butterfly CountingButterfly Counting by Jerry Pallotta and Shennen Bersani  is not only a counting book (using numbers 0 to 25), but it includes information on a variety of butterflies and offers the word “butterfly” in different languages. The illustrations in this book are absolutely magnificent as well.

Discussion Focus: Finding details-With this book, I would have the grands discuss at least one detail they had learned about the butterfly on each page. The older grands were also asked afterwards if they could remember any of the foreign language words for “butterfly” from the book. (Tigger loved the word German word for butterfly: schmetterling.)


Butterflies and MothsWhat’s the Difference? Butterflies and Moths by Lisa M. Herrington is a terrific non-fiction book for the early grades that explains the differences between moths and butterflies.

Discussion Focus: Glossary and Sight Words-Since Tigger (7) has pretty much mastered sight words, we discussed how to use the glossary at the back of the book. We looked in the glossary to see if the words he didn’t understand could be found there. I had Kona (5) pick a a page and tell me all the sight words he knew (he knows about 50 now). For Tahoe (4) I showed him the word “butterfly” when we came across it in the book. 


Inside ButterfliesInside Butterflies by Hazel Davies is a book that I should just buy for the grands because there is so much information in it. This book includes information on butterfly senses, the life cycle, eating habits, defense systems, camouflage, silk, migration and several other topics. Each page unfolds with more beautiful photographs, illustrations, and facts. There is also a table of contents and glossary in this book. 

Discussion Focus: Table of Contents-There is a lot to read in this book, so I had Kona and Tigger use the Table of Contents to pick a topic to read and we just focused on that page each day.

Logical/Mathematical Intelligence (Number/Reasoning Smart)

  • I used the Butterfly Counting book with Tahoe to practice his counting up to 25. (He is getting pretty good at counting objects up to 30 at the moment.) With Kona, he chose two pages and I had him add the numbers of butterflies on those pages. This way, if he needed “counters” to do the addition, he could count all the butterflies on the two pages.
  • Create math problems with butterfly themes such as: Three Monarch butterflies landed on the milkweed plants in the backyard. Each butterfly laid five eggs. How many eggs in all were placed on the milkweed plants by the butterflies?

 Musical Intelligence (Music Smart)

  • “The Butterfly Cycle” song: I taught Tahoe this song about  butterflies:

“The Butterfly Cycle” sung to “The Farmer in the Dell”

The butterfly cycle, the butterfly cycle,

1-2-3-4, the butterfly cycle.

First there is an egg, first there is an egg,

1-2-3-4, first there is an egg.

Then a caterpillar, then a caterpillar,

1-2-3-4, then a caterpillar.

It makes a chrysalis, it makes a chrysalis

1-2-3-4, it makes a chrysalis.

Last a butterfly, last a butterfly,

1,2,3,4, last a butterfly.

The butterfly lays eggs, the butterfly lays eggs,

The cycle starts over again, the butterfly lays eggs.

The butterfly cycle, the butterfly cycle,

1-2-3-4, the butterfly cycle.

Other songs: The older grands enjoyed the rap song “Butterfly, Butterfly” which I found online from Harry Kindergarten Music.

Classical Music: These pieces are inspired by the butterfly: Moritz Rosenthal – Papillons and  Edvard Grieg – Schmetterling, Op. 43/1. I played these pieces for the grands as they worked on their art projects.

Naturalist Intelligence (Nature Smart)

  • I purchased a kit to so the grands could watch real caterpillars eat and grow, form a chrysalis, and transform into butterflies. We are still in the middle of this project, and the grands are so excited to check the cup where the caterpillars are growing throughout the day. Their caterpillars are nearing the pupa stage, where they will each become wrapped into a chrysalis. Update: All five caterpillars formed a chrysalis and 7 days later we had five butterflies. The grands are enjoying them for a few more days before we release them in the backyard where their mom has planted some milkweed and cosmos for these butterflies and their potential offspring.
  • Walk around your neighborhood and see if you can find butterflies. 
  • To encourage butterflies in your backyard, add plants to your garden that attract the local butterflies. I am going to have the grands plant some varieties for the Painted Ladies butterfly which are the type of butterfly that will emerge from the caterpillars I purchased in the kit.
  • Visit butterfly pavilions in your area. Often they are offered seasonally at local botanical gardens, zoos, and natural history museums. Our local botanical garden offers a butterfly pavilion from mid-May through mid-August. This is the field trip that we have yet to do, but will be the culminating activity of this study unit.

Spatial Intelligence (Picture Smart)

Craft projects: The grands love to do art projects, so I always have lots of activities in this intelligence.

Butterfly Eggs on a Leaf: 

Tahoe completed two of these projects. For the first one, I drew a leaf on some green construction paper for Tahoe. He cut it out himself. Then I had him make small balls from PlayDough to represent the eggs that will eventually hatch and become the butterfly.

For the second leaf and egg activity, I cut out a leaf pattern from white construction paper and had Tahoe use his green dot paints. When those were dry, he glued pom poms onto the painted leaf to represent the eggs.


I helped Tahoe make a caterpillar out of an 8 ” length of ribbon, a milk bottle cap, strips of construction paper, googly eyes, glue, tape, and a permanent marker. Glue was not strong enough to keep the milk bottle cap on the ribbon, so I used tape. Tahoe used glue for all the googly eyes and construction paper.


Since my grands love to use the circle punches I own, I use them in a lot of my craft projects. To make the butterfly, I drew the outline of a butterfly on a piece of manila construction paper. Then Tahoe was able to punch out his own circles from several different colors of construction paper and glue them inside the butterfly outline.



Videos: I also showed short videos to the grands regarding the life cycle of the butterfly.

Interpersonal Intelligence (People Smart)

  • Circle Storytelling: After the grands understand the life cycle of the butterfly, have them take turns explaining it in a story. This can be done as circle time, or around a meal. Start the story with, “One day I found some small eggs on the milkweed plants in the backyard.” Then have each child take their turn to add to the story.
  • Dramatic play: The grands often use the topics we have been discussing in their “pretend” play, or dramatic play. One day I saw two of the grands playing together and using their toy cars and pretending that they were caterpillars and  butterflies. Just watching them play together like this can tell me a lot about their understanding of this study unit.

Bodily-kinesthetic Intelligence (Body Smart)

I had the grands use their bodies to show me each stage of the butterfly. Here are some of the ways they demonstrated the life cycle of the butterfly: 

Fingerplays with songs: I also found several fingerplays and songs (incorporating the music intelligence with the bodily-kinesthetic intelligence) at this website that I use frequently to get ideas: 


Exercises: I also found this idea online which uses a variety of physical exercises to demonstrate the life cycle of the butterfly:


 Intrapersonal Intelligence (Self Smart)

  • Discuss individually with each grand: What is your favorite part of the butterfly’s life cycle? Show (from our library books) or tell me which butterfly you like the best?
  • I leave the library books in a convenient place for the grandsons so they can browse or read them on their own.



I hope the children in your care enjoy these activities as much as my grandsons did. 


