Our Students’ Brave Voices: Technology & Multiple Intelligences (Amy)

The idea of multiple intelligences comes out of psychology. It’s a theory that was developed to document the fact that human beings have very different kinds of intellectual strengths and that these strengths are very, very important in how kids learn and how people represent things in their minds, and then how people use them in order to show what it is that they’ve understood.
~Howard Gardner (on Multiple Intelligences)

Ten years ago, when Heather and I were fresh out of our education classes at Northern Michigan University, we knew that we wanted to create lessons in our practice that would engage all learners. Multiple Intelligence theory had been the buzz phrase in all of our courses and we envisioned our classrooms to be full of conversation, projects and activity. I knew firsthand from my experience in high school that I thrived most when I was allowed to be creative. I still fondly remember a color wheel I crafted in home economics class that organized bright hues in the shape of butterflies. Yet, these were not your standard butterflies. These winged beauties were filled with colors mixed from my vast collection of nail polish. While nail polish and fashion were at the top of my list of favorites in high school, I would have to say that my prefered medium of expression was poetry and short stories. I often think about the educators in my life, such as my high school English teacher Karen Friestrom, that noticed my passion for words and always encouraged me to enter writing contests and gave me feedback to strengthen my writing. Never will I forget Mrs. Friestrom’s guidance and the wisdom she bestowed on me.

Like many 9th grade English teachers across the country I serve as a guide in leading my students in the study of Greek mythology. During this unit my students research ancient Greek culture and we read portions of Homer’s epic poem, The Odyssey.

In the past couple years I have tried to encourage my English students to flex their voices by using technology. Heather and I try to share our digital adventures with our students. We model our blog and use it as a vehicle to publish student work. Our involvement with the National Writing Project has helped fuel our interest in digital literacy and has added a deeper layer to our understanding of Multiple Intelligence theory. This year I have been thrilled to have students generate digital stories, audio files of rap music and spoken word poems for class assignments.

One student in my 9th grade classroom really stands out in her use of ingenuity and technology. Bella Wedig is every educator’s dream student. She is polite, mature and is armed with a fierce work ethic. At the beginning of the year, during an introductory activity, Bella introduced herself as a teenager who loves to play sports and enjoys singing and writing songs. She is a self-taught guitarist and has been playing for two years. Little did I know at this time that Bella would grace us in class with her talent and beautiful vocals.

After watching a film version of The Odyssey I asked my students to complete a final project based on their understanding of Homer’s work (link to assignment below). Bella brought her guitar into class and played a song that was inspired by Odysseus trying to return home to his wife Penelope after the Trojan War. Instantly I was touched by the universal appeal of Bella’s song and thought that it was timeless. She did not mention Ithaca, or any of the characters by name, and thus allows her song to be about anyone’s journey home.

Isabella Wedig

I often say that I learn so much more from my students than I can ever offer them. Bella’s insight is a perfect example. I think that Bella is a multi-talented girl and she embodies how important it is for educators to open up their classrooms to Multiple Intelligences. Bella is a strong student in all her classes and an academic role model. She challenges her peers to work hard and her perspective helps give new meaning to the concepts and metaphors we explore in class.

I was so impressed with Bella’s song that I asked her permission to share her work on our blog. She was kind enough to record her song Home with the program Audacity and burn a CD. I must thank Bella for pushing me to hone my technology skills as well because I had to figure out how to embed the sound file (which was not an easy task for me to navigate).

I am so proud of Bella and thank her for sharing her gift with us. She is an intelligent and articulate young woman and I am excited to watch her continue to grow and amplify her voice. Enjoy Bella’s beautiful song!

Audiofile: Home by Isabella Wedig, Gwinn High School, Fall 2010

Home Capo 4 Intro: C G F F

It’s been almost twenty years I know
And it seems my travels go, oh so slow,
And every time I turn around
There’s another obstacle I’ve found.
Now I’m home, the place where I belong

You don’t have a clue, how much I missed being with you
Footsteps fall, your name is what I call
When I wrap you in my arms I know
This is my home.

I’ve been alone for quite some time,
All my friends have fallen by my side
Weary of this never-ending sea,
Wishing there was one more possibility

Now I’m home, the place where I belong
You don’t have a clue, how much I missed being with you
Footsteps fall, your name is what I call
When I wrap you in my arms I know
This is my home.

I keep my name and face unknown,
The gods have warned me that I can’t be shown.
But then you stand right in front of me,
And it seems impossible to keep my identity.

Now I’m home, the place where I belong
You don’t have a clue, how much I missed being with you
Footsteps fall, your name is what I call
When I wrap you in my arms I know
This is my home.

~Isabella Wedig (Fall 2010)

The Odyssey (link to project assignment)

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One Response to Our Students’ Brave Voices: Technology & Multiple Intelligences (Amy)

  1. Pingback: Digital Prose Poetry: Five Student Samples ~ National Poetry Month 2013 ( | Blended Voices

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