Part of CES’s mission is to guide students in reaching their greatest potential by providing learning experiences which honor and challenge individual learning styles and intelligences. That important pillar of our school was designed after the extensive educational research of Howard Gardner and his work with Multiple Intelligences. Gardner provides us with a language for talking about the inner gifts of children. Our teachers teach with this in mind and tap in those 8 intelligences which we call “smarts”. Thursday afternoon, as I was visiting classrooms, I noticed that several intelligences were on display as our students were participating lessons from their units–this was just a snapshot of a typical day at CES. In particular, I could see students using their Interpersonal (people smart), Verbal-Linguistic (word smart), and Visual-Spatial (art smart). If you visit our building you will no doubt hear students singing or engaged in music in some way (Musical), moving creatively or purposely (Bodily-Kinesthetic), working on math (Mathematical-Logical), working alone (Intrapersonal), or engaging in nature (Naturalist).
I thought this week I would highlight those “smarts” for you
Trailblazers helping Scouts (Interpersonal)
Our unexpected fire alarm provided us with an illustration of why we believe in our multi-age K-8 model, and why we value our “big buddies” or “mentors”. At the beginning of the year, our middle school students worked with our Kindergarten Scouts to teach them about what it means to be a student in school since this was a new experience for most of them. The Big Buddies made a a connection with the Little Scouts that has paid off in so many ways allowing them to be positive role models to the littlest of our littles. This last week, when our fire alarm went off on the only cold and snowy day we’ve had, our Scouts were in PE or Music and didn’t have their coats for the evacuation. Our middle school students immediately jumped into action, sharing their coats and even making a huddle around the Scouts that included a cover to keep them warm and protect them from the wind and snow. No adult asked them to do this–they acted on instinct and used their interpersonal skills. It was a sweet and rewarding moment as you can see in the picture below and we are so proud of them!
Band and Choir Concert (Musical)
Together We Make a Difference! Thanks Parents!
This last week our 6th-8th grade band and our middle school choir gave a lovely concert of several enjoyable songs. We were all impressed with their great sound and harmonies. I also wanted to give a shout out to our wonderful parents who always jump in and put away all of the chairs so our custodians don’t have to do it all by themselves. Together we Make a Difference!! Thank you!
Depth and Complexity (Verbal-Linguistic)
Last year several of our teachers participated in training on Depth and Complexity, a critical thinking tool that provides visual clues to help students more deeply understand a topic or content. Depth and Complexity is often just used in Gifted and Talented programs, but we felt this type of deep thinking was very appropriate for all of our CES students with our Exploratory model of inquiry and project-based learning. Kaitlin Strong and Stephanie Veatch stepped up to become trainers of teachers and are providing on-going staff development on our early release Fridays and during their Professional Learning Community times. As you walk around CES, you will see examples of D & C and can recognize it by the language being used and the accompanying visual cues or icons.
The Depth and Complexity Icons are visual prompts designed to help students go beyond surface level understanding of a concept and enhance their ability to think critically. These critical thinking tools help students dig deeper into a concept (depth) and understand that concept with greater complexity.
In fact, to truly understand something, one must be able to speak the language specific to that topic. One cannot have a critical understanding of that same topic without knowing the details, rules and patterns associated with it or understanding how it may have changed and the varied perspectives through which it is viewed.
Below you will find the icons with their definition (courtesy of Jay Taylor Education)
Depth Tool- Language of the Discipline
The meaning of this icon is pretty self-explanatory. The lips represent specialized language related to a topic or concept. This language includes key words, phrases, signs/symbols, figures of speech, abbreviations, and the like.
For example, to truly understand a concept in mathematics, one must speak the “language of math”. A student being asked to add and subtract would need to understand not only terms such as “sum” and “difference”, but also be able to understand mathematical sentences which often include symbols: 27 + (16 – 5) =
In the study of the American Revolution, students would need to know the meaning of “Redcoat” and realize that it isn’t something one can purchase in a store!
Depth Tool- Details
As you consider the design of this icon, think about the details of the flower and how each part (flower petals, etc.) make up the whole flower. Details contain the information that enhance understanding. They act as supporting information to a big idea or concept (main idea). Details include: parts, factors, attributes, traits, and variables.
If we go back to our earlier math example: 27 + (16 – 5)= the details are the numbers themselves (the parts that make up the equation). Being able to discern important details of a story is key to one’s ability to critically analyze that text. While we can concede that one of the pigs in the story, The Three Pigs is wearing a red shirt, we can agree that the color of the shirt is extraneous and doesn’t lead to a deeper understanding of the story.
Depth Tool- Patterns
There’s no surprise that this icon represents patterns (note the circle, line, circle, and zig-zag pattern). If one were asked, it would be a fairly simple task to continue the pattern. Patterns are recurring elements or factors in ideas, objects, stories, and events. They are predictable, repetitive and ordered.
We see patterns in math: number lines, geometry; literature: “Little pigs, little pigs! Let me come in…” ; social studies: patterns in movement and settlement, behavior. The list goes on… Being able to move beyond simple identification of patterns to defining the cause and effect of a pattern or identifying relationships among patterns is rigorous and requires the ability to think critically.