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Elf on the Shelf Book Study-Ages 3-5 Years

My daughter and son-in-law have been doing The Elf on the Shelf tradition for several years with their three boys, and my older grandsons named their elf Graham Cracker. So my youngest grandson,  3 1/2 years, is already familiar with looking for the elf’s location each morning. However, this Christmas he is ready to understand more fully The Elf on the Shelf story.

That is why I created this Multiple Intelligence Book Study just for my youngest grandson, Tahoe. I have read the book aloud to him several times, and additionally planned at least one activity for him in each intelligence. I thought I would share this with others to show how I turned this book study into an enriching educational experience for Tahoe. I used at least one activity for each intelligence, but often we did more than one.

1202150823-1~2Linguistic Intelligence/Word Smart

  • I read the book, The Elf on the Shelf by Carol V. Aebersold and Chanda A. Bell, aloud to Tahoe each day of the study unit.
  • In subsequent readings, I focused on the letter “L” which was one of the letters I am currently teaching Tahoe. I gave him a letter “L” from one of his puzzles, and he easily found two letter Ls in the title of the book.
  • Since this is a rhyming book, I pointed out the rhyming words as we read the book.

Musical Intelligence/Music Smart

  • I found a video online of musical selections from Elf, the Musical, and showed them to Tahoe. 
  • I played a recording of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” which has a similar theme to The Elf on the Shelf and we sang it together.

Interpersonal Intelligence/People Smart

  • Elf-Friendly Wassail: I love to cook with the grands, so Tahoe and I made a simple recipe of wassail for our elf. This recipe made enough for Tahoe and me to have some too. Here is the recipe we followed: Put 2 cups apple cider, 1 cup orange juice, a stick of cinnamon and a pinch of ground cloves in a pot and stir. With adult supervision, let the mixture simmer on the stove for 20-45 minutes. Let it cool a bit so the elf doesn’t burn his tongue. Great for a cold winter night! (For older children, this could be a mathematical and linguistic activity too.)
  • Dramatic Play: With another person, I had Tahoe reenact some of the pages in the story. (For example, Tahoe would be the elf, and I would be the child looking for the elf in the house.) 
  • Hide and Seek: This is similar to the dramatic play activity, however, in this game, Tahoe got to choose where to hide, and didn’t have to rely on the book for ideas. This game could be played with his brothers and parents as well. Whoever was the elf got to wear an “elf cap” my daughter had at the house.


 Spatial Intelligence/Picture Smart

  • Play Dough Mat-I created a Play Dough mat by drawing the elf on white paper, adding a title, and slipping the paper into a plastic sheet protector. I thought Tahoe could use the Play Dough to create a place for the elf to hide. However, Tahoe decided he wanted to dress up the elf instead of creating a hiding place for him.  I also had him make “snakes” of Play Dough to fill in the letters “e-l-f” on the mat. 


  • I used geometric shapes to design an “elf” for Tahoe to put together. He cut out most of the shapes, drew a face on the elf, and glued all the parts together. 

Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence/Body Smart

  • I found motions for “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” on the Internet which I used to teach Tahoe some cute moves to use as we sang the song together, but you could also create your own moves to teach the children in your care.
  • We danced to the music in Elf, the Musical.

Logical/mathematical Intelligence/Number Smart

We discussed which number was "more" and he circled that number.

We discussed which number was “more” and he circled that number.

I had Tahoe glue paper circles to each elf cap to match the number I had written under each hat.

I had Tahoe glue paper circles to each elf cap to match the number I had written under each hat.

  • I had Tahoe count the elves on each page of the book. 
  • As we worked on the art activity (see Spatial section), I had him identify the shapes we were using to make the elf.
  • Using an “elf cap” cut-out, I had Tahoe glue paper “pom poms” to each hat to match the number I had written under them. Then we discussed which cap had more “pom poms” and he circled that number.



Intrapersonal Intelligence/Self Smart

  • After Tahoe found the elf one day, I had him tell the elf his wishes.
  • I gave Tahoe the opportunity to “read” the book to himself.1202151012a-1~2

Naturalist Intelligence/Nature Smart

  • Neighborhood Walk-We took a walk in our neighborhood and looked for good places for the elf to hide in order to watch Tahoe and his brothers at play outdoors (such as inside the slide at the local playground).


I hope you are finding these Multiple Intelligence activities useful as you plan lessons for children in your care. If you would like to see more of these unit studies as I create them, you can become a follower of this blog.


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Kid Craft Challenge #2-Craft Stick Scarecrow

As part of the Kid Craft Challenge #2, sponsored by The Resourceful Mama, I planned a scarecrow project for my five year old and seven year old grandsons using some craft sticks and leftover ribbon (from a Halloween project).

This is how one of the finished projects looked:



Materials Needed:

6 craft sticks

Glue (I used wood glue and glue sticks)

Leftover ribbon (fabric would work too)

Circle from construction paper

Crayons or markers

Wiggly eyes

Yellow yarn



 Take the glue and six craft sticks and make the outline of a scarecrow. (I made the outline with one of the craft sticks lower than the legs in case we wanted to stick the scarecrow into the ground.) Glue the craft sticks into place and allow to dry for about 30 minutes.




Make the scarecrow’s face out of the circles of construction paper. One grandson chose to follow the sample I made and used the yarn, wiggly eyes, ribbon, and red crayon to make the face, while the older grandson preferred to draw most of the scarecrow’s (multiple) faces.

Glue the face to the top of the scarecrow outline. Finish the scarecrow by gluing ribbon (or fabric) to the craft stick outline to make clothing for the body, arms, and legs.

Finished Scarecrows

Here are my two grandsons’ finished projects. (As you can see, one of the grandsons put heads on all the legs and arms. He told me he was making a “zombie” scarecrow.) I’m thinking both scarecrows would look cute stuck in ceramic pots with fall foliage.

I hope to contribute other crafts to the Kid Craft Challenge in the coming months.






Kid Craft Challenge #1-Paper Plate Spider Web

As part of the Kid Craft Challenge #1, sponsored by The Resourceful Mama, I used a paper plate to make a spider web craft that would be both a spatial and a bodily-kinesthetic activity for my three year old grandson, Tahoe. Since we sang “The Eensy, Weensy Spider” as we crafted, which is using a musical intelligence, I believe I can safely say that my grandson used three multiple intelligences in making this project. (I always try to consider Multiple Intelligences when I plan learning projects for my grandsons.)

Because Tahoe is 3 years old, I had to do some of the prep work. My older grandsons (ages 5 and 7) could probably do most of this themselves.

This is how the finished project looked, (although without the baseball clip that was used to hang the project in Tahoe’s bedroom):

Spider web craft 1


So here are the steps to make this craft project:

Materials Needed:

1 black paper plate (or have the child paint a paper plate with black paint)

Yellow (or light colored) yarn

Tape (like duct tape)

Wiggly eyes

Glue stick

Hole Punch

Circle Punch (optional)



First I cut out a circle in the center of a paper plate. I saved the circle that was cut out from the middle for later.


Using a hole punch, I punched holes around the plate. Later I had to punch more holes, so it is best to have double the amount of punched holes than what is pictured below.


