Oct 262012

In my last post, I outlined an overview of the theory of multiple intelligences and how it should inform our view of children. In this post, I’d like the share how this theory can be implemented in Crossing Kids so that we are reaching all of God’s diverse children and engaging them in learning about Him.

There are eight different intelligence areas. Each child embodies all of them to some degree, but most children have a strength in two or three specific areas. These areas are their “sweet spot” for learning and assimilating information. This means as leaders and teachers in Crossing Kids, we should strive to engage children in all eight areas on Sunday mornings. Certainly, we can’t teach within all eight areas every single week, but we strive to vary our curriculum and activities to incorporate the full spectrum of learning styles.

The chart below comes from The Gardner School, named after Howard Gardner who outlined the Theory of Multiple Intelligences. Perhaps as you look over the chart, you can think of kids in your group who fall within some of the areas.

Intelligence Area:

Is Strong In:

Likes to:

Learns Best Through:

Famous Examples:


(Word Smart)

reading, writing, telling stories, memorizing dates, thinking words

read, write, tell stories, talk, memorize, work at puzzles

reading, hearing and seeing words, speaking, writing, discussing and debating

Maya Angelou, Abraham Lincoln

Math-Logic (Number Smart)

math, reasoning, logic, problem-solving, patterns

solve problems, question, work with numbers, experiment

working with patterns and relationships, classifying, categorizing, working with the abstract

Albert Einstein,

John Dewey

Spatial (Picture Smart)

reading, maps, charts, drawing, mazes, puzzles, making images, visualization

design, draw, build, create, daydream, look at pictures

working with pictures and colors, visualizing, using the minds eye, drawing

Pablo Picasso,

Georgia OKeeffe

Bodily-Kinesthetic (Body Smart)

athletics, dancing, acting, crafts, using tools

move around, touch and talk, use body language

touching, moving, processing knowledge through bodily sensations

Charlie Chaplin,

Magic Johnson

Musical (Music Smart)

singing, picking up sounds, remembering melodies, rhythms

sing, hum, play an instrument, listen to music

rhythm, melody, singing, listening to music and melodies

 Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart,

Ella Fitzgerald

Interpersonal (People Smart)

understanding people, leading, organizing, communicating, resolving conflicts, selling

have friends, talk to people, join groups

sharing, comparing, relating, interviewing, cooperating

Ronald Reagan, Mother Theresa

Intrapersonal (Self Smart)

understanding self, recognizing strengths and weaknesses, setting goals

work alone, reflect, pursue interests

working alone, doing self-paced projects, having space, reflecting

Eleanor Roosevelt

Naturalist (Nature Smart)

understanding nature, making distinctions, identifying flora and fauna

be involved with nature, make distinctions

working in nature, exploring living things, learning about plants and natural events

John Muir

The column most helpful in this chart is the “Learns Best Through” column. This column outlines how we can help children learn in Crossing Kids. After all, don’t all these ways of learning teach us more about our gracious and glorious God and all the aspects of His character.

Our curriculum in Crossing Kids is specifically written to engage kids through these methods. Some lessons have drawing, acting, and singing, while others include a nature walk around the lake or a group project. I am on the curriculum writing team for K – 5th grade which uses a curriculum model called the “Workshop Rotation Model.” In the workshops, children will participate in workshops including: science, art, drama, history, cinema, puppetry, missions, bookmaking, and games. Throughout these various workshops, children learn about God and His Word in a rich and engaging manner.

As you continue to teach and lead in Crossing Kids, perhaps you can think about how to engage children in various ways. Ask a child to draw pictures with you, play Twister with you, build something with Legos, or just tell a story about their week. Children can all be drawn out in various ways. It’s helpful to consider God made all kids different with a variety of strengths. When we strive to implement Multiple Intelligences in our ministry, we have a greater opportunity to reach children for Christ.

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