Depth Tool- Rules
Rules are the organizational elements that create structure. This concept is an easy one for students, as they are surrounded by rules (at home, school, in sports, etc). Rules provide structure and represent organization and hierarchy. The meaning is reflected in the design of the icon, which itself has a clear structure.
This icon is often seen in science when looking at classifications. Students may encounter it when examining the structure of a text (compare and contrast, main idea and details, and the like). They may also be asked to apply mathematical rules (formulas) to solve a problem or utilize spelling and grammar rules in writing.
Depth Tool- Big Idea
The Big Idea indicates a generalization, principle or theory about the curriculum being studied. It often represents the focus of study or a learning task.
For example, the big idea of a science lesson might be the water cycle. The Big Idea design works well to help students organize the main idea of a story or paragraph (in the roof), which is then supported with evidence (pillars supporting the roof). Students use this with universal themes and generalizations.
Depth Tool- Ethical Issues
This element of Depth and Complexity represents moral principles (possible rights or wrongs). An easy way to remember the meaning: “Black and white/ right and wrong”. It represents conflicting points of view on events, ideas or issues and involves bias, values, or judgments.
Students will most likely encounter this dimension when analyzing literature or studying social studies. For example, students might be asked to consider ethical issues surrounding Spanish colonization and the establishment of missions along the California coast or to examine ethical issues surrounding a character’s behavior in a story.
Depth Tool – Trends
Trends represent the general direction of change. CHANGE is the key word here.
Trends can be explained by external factors or influences that contribute to the change. This icon is represented well by the line graph. Each spike and dip in the graph was caused by something (external factor or influence). Think cause and effect here. One example I like to use is the trend in schools to move away from hardback text books to e-books. What caused the change to go from one to another? Context is huge here! In this case, one reason the trend was caused was the availability of technology. This is different from simple change over time, because for a trend to occur, one thing has to replace, or compete with, another. It’s important to not only examine the “why”, but also the “so now what?” questions. What are the consequences, both intentional and unintentional?
Depth Tool- Unanswered Questions
These are questions about anything is is unsolved, unclear, or unproven. These can be ideas that have yet to be explored, are unresolved, or that have missing components (incomplete). Unanswered questions are good!
These are questions we need to pursue. Having said this, many students will be content with simply asking a question and leaving it at that. As educators, we need to push students to pursue the answers to these questions. These are typically questions that are not answered quickly and sometimes they aren’t answerable (yet), but they do have the potential to generate some good thinking and discussion.
Complexity Tool- Multiple Perspectives
This icon basically represents different points of view on ideas, events, people, and issues.
It often represents an “expert” viewpoint, and is dependent on time and place. This icon falls under the “complexity” section of the Depth and Complexity framework. This icon is easy for students to remember because glasses have lenses through which one must look to see something clearly. Multiple perspectives combines nicely with the other icons. For example, one could look at the different perspectives on rules or on details. One really couldn’t get a good understanding of a conflict without first looking through the different perspectives involved.
Complexity Tool- Change Over Time
This icon prompts students to explore a concept, event, or person as it relates to time (past/present/future).
Change is inevitable. This powerful tool facilitates a more complex exploration and can easily be applied across disciplines and combined with all the other Depth and Complexity Tools. Consider having students examine how and why rules change over time. How do changing perspectives impact changes in rules? For a different approach, consider having students explore why things haven’t changed.
Complexity Tool- Across Disciplines
This icon also falls under the complexity section of the framework.
The Across Disciplines icon prompts exploration of connections within, between and across subject areas. Although not used as often as some of the other tools, this icon supports understanding of how something relates to multiple disciplines. For example, students can examine natural resources across science, economics, history, etc. Questions students might explore – How does the California Gold Rush relate to science, economics, and history? Through what disciplines might we better understand the presidential election?
Hiking Club is back! (Bodily-Kinesthetic & Naturalist)
Perfect weather…Beautiful views…Awesome kids! What is it? Hiking Club, of course! We had our first hike on Tuesday October 1st. What a fun time! We walked up to the Hogbacks and hiked the Greenhorn Trail before heading back to school. Thank you to the teachers, Mr. Dieckman, Mrs. Burrell and Ms. Rogers, who joined Mrs. Daly. We also had a fantastic parent volunteer! Thanks, Grant Emmerson! Hiking Club is available to 1st through 5th graders. To join, get a permission slip in the hall outside Mrs. Daly’s classroom. We hike on Tuesdays from 3:15 – 4:15. See you there! ~Mrs. Daly
Fall Compass Academy~A Parent Education Night
Please use the following link to join us for our Fall Compass Academy. We have some really interesting and exciting sessions!
Sign Up Genius for Fall Compass Academy
Support our Destination Imagination Team (Visual-Spatial, Interpersonal, & Mathematical-Logical)
Every Tuesday, 10% of your purchase at Chile’s will go to support our DI team. Just tell them what you want it to go towards or show them this blog post. Our DI team made it all the way to Nationals last year. They use many of the smarts to do this as they have to write a skit using logic and reasoning, creativity, and interpersonal skills. They prepare for months and put in a lot of after school hours to hone their skills. We want to support their efforts in any way we can and this small fundraiser will get them going for the year. Please consider helping them out–thanks!
Thank you so much for reading! Until next time,
Kelly Albrecht, CES Principal