From the middle circle that I saved, I cut out four long strips and used a circle punch to get a smaller circle that would become the spider’s body. (You could trace a small circle from the bottom of a cup and cut it out with scissors instead of using a circle punch.) I also cut three long pieces of yarn and wrapped some duct tape around the ends to make the yarn easier to thread through the holes I had punched in the paper plate.


To make the spider’s web I had Tahoe thread the yarn into the punched holes. He secured the ends of the yarn to the back of the plate with small pieces of duct tape.


To make the spider, I had my grandson crisscross and duct tape the four strips of paper plate to the back of the small black circle. Then he glued some wiggly eyes onto the spider. Lastly, he taped the spider to the yarn (or web) with the duct tape.



My grandson loved this project so much that I had to hang it on the wall in his bedroom right away, rather than place it on the refrigerator which is where his newly crafted projects are usually displayed. He was so proud of it!

I hope to contribute other crafts to the Kid Craft Challenge in the coming months.






B is for Bethlehem – Book Study

During the Christmas season, I wanted to plan lessons using a book that would not only tell the story of the birth of Jesus, but also teach academic skills. I found such a book in B is for Bethlehem by Isabel Wilner. With beautiful illustrations and rhymes, the author gives the reader some very important details about the events surrounding His birth.

B is for Bethlehem_I created this plan as an eight day study unit. I read the book aloud to my grandsons each day, and chose one other activity from the plan, making sure by the end of the study unit my grandsons has done one activity from each intelligence.  Additionally I planned differentiated lessons based on each grandchild’s needs:

Tigger (6) would be able to read many of the words, recognize the rhymes, and would benefit from the higher level vocabulary used in the story. My goal for Tigger would be increased comprehension of the events that led up to the birth of Jesus.

Kona (4) already recognizes all the alphabet and most alphabet sounds. His literacy lessons would focus on discussing the rhyming words and being able to explain at least four details from the book.

Tahoe (2) is still learning his letters, so I would focus on the letters B (Bethlehem) and J (Jesus). He should also be able to tell me the names of the main characters when I point to their pictures.

Linguistic Intelligence/Word Smart

  • Read the book aloud to the grands each day of the study unit.
  • In subsequent readings, discuss the alphabet letters, letter sounds, familiar words, new vocabulary, characters, setting, and main events of the book depending on the readiness and literacy goals of each child (grandsons, in my case).
  • Each page has two rhyming words, so discuss and/or write down some of these rhyming pairs. Kona and I discussed the words that rhymed on each page. For Tigger I copied a few rhyming pairs on paper, and had him match them up afterwards.
  • I made picture cards of the main characters, scenes, and events from the story. I had the older grands use them to make a story map of the book.
Picture cards can be used for so many different activities. They can be used with non readers as well as emergent readers. In this picture I've shown how I helped Kona create a story map of the book.

Picture cards can be used for so many different activities. They can be used with non readers as well as emergent readers. In this picture I’ve shown how I helped Kona create a story map of the book.

Musical Intelligence/Music Smart

  • Play a recording or sing songs such as “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” “O Come All Ye Faithful,” “The First Noel,” “What Child Is This?,” “Angels We Have Heard on High,” and/or “Away in the Manger.” You can find recordings or videos for most of these songs on the Internet.
  • Play a recording of “Not That Far from Bethlehem” by Point of Grace. If you don’t have a recording already, you can find videos on the Internet for this  song.

Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence/Body Smart

  • Create actions for “Away in a Manger” or use ones found at this website:          http://christmas.lovetoknow.com/Christmas_Songs_for_Preschool
  • Visit a Living Nativity. The one we attend each year at a local church has attendees walk to ten different scenes that explain the events of the birth of Jesus. 
  • Scavenger Hunt-Take a walk in your neighborhood for Christmas displays that show events or characters from the book. Make a list with words or use picture cards of items or characters that you would like the child(ren) to find. Ideas for this Scavenger Hunt include: baby Jesus, Mary, Joseph, manger, Christmas star, shepherds, angels, and wise men. (You could also use this list if you go to a Living Nativity.)

Interpersonal Intelligence/People Smart

  • Use dramatic play to enact a journey to Bethlehem using robes, sheets, or pillowcases to improvise costumes. A baby doll can be the baby Jesus. (Use the manger idea under “Naturalist Intelligence” to make the crib for the baby.)
  • Guessing Game: Have one person call out a letter of the alphabet, and another person name something from the Christmas story that starts with that letter. (You can decide whether it has to be the exact same word from the book or if other responses are allowed. For example, the book has “A is for Augustus,” but if my grandsons answered “Angels” I would consider that a correct answer.)

 Spatial Intelligence/Picture Smart

Tahoe was eager to use his pattern blocks on pre-made mats to make Nativity scenes.

Tahoe was eager to use his pattern blocks on pre-made mats to make Nativity scenes.

  • I gave the grands some pattern blocks to make pictures of Nativity scenes. I used the Nativity pattern block mats I found on this wonderful website: http://thisreadingmama.com/nativity-pattern-block-mats/
  • The Letter “J” project-It just so happened that “J” was our alphabet letter of the week, so we created a picture of the baby Jesus laying in a manger made by the hook of the “J”.
  • Christmas Star project-The book has such gorgeous illustrations and I wanted the older grandsons to notice them. Since the Christmas star appeared on many pages of the book, I designed a project for Kona and Tigger that would look similar to the one in the book.

Logical/mathematical Intelligence/Number Smart

  • I had Tahoe count the images on each page. For example, he counted all the people in the “C is for Crowds” page and the angels on the “H is for Heavenly Host” page. 
  • Using a “child friendly” nativity set as manipulatives, I created story problems for Kona and Tahoe such as, “If two shepherds and three wise men came to see the baby Jesus, how many people visited Him in all?”

Naturalist Intelligence/Nature Smart

  • Find natural items, such as twigs or straw, to make a manger.
  • Gaze at the night sky to find the brightest star you can see. Do you think any of them are bright enough to be the Christmas star? (If you want to go into depth on this topic, there are many articles on the Internet that speculate about the origins of the Christmas star.)

 Intrapersonal Intelligence/Self Smart

  • Let each child engage with a “toddler friendly” nativity set. If you listen to the child while he/she plays, you can get a good sense of their understanding of the events regarding the birth of Jesus. (I loved watching one of my older grandsons play with the set. He was very concerned that the baby Jesus have enough food. Bless. The youngest grand, Tahoe, focused on playing the music that went with the manger. Obviously he is learning a lot using his musical intelligence.)

    Kona enjoyed playing with the nativity set by himself.

    Kona enjoyed playing with the nativity set by himself.

  • Ask each child their favorite letter, picture, or event from the story.
  • Allow each child an opportunity to look at the book by themselves.
Kona loved the illustrations.

Kona loved the illustrations.

 While this book was first written for second graders, and my grandsons are all younger than that, they got a lot out of this book study. This is a book I can use for many years with them and change my literacy goals for them as they mature.

I hope you are finding these Multiple Intelligence activities useful as you plan lessons for children in your care. If you would like to see more of these unit studies as I create them, you can become a follower of this blog.


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T is for Turkey – Book Study Unit


This week I planned a multiple intelligence study unit for the book, T is for Turkey by Tanya Lee Stone. Not only is this a fun alphabet book with adorable pictures, it contains lots of good information about the Thanksgiving holiday. (I learned some new information too.)

As I planned this study unit, I kept the needs of my grandsons in mind.

  • Tigger, 6, already had some knowledge of Thanksgiving, so I wanted to build on this. He would most likely be able to read or decode several words on each page, so I would probably have him read several of the pages with me on the second or third read throughs. Tigger would also benefit from recognizing rhyming words in the story. Additionally, I wanted him to memorize the date in the story.
  • Kona, 4, knows short vowels and most consonants, so I would focus on having him repeat initial sounds of the keyword on each page. He’s at an age when he should be learning some basic facts about Thanksgiving. Since he loves cooking and dramatic play, I definitely wanted to include those type of activities. Crafts should be designed that would develop his fine motor skills.
  • Tahoe, 2,  will really enjoy the pictures in the book, so I’ll spend a lot of time discussing what he sees in the pictures. He will probably enjoy dramatic play and other physical activities. His crafts will focus on shapes and gluing.

I always over plan, and I may list more than one activity for each intelligence so I have choices. If you use this study unit, it is best to do at least one activity from each intelligence, but don’t feel that you need to use every activity I described. This was planned as a four day unit. Each day I read the book to them and provided two other activities from this list.

Linguistic Intelligence (Word Smart)

  • Read the book T is for Thanksgiving daily..
  • Discuss the rhyming words on each page.
  • Discuss the sound each alphabet letter makes at the beginning of the keyword on each page.
  • Make a list of foods served at the first Thanksgiving as shown in the pictures or mentioned in the story.

Logical/Mathematical Intelligence (Number Smart)

  • Have two youngest grands count the number of letters in the alphabet as you turn each page.
  • Create math problems based on the story or pictures. For example, “If two Wampanoags and three colonists sit at the same table, how many people will that be?”
  • Have oldest grand  write or trace the year 1620 on some paper or on a rock in the yard. Teach him how to pronounce this year.
  •  Show oldest grand  how to subtract 1620 from the current year.


Spatial Intelligence (Picture Smart)

  • Find Cape Cod on a map or globe. You can also trace the voyage on a globe starting at England, sailing across the Atlantic Ocean, and ending at Massachusetts.
  • Make a poster of foods eaten at the first Thanksgiving by drawing pictures or cutting them out of magazines.
  • Turkey Crafts-I planned two different crafts for the grands:

The first craft was chosen for Tigger and Kona.  For the body and wattle of the turkey I had them fold different size (and color) pieces of construction paper and drew a “half heart” along the fold for them to cut. They also used scraps of construction paper for the head, eyes, beak, legs, and feet. These were all glued to a larger piece of construction paper. The feathers were created the day before using paper towels, markers, and small drops of water from an eye dropper or straw.(Ooooh, Science!) To make each feather, they drew a dark line with a marker on a piece of paper towel. I actually had the grands draw over the line three times with the marker to make sure there was plenty of of ink on the paper towel. Then I had them carefully place small drops of water from a straw all along the line. (An eye dropper would be easier, but we didn’t have one. To use the straw method, I added 1/4 inch of water to a cup. For each drop, one of the grands dipped the straw into the cup to capture some water. He placed a finger on top of the straw before lifting the straw out of the cup to keep the liquid inside the straw. Next he put the straw on the marker line and lifted his finger from the top of the straw to release the water. We practiced this first before using the straw method on the marker lines. Make sure to stay on the line when releasing the water, otherwise you won’t get the desired effect. Repeat this method until water is placed all along the line.) The “capillary” action of the water on the paper towel will spread the ink to make a “feathery” look. I let the paper towels dry thoroughly before cutting them into feather shapes and having the grands glue them on the turkey picture. (See pictures below for more clarification.)

The second craft had less steps and was planned for Tahoe. I cut construction paper circles for the body and head of the turkey. I also cut out eyes, a beak, and legs from scrap paper. He glued these onto another piece of construction paper. Then I used some leaf foam stickers we already had around the house to become the “feathers” for the turkey. I had to begin peeling the paper on the back for him, and he peeled the rest. Then I showed him the spot to place the leaf on the turkey. (See the last picture below for Tahoe’s finished product.)


 Musical Intelligence (Music Smart)

  • Play Aaron Copland’s “Appalachian Spring” while doing craft activities or when reading the book aloud.
  • Transform “Old McDonald Had a Farm” into “Plymouth Pilgrims Had a Feast” and add verses to go along with information from the book such as…

“Plymouth Pilgrims had a feast,


and at this feast they ate some corn,


with a kernel here, and a kernel there,

kernel here, kernel there, lots of kernels everywhere,

Plymouth Pilgrims had a feast,



Interpersonal Intelligence (People Smart)

  • Guessing Game- After reading the book several times, have the youngest grand say an alphabet letter and have the older grands say the keyword from the story to match the letter.
  • Cooking- We made a corn pudding recipe I found online. I adjusted the directions slightly by having the grands add all ingredients except the butter in a mixing bowl (so they didn’t have to work with a hot buttered casserole dish). I also had them add two eggs, which other reviewers of the recipe had recommended. After they mixed all the other ingredients, I poured the concoction into the hot buttered casserole dish, stirred again, and placed the dish in the oven. Tahoe set the timer for 30 minutes, but I kept the pudding in the oven about ten more minutes because it didn’t look done after 30 minutes. The two youngest grands had this for their mid-morning snack when it came out of the oven. Here is the link for the recipe:


Naturalist Intelligence (Nature Smart)

  • Visit a farm stand or actual farm to see what foods are being harvested at this time of year.
  • Plant seeds for beans, squash, or any vegetable that will grow this time of year in your geographic location.
  • Walk around the neighborhood or park. Notice the rocks that you see  on your walk. Do you think any if them are large enough to be Plymouth Rock? If you see a special rock, give it a name.

Intrapersonal Intelligence (Self Smart)

  • Ask each grand to name their favorite page in the story.
  • Ask each grand what they are thankful for at this time of the year.
  • Give each grand the opportunity to explore this book or other Thanksgiving themed books by themselves.


Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence (Body Smart)

  • Dramatic Play-Reenact the first Thanksgiving meal. Don’t forget to use the phrase “Good Morrow ” as you greet each other.  
  • Gathering Logs-Place several packaged paper towel rolls at one end of a room or hallway. Have a grand start at the other end of the room or hallway and run to collect one log. Then return to the starting line to stack the “log”. Repeat back and forth until all the “logs” have been collected. (Sorry the pictures below are blurry, but my camera is not very good at focusing on running toddlers). 

This post has been featured at the following link party:






I hope you are finding these Multiple Intelligence activities useful as you plan lessons for children in your care. If you would like to see more of these unit studies as I create them, you can become a follower of this blog.


I love to add my blog posts to link parties such as:




Teaching Short Vowels-The M. I. Way (Conclusion)

In the first part of this series, I gave lesson ideas for teaching short vowels to my grandsons using Linguistic, Spatial, and Interpersonal strategies. In this post, I will explain my lesson plans for the other five intelligences: Bodily-kinesthetic, Naturalist, Logical/mathematical, Intrapersonal, and Musical.

As a reminder, I planned the units of study with an eye to modifying the various activities according to the readiness of each grandson:

  • Six year old Tigger had learned the short vowels in kindergarten, but I wanted to give him a good review before he started first grade in September. With Tigger, I would concentrate on short vowel sounds that were found in the middle of words (medial sounds) and review blending them with initial and ending consonants.
  • Kona, 4, already recognized all the uppercase and lowercase alphabet letters and had started to pick up quite a few consonant sounds. I decided he might be ready to learn about short vowels at the beginning of words. Possibly I will try medial short vowel sounds, blending sounds, and word families later on in the year.
  • Tahoe, 2, would not be ready to learn short vowel sounds, but I knew I could modify the lessons so his main focus would be on letter recognition and vocabulary development in the lessons.

I highly recommend using at least one activity from each intelligence, but don’t feel like you need to do all of the activities I’ve listed. I always over plan so I have list of choices, and then decide which activities best fit the needs of my grandsons. I taught the short vowel unit of study over a six week time period, but I am still doing a few activities each week with them as a review.

Bodily-Kinesthetic (Body Smart)

My grandsons are very bodily-kinesthetic so I like to have many of these activities planned for them.

Driving to the Vowel Sound(Tigger and Kona) I used the picture cards I created from magazines and old workbooks that Tigger had completed. Then I taped a different short vowel letter to the top of the boys’ toy cars. The idea is to have the grands “drive” their short vowel “car” to the pictures that begin with the short vowel sound.


I utilized the grands' love of toy cars to make this matching game.

I utilized the grands’ love of toy cars to make this matching game.

I taped the vowel letters on the grands' toy cars.

I taped the vowel letters on the grands’ toy cars.

Kona easily matched the "toy cars" with the picture cards I made.

Kona easily matched the “toy cars” with the picture cards I made.

Pantomimes- (All the grands) Pantomime is basically telling a story through movement. To help my grandsons learn how to pantomime, I usually did these with the boys. As they became more confident, the older ones attempted their own pantomime:

  • short a: eating an apple, moving like an alligator
  • short e: hatching from an egg, walking like an elephant
  • short i: moving like an inchworm
  • short o: putting shoes on an octopus,
  • short u: swimming under water, tossing something up in the air

For more movement ideas, look at these links:



Find the Treasure- (All the grands)-This activity combines bodily-kinesthetic and spatial intelligences. I had a new building set for the grands, but instead of just giving this gift to them, I used it as a way to review the short vowels. I divided the set into five parts,  placed each set of  pieces in a baggie, and then hid them. Next I made a treasure map (spatial intelligence) using short vowels in the “clues” and the grands had to run around the house and backyard (bodily-kinesthetic) to find their “treasure”. Tigger had to read the words with short vowels on the map and I helped with the words he didn’t yet know. Kona had to tell me which short vowel sound he heard, and Tahoe guessed the name of the letter. Here are some ideas for clues that contain short vowel sounds:

  • under the table
  • on the bed
  • up the playset ladder
  • on the desk
  • where eggs are kept
  • next to the apple tree
  • in the toybox

The inspiration for this activity I found at this link:


Hiding Short Vowels(Tigger and Kona) I use the picture cards I made from magazines and old workbooks for many activities, including this one. I gave each grandson a card for each short vowel and asked them to hide them and remember where they place them. They could be hidden anywhere in the house. When that was completed, each grandson was given a letter (written on an upcycled bottle cap). They were told to find the picture that started with the short vowel sound made by the letter they were given. Since these boys are very competitive, they raced through the house to find their hidden card. I repeated this with each short vowel sound until all the picture cards were found. It was a good workout for them, and they wanted to play the game again.

Bath time Short vowels- (All the grands)- I have not done this idea yet, but when I do, I will use short vowel letters (or words with short vowels in the medial position for Tigger) instead of sight words. Basically you put the letter of each vowel sound on circles made from craft foam. Each child has a net and as you call our the vowel sound, the child has to scoop up the correct foam piece. Here is where I found this idea:


Relay Race-(Tigger and Kona) Again I will use the picture cards I created and the bottle caps with vowel letters written on them. To play, I will put two picture cards for each vowel at one end of the yard. At the other end I will give each grandson one bottle cap with a vowel letter they have to match with a picture card. They will race to the end of the yard to find the correct card and return to me. Then I will give them the second vowel letter to find and they will again race to retrieve the correct picture. I will do this until all the pictures have been matched correctly.

  Naturalist intelligence (Nature Smart)

Field trips(All the grands)-This is a great time of year to visit apple orchards and practice the short vowel sounds. We recently went to a local apple orchard that also is attached to a Nature Conservancy wilderness area. All the grandsons had a blast collecting sticks and acorns to make the letters of the short vowels. We discussed the vowel sounds as we explored the area including: apple trees, red ants, sticks, pumpkins, insects, etc. Field trips to zoos, beaches, botanical gardens, and parks are wonderful places to explore living things with short vowel sounds in their names.

Nature Letters (All the grands) Even in their backyard or local park, the grands love to make the letters of the short vowels out of leaves, twigs, in sand, dirt, mud, gravel, or any other items they find in the natural environment. Here are some ideas from another website:


Scavenger Hunt-(All the grands) I made a list of plants, animals, and other items that could be found in the grands’ backyard or neighborhood for each short vowel. I gave the grands some picture cards to help them with a few ideas, but sometimes you come across other words to discuss during the hunt. Included in my list were words that started with the short vowel sound, or words with the short vowel sound in the medial position. Here are some ideas I  had of living things to look for in our local environment:  liquid amber tree, bird egg, cat, dog, twig, ants, apple tree, sun, walnut tree, lizard, mud, sand, insects, bugs, rocks, elm tree, evergreen tree, animals, apple tree, under rocks, and olive tree.

Kona explores words that begin with the short a sound with an outdoor scavenger hunt. Pictures help him in his search.

Kona explores words that begin with the short a sound with an outdoor scavenger hunt. Pictures help him in his search.


Logical/Mathematical Intelligence (Number/Reasoning Smart)

Counting activities:

There are so many ideas for counting, but here are a few:

  • seeds in apples
  • number of apples in a bag or on a tree
  • eggs left in egg carton before and after making scrambled eggs
  • legs on insects
  • sides on an octagon or arms on octopus
  • spokes on an umbrella 
  • number of ingredients in a favorite recipe


Since “inches” starts with a short vowel sound, use an inch ruler or measuring tape to measure other items with short vowels including: apples, eggs, stop signs (which are octagons), umbrellas, etc. Here is a neat idea about making playdough inchworms to measure:


Egg carton math:  (All the grands) There are lots of ways a simple egg carton can be used for math activities. Here is one that my grandsons have done. Using an empty egg carton, I created an addition activity for Tigger and Kona. I used two different colors of any small item (buttons, pom poms, plant gems, etc.) and placed some of each color in the separate egg carton areas.  Then they counted all the items to see how many items were in the egg carton altogether. Since Kona and Tigger can write their numbers, I also had them write their answers on paper. (Instead of addition problems for Tahoe, he counted the items in the egg carton.) Besides doing the math activity, discuss the short vowel sounds found in egg carton, buttons, pom poms, and plant gems.

I found some more fun math activities using egg cartons here:


Octagon Search- (All the grands)-Although all the grands have seen octagons many times, I gave them a picture of one and had them find octagons around the house or neighborhood (for example a “Stop” sign is an octagon).

Intrapersonal Intelligence (Self Smart)

Independent reading- (All the grands)-Besides the books I get from the library each week specifically for the vowel sound we are studying, there are plenty of books already in the boys’ library that they can enjoy whenever they want. Their parents have made sure they have plenty of picture dictionary books, which Tahoe especially enjoys at his age. He loves to point to the pictures and say the words he knows. The other boys enjoy retelling the story by looking at the pictures, and Tigger likes to find the words he knows (which are usually words with short vowels in the medial position).
Exploration Bins-(All the grands) Using a box or plastic bin, place items that begin with the short vowel sound inside and cover with rice, beans, or macaroni. For example, place plastic eggs, small toy elephant figures, and little Elmo dolls in a bin for the “e” short vowel. The child uses their hands to find the items in the bin. Afterwards, discuss with the child each item and the connection to the short vowel. Ask them which one was their favorite and why they chose that item. For more information on this idea, check out this website:


Short Vowel App-(Tigger and Kona) I downloaded this new app from one of my favorite websites and introduced it to Tigger. He enjoyed it and can use it by himself now. I will be using this with Kona also.


Musical Intelligence (Music Smart)

 Finger plays and songs-(All the grands) Wow! There are so many resources to locate songs and finger plays. If you just type in the words “short vowel songs” into a search engine, there will be dozens of songs and fingerplays from which to choose. I have found other songs by typing in the short vowel word (such as “apple”, “octopus” or “umbrella”) when I want to find a song about a particular word. Here are the ones I found recently:

short a: http://www.kididdles.com/lyrics/johnny-appleseed.html  or http://www.alphabet-soup.net/dir2/applesong.html

short e: http://www.canteach.ca/elementary/songspoems99.html

short i: http://ccplonline.org/kids/songs4tots/insectsallaround.html

short o: http://www.dltk-teach.com/alphabuddies/songs/o/orangeoctopus.htm

short u: http://www.letsplaykidsmusic.com/the-umbrella-song-rainy-day-songs/

Create your own fingerplays -(All the grands) Just take a familiar fingerplay song and use short vowel words in place of the other nouns. When the grands were babies, I would sing this song to them although I used the noun “Einsteins” in it. Obviously, that word didn’t work when I taught short vowels, so I came up with other words beginning with each short vowel. For example:

“One little, two little, three little otters,

Four little, five little, six little otters,

Seven little, eight little, nine little otters,

Ten little otter pups!”

To take this a step further, I will try to have the grands suggest short vowel words to replace “otter” in this example.

Create your own songs-(All the grands) I like to create my own songs, so I used the tune to “Mary Had a Little Lamb” and adapted it for each short vowel sound. Here are the lyrics for the short “a” sound:

“The short vowel “a” goes ah, ah, ah,

ah, ah, ah,

ah, ah, ah,

apples, ants, and alligators,

start with ah, ah, ah.”

I followed the same pattern with the other short vowels. I changed the fourth line in each song as follows:
The short vowel e: “Elmo, eggs, and elephants”
The short vowel i: “igloo, inch, and iguanas”
The short vowel o: “otter, on, and octopus”
The short vowel u: “under, up, and umbrella”


Using multiple intelligence strategies, such as the ones I have put in this unit of study, I have found my grandsons to be very engaged in learning. And because they are doing these activities with their “Mimi”, we are having some very special bonding time. By making sure I use at least one activity from each intelligence, I am increasing the probability that the grands will retain the main points of the lessons.

As for the progress of my grandsons, Tahoe is beginning to recognize some alphabet letters, although his favorite letter of the alphabet right now is “O”. His receptive and expressive vocabulary is rapidly increasing. Kona is doing so well with the short vowel sounds, I have begun working with him on blending one short vowel with one consonant. I am also working with him on the consonant sounds he hasn’t yet mastered, using strategies similar to the ones I used for the short vowels. Tigger is seven weeks into first grade, and he is not having any problems with his reading homework. (I interpret that as a good sign.) I can tell when he reads with me that he is able to sound out words with his short vowels very well. Time for me to plan another unit of study using multiple intelligences.

I hope these ideas have motivated you to think about multiple intelligences when you are planning an activity for the children in your care.


Teaching Short Vowels-The M. I. Way

Now that I’ve finished my series giving a brief overview of Multiple Intelligences (M. I.), I want to share how I use these strategies when planning a unit of lessons for my grandsons. The first unit of study I am presenting to you will cover short vowels. I have so much information to share, I’ve decided to divide this information into two different posts. This post will cover three intelligences: Linguistic, Spatial, and Interpersonal. The lesson ideas for the other five intelligences will be presented in another post.

Since my grandsons are 2, 4, and 6 years old, I planned the units of study with an eye to modifying the various activities according to the readiness of each child:

  • Six year old Tigger had learned the short vowels in kindergarten, but I wanted to give him a good review before he started first grade in September. With Tigger, I would concentrate on short vowel sounds that were found in the middle of words (medial sounds) and review blending them with initial and ending consonants.
  • Kona, 4, already recognized all the uppercase and lowercase alphabet letters and had started to pick up quite a few consonant sounds. I decided he might be ready to learn about short vowels at the beginning of words. Possibly I would try medial short vowel sounds, blending sounds, and word families later on in the year.
  • Tahoe, 2, would not be ready to learn short vowel sounds, but I knew I could modify the lessons so his main focus would be on letter recognition and vocabulary development in the lessons.

Even though I am a retired teacher, I had only taught 4th and 5th graders, so I had never actually needed to teach short vowels before. Obviously, I would need to do some research and get advice from people who had taught short vowels successfully. And fortunately, there are many educators, homeschoolers, and afterschoolers who share their engaging lessons on their websites and blogs. I have been inspired by their ideas so much, and I happily share their links.

Crafts that visually match the letter with the short vowel sound are fun ways to help the grands learn. Their mom displays their crafts in their room, so they see these every day.

Crafts that visually match the letter with the short vowel sound are fun ways to help the grands learn. Their mom displays their crafts in their room, so they see these every day.

Usually I do at least one activity for each intelligence, although I may list many more activities in the lesson plan to give me choices depending on the needs of the grandsons. I planned to use two-three intelligences each day (about 30-45 minutes per day), depending on the length of the activity. When I planned this unit, I thought it would take about six weeks to complete with my grandsons. I would teach one short vowel a week, and then have a week to review all of them. Well, that was ambitious! While I did focus on one short vowel each week, I didn’t have time to do all the activities I thought would benefit my grands. So I extended our review week into as many as were needed, because I felt Kona needed a really strong foundation in short vowels before I proceeded to teach him how to blend sounds. Thank goodness I had the luxury of time when teaching my grandsons that I didn’t have as a classroom teacher. Additionally, I kept finding fantastic ideas on websites and blogs, so I kept adding activities to my unit plan. If you use this short vowel plan, it is best to do at least one activity in each intelligence, but please don’t feel you need to do all the activities I share in the post.

Before I begin, let me reiterate that many of these activities can be classified under more than one intelligence, (which makes sense since each of us has a blend of the eight intelligences). In my unit plans, I have organized the activities according to the intelligence that I feel is the most dominant.

Linguistic (Word Smart)

Read books-(All three grands) This is usually where I start my lessons each day. Before reading each book, we look at the pictures, make predictions, and discuss the vowel sound of the week. During the reading of the book, we discuss words with the vowel sound, and afterwards check on our original predictions.  I found this wonderful website for lists of books that go with each letter of the alphabet:


I perused this website each week and then ordered three books from the library for whichever short vowel I would be teaching. Here are my grandsons’ favorite books that I read to them for each short vowel:

  • short vowel a-The Apple Pie Tree by Zoe Hall
  • short vowel e- Eggday by Joyce Dunbar
  • short vowel i-Inch by Inch by Leo Lionni
  • short vowel o-An Octopus Followed Me Home by Dan Yaccarino
  • short vowel u- The Umbrella Day by Nancy Evans Cooney.


Audio books-(All the grands) Since I drive the grands around a lot, I like to keep an audiobook for them in the car. I have found audiobooks for many of the books I used in the library as well.

Discussions(All the grands) As I went about my day with the grands, I would point out words to the grandsons that started with short vowels and have them repeat the word and isolate the vowel sounds. For example, as I gave each grand a bowl of applesauce for a snack, we would discuss the short a sound in applesauce and have the boys repeat the word first and then say the vowel sound.

Bottle caps, letter stamps, or dry erase boards(Modified for each grandson) I cut out  pictures of things with the short vowel sound from magazines or completed workbooks and pasted them on paper. The grandsons could use the bottle caps (that I created), the dry erase board to write the letters themselves,  or  letter stamps (purchased) to indicate which vowel sound matched each picture.

I saved milk bottle caps and wrote the vowels on them. They can be used to match up with pictures cut up and pasted from Tigger’s completed workbooks.

Personal reading –(Tigger)We used the Progressive Phonics books that matched the vowel sound we were discussing that week. He read them with me, but later on he will be able to read them by himself.


Make lists- (All the grands) At the end of the week, make a list of all the words that we discussed during the week with the vowel sound. Tigger and Kona could illustrate the list as well.

Word Puzzles(All the grands) I purchased these word puzzles a while back and used them with this unit of study. Tahoe, 2, recognizes the “o” letter the best and loves to find all of them and place them in the puzzles. Kona, 4, will place all the vowels in the puzzles, and has just begun to blend sounds with some of the pictures. Tigger, 6, has been using all the word puzzles to practice his blending of sounds as well.

All the boys love these word puzzles. Tahoe loves to find all the "o" letters and place them in the puzzles, while these puzzles help Tigger with his blending skills.

All the boys love these word puzzles. Tahoe loves to find all the “o” letters and place them in the puzzles, while these puzzles help Tigger with his blending skills.


Spatial Intelligence (Picture Smart)

Letter crafts-(All the grands)-The grands really enjoy crafts and I always start their craft session with a picture that can be created from the vowel sound. Some of the grands’ creations are pictured near the beginning of this post. While I found lots of ideas on different websites, I had to be careful that the craft ideas I chose were depicting something with the short vowel sound. For example, I wouldn’t make a craft of an eagle for “e” since “eagle” doesn’t begin with the short vowel sound. There are step by step directions for some letter crafts on this fantastic website:


Other crafts-(All the grands)-Ideas for other crafts to go with each short vowel are endless. (For example, the amount of craft ideas for “apples” could keep the grands busy for a year!) This is the website I usually visit first for craft ideas:


I also found a terrific project on stamping “pumpkins” that I adapted to use with short vowels at this website:


Kona says the short vowel sound before stamping a "pumpkin" on the letter.

Kona says the short vowel sound before stamping a “pumpkin” on the letter.

Videos-(All the grands) Another way to use the spatial intelligence is through videos.  I found so many wonderful  videos that teach the short vowel sounds. Here is our favorite site:


Playdough mats- (All the grands)-While I created these playdough mats myself, you can find printable mats on many websites including the one I used for my inspiration:


   Interpersonal (People Smart)

Dramatic play (All the grands)-In dramatic play participants may pantomime and speak. There  is often a created story line. Encourage and participate in dramatic play using words that start with the short vowel sounds. Props can be used, although “pantomiming” the props is easier and adds to the creativity. Here are some ideas to try:

short a: astronauts taking a space walk from the Space Lab

short e: collecting eggs; washing elephants

short i: building an igloo; using different ingredients to make a salad (or soup, cake, smoothie, casserole etc.)

short o: pretending to be an octopus trying on new clothes

short u: exploring an underwater habitat

Kona really enjoys our cooking sessions together. Here he is adding cinnamon to his mini apple turnovers.

Cooking -(All the grands) Since this activity requires adult supervision due to my grandsons’ ages, I have categorized this in the interpersonal section. When my grandsons are more independent readers, I will categorize cooking under linguistic since they will be reading and following the directions in recipes. My  grandsons love to cook, so I always include some type of culinary activity with each short vowel:

short a: Make applesauce or mini apple turnovers. (Actually, we made both but on different days.). To make the applesauce, I peeled and cut two Granny Smith apples and placed them in a two quart microwaveable casserole dish. My grandsons added a little water, honey, lemon juice, and a few dashes of cinnamon. After microwaving for three minutes, my grandsons helped me mash the cooked apple pieces. They had to wait for the applesauce to cool before eating.

I found the mini apple turnover recipe at this link:


Short e: scrambled eggs-Use your own recipe or try this one:


short i: Italian bread salad. I discovered this recipe, but haven’t tried it yet.


short o: olive and cream cheese spread-Mix 3-4 ounces cream cheese with a small drained can of chopped olives, and a tsp. of mayonnaise. Spread on crackers, bread, or in celery.

short u: upside down cake- I will be trying this recipe:



Shell game  (All the grands) Even the youngest grandson enjoyed playing this simple activity. I found this short vowel game on this website:


Rocky and Kona loved this game, however instead of a pom pom, they substituted one of their cars.

Shell game with short vowels:Rocky and Kona loved this game, however instead of a pom pom, they substituted one of their cars.


Well, those are some activities for three of the multiple intelligences. My grandsons have enjoyed these activities so much, and my hope is that by engaging all their intelligences, I am helping my grandsons become lifelong learners.

Next week, I will publish a post explaining how I used the remaining five intelligences to teach my grandsons the short vowels.

I hope you are finding these Multiple Intelligence activities useful as you plan lessons for children in your care. If you would like to see more of these unit studies as I create them, you can become a follower of this blog.


littles schooling b Collage


Favorite Books of the Summer

( A note of caution: if you just want to see the list of books I recommend, skip to end of this post. I’m afraid I might be a little wordy explaining why I’m writing this post in the first place. Sorry, but that’s my linguistic intelligence getting the better of me.)



Whenever I take a Multiple Intelligence survey, one of my strongest intelligences is always linguistic. I spoke early as a child, was always encouraged to write, and of course, I read dozens and dozens of books, especially in elementary school. So you would think I would continue to read lots of books as an adult.

I certainly had great role models. Both of my parents were voracious readers. One of my childhood homes was one block away from our school, a park, and a small county library. I think my parents purchased the house for its locale, certainly not for its dark wallpaper, termite issues, and abundance of ivy which seemed to attract vermin (although my parents quickly remedied these drawbacks). My mother walked all of us kiddos to the library every week. Children were limited to three books, but adults could check out many more. My mother would carry home a huge stack of books each week, and she would finish them all! (As far as I know, she only read at night after we were all fed and bathed, so she either read very fast or stayed up late reading.)

My dad went to the library also, but he additionally loved to buy used books. In every home he has had as an adult, one entire side of the garage has always been filled floor to ceiling with used books displayed on homemade bookshelves. (When he decides to move into an assisted living residence in the future, I have no idea where we will put all his books!)

But when I became an adult, even though I still had a passion to read lots of books, I just didn’t seem to make recreational reading a priority compared to all my other responsibilities. That is, until I joined a book club. Then I became motivated to get at least the book club selection finished each month, and sometimes I even read an additional book of my own choosing.  Eventually I was so busy at work, I couldn’t even attend book club meetings. I always had a nightstand stacked with books, however, and found time to read several books each year, usually during summer break.

So as I got older and my retirement neared, I looked forward to having all this free time to read to my heart’s content. Wrong, wrong, wrong! I remember a familiar quote of Aristotle: “Nature abhors a vacuum.” Well, apparently so does retirement.

Don’t get me wrong. The people and activities that have filled my life since my retirement give me a tremendous amount of joy! But time for my recreational reading wasn’t fulfilling my expectations.

So I joined another book club a year ago. Problem solved. Now I make reading a priority (because who wants to admit to not finishing the book club selection when you gather with your club friends). Of course, another benefit of a book club is delving into books you wouldn’t normally have chosen. Now I don’t believe every book we chose is a literary masterpiece, but along the way I’ve been rewarded with some real gems that wouldn’t have received a second glance from me at the library or bookstore.  And I think good books should be shared ( or at least their titles publicized). So that is why I’m taking a break from describing how I teach my grandsons with multiple intelligence strategies, and instead making a list of my favorite reads of this past summer.

Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend by Matthew Dicks…This was one of those books that once you became involved with the characters, you couldn’t put down. Budo is the imaginary ( or is he real?) friend of eight year old Max, an autistic boy who doesn’t understand other people very well. Fortunately, Budo is very savvy and the book’s main focus revolves around Budo’s actions to save Max from a dangerous situation. Since Budo can’t communicate with “real” humans, he uses the help of the other imaginary friends he has met.  Our book club members are all involved in education in some way, so our discussion hit very close to home as we thought about the “Max” students we have encountered in our careers. We also became very attached to Budo, and a few of the other imaginary friends in the story.

Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan…Wow! A bookstore that is open 24 hours a day seems like a dream come true, except this bookstore doesn’t get very much traffic. And when a customer does come in, they are asking for unusual books that are found in the top recesses at the back of the store. Main character Clay Jannon, a former web designer who takes on the job as a late night clerk in this puzzling establishment, is intrigued by the customers and their choices of books. As he investigates the real purpose of the bookstore, we meet some very eccentric, but lovable characters. This was another book that I couldn’t put down, and the rest of the book club found it as enchanting as I did.

The Rosie Project by Graeme C. Simsion…Genetics professor Don Tillman is looking for a wife. However, he has difficulty relating to most people (much like Sheldon Cooper in “The Big Bang Theory”) so he devises a way to find the perfect wife: through a survey that he has meticulously created. Along the way he meets  Rosie Jarman, who involves Professor Tillman in a search for the identity of her biological father. Free-spirit Rosie doesn’t match any of the qualifications for his perfect wife, yet she helps Tillman discover a more enriching and full life. This book is very charming, and the author has written a sequel to be released soon.

A Circle of Quiet by Madeleine L’Engle…I suggested this book to the book club members because I had read about it on someone else’s blog. I have been a fan of Madeleine L’Engle ever since I read A Wrinkle in Time to my fourth grade classroom. So a “journal” type book written by L’Engle sounded intriguing. It was! This is a book  that I want to keep, reread, ponder, and underline passages. It is full of family anecdotes, but more than that, it is a dialogue of her writing philosophy. This isn’t just a book for fans of Madeleine L’Engle; those who love to write, or want to become writers will find so much inspiration and encouragement as she explains her passion for writing even when A Wrinkle in Time was rejected by many publishers.

The All-Girl Filling Station’s Last Reunion by Fannie Flagg…O.K. I’m cheating by including this book because I actually read this book last fall. However, I just had to include it because the entire book club thoroughly enjoyed this book and part of its plot relates to the little known, but important contribution women aviators accomplished during World War II. Mrs. Sookie Poole, an Alabama matron who has just married off the third of her four children, has her comfortable life interrupted when she receives a registered letter from Texas. In her quest to uncover a secret about her parentage, she uncovers the history of a hardworking family in Wisconsin, and their amazing daughters who became WASPs during World War II. It is a story filled with humor and warmth.

For my next post, I will begin a new series on how I use Multiple Intelligence (M. I.) strategies to teach my grandsons about short vowels. I hope it will give you some inspiration on using M. I. when planning lessons or activities for the children in your care.


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Multiple Intelligences and my Grandsons

Hi, I’m Nancy, also known as “Mimi” to the grands. I’m a former public school teacher who retired to spend more time with my family including watching my three grandsons several days each week. For the sake of their privacy, I will use the names Tigger (8), Kona (6), and Tahoe (4) when I mention them.

Even though I am retired, I still adore teaching, and providing enriching learning experiences for my grandsons is very important to me. Tigger and Kona attend a public charter school and Tahoe attends a local preschool a couple days a week (on the days that I do not watch him). I’m not sure if I would be considered a homeschooler, an afterschooler, or a caregiver. I guess the simplest way to describe my situation is I am still teaching, and my grandsons are the ones I teach.

During my many years of teaching, I was inspired by many professional development workshops and courses. One of the most useful of these teaching strategies was Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences. In his theory, Gardner proposed that everyone possesses their own unique combination of eight different intelligences (ways of learning). These intelligences are linguistic, logical-mathematical, spatial, musical, bodily-kinesthetic, interpersonal, intrapersonal, and naturalist. Gardner believed that since everyone has a different mixture of these intelligences, it was important that educators include all of these in their teaching to make new learning accessible to all students.

So what does Multiple Intelligences have to do with my grandsons? I obviously want to plan activities for the grands that are going to be engaging to them. Keeping the eight different intelligences in mind as I choose learning experiences for them will ensure that I reach whatever blend of these intelligences my grandsons possess. In other words, I want my grandsons to enjoy the learning process on their way to becoming life long learners.

I hope to share my learning plans and experiences with the readers of my blog. I hope you will drop by again, perhaps to inspire you in your role as a parent, grandparent, caregiver, or educator.


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