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Comic Strip:

Diversity of Learners Adaptation


The original lesson plan, Comic Strip was written by Tara Brennan of Golden Valley School, Val d'Or, QC; adaptation by Debra L Clark, PhD.



Benchmark  Grades Subject Area
C 3rd-4th Visual Arts: Historical, Cultural and Social Contexts 
A 3rd-4th Visual Arts: Creative Expression and Communication
B 3rd-4th Visual Arts: Creative Expression and Communication
C 3rd-4th Visual Arts: Creative Expression and Communication
D 3rd-4th Visual Arts: Connections, Relationships, and Applications
B 3rd-5th Social Studies: History
B 3rd-5th Social Studies: People in Societies
B 3rd-5th Social Studies: Social Studies Skills and Methods
C 3rd-4th Language Arts: Communication: Oral and Visual
E 3rd-4th Language Arts: Communication: Oral and Visual
F 3rd-4th Language Arts: Communication: Oral and Visual
A 3rd-4th Language Arts: Research
B 3rd-4th Language Arts: Research
D 3rd-4th Language Arts: Research
E 3rd-5th Science: Physical Sciences
F 3rd-5th Science: Physical Sciences
A 3rd-5th Science: Science and Technology
B 3rd-5th Science: Science and Technology
B 3rd-4th Science: Measurement
C 3rd-4th Math: Patterns, Functions, and Algebra
D 3rd-4th Math: Patterns, Functions, and Algebra
E 3rd-4th Math: Patterns, Functions, and Algebra
F 3rd-4th Math: Patterns, Functions, and Algebra
B 3rd-4th Math: Data Analysis and Probability
A 3rd-4th Math: Mathematical Processes
B 3rd-4th Math: Mathematical Processes
F 3rd-4th Math: Mathematical Processes
G 3rd-4th Math: Mathematical Processes
I 3rd-4th Math: Mathematical Processes
J 3rd-4th Math: Mathematical Processes
K 3rd-4th Math: Number, Number Sense, and Operations
B 3rd-4th Music: Creative Expression and Communication
A 3rd-4th Music: Connections, Relationships and Applications


One of the primary pieces of knowledge to utilize when ensuring that a lesson addresses a diversity of learners is Howard Gardner's Theory of Multiple Intelligences.  Below are web sites that can be utilized to refresh one's memory or to learn about Gardner's theory:






Many scholars argue that females learn better in collaborative settings (see http://www.icme-organisers.dk/tsg26/3MaryBarnes.rtf for a discussion of this belief); others argue that some ethnicities, such as African-Americans and Native Americans also learn better in a collaborative setting (see http://www.evergreen.edu/washcenter/spring1993_15-17.pdf for a discussion of this belief).  Thus by addressing the interpersonal intelligence as defined by Gardner one should be engaging in the first step of attending to  a diversity of learners as it may relate to gender and ethnicities.  By addressing all of the intelligences one is also more likely to attend to language differences as well as learning disabilities.  Below is a list of ways to incorporate Gardner's theory and to also address a diversity of learners.

Though students will be drawn to those activities that are in line with their individual intelligences, it is advised that all students at least attempt a try all of the activities.  In doing so, they might discover an unknown talent or intelligence.


Application of Gardner's theory:




To enhance the learning of verbal/linguistic students add a poetry writing activity to the this lesson.  The poems should be written from the perspective of Native Americans when Europeans arrived, African Americans during slavery, African Americans during the civil rights movement, or new immigrants arriving to this country.                                   




Two activities are suggested to assist the learning of students with logical/mathematical intelligence.  The first activity involves use of percentages and real world data.  The following is a link to a website which provides US migration maps with accompanying legends that indicate percentage of the population: http://www.migrationinformation.org/DataTools/maps.cfm; the following link is the US census bureau's report on state populations: http://www.census.gov/population/cen2000/tab04.txt.  Have students examine the information on both sites and them ask them how one might determine the actual numbers of different populations within each state.  Then as a class test each suggestion.  Also have students write an algorithm for the problem and then solve the algorithm.


The second activity involves having students determine the distance Native Americans had to walk when relocated as well and the time necessary to walk this distance.  Again have students brainstorm ways to answer these questions.  Then test the suggestions.  Also have students write an algorithm for the problem and solve the algorithm.   The follow website provides historical maps of Native American populations: http://www.historylink101.com/1/native_american/native_american_maps.htm




The students with visual/spatial intelligence should thrive during the comic drawing portion of the lesson.  Another activity for students with visual/spatial intelligence would be to have the class make a mural size map of the United States that represents Native American, African American, foreign-born, and European American populations.  The US census provides many tables with information that could be used when making decision regarding map constructions: http://www.census.gov/.                




The bodily/kinesthetic students should enjoy the physical requirements of making a mural size map.  Another activity that would be of interest to these students might be an activity involving making toys.  Explain to students that historically immigrant children, slave children, and Native American children could not simply go to a store and buy toys.  Brainstorm with the class a toy that they could make.  As a homework assignment have student collect materials form home to use in making toys (i.e. toilet paper rolls,  thread, spools, rags, clean garbage).  Then the next day have students make toys with the materials they brought from home            




The students with musical/rhythmical intelligence will enjoy the process of song writing.  Have students convert their poems into songs and/or write a song with different lyrics.         




The original lesson plan for this lesson involves explaining to students that prior to television people listened to radio programs for entertainment and then having students listen to a radio program.  The science of a radio and/or building a radio should be appealing to a student with naturalist intelligence.  The following websites provides information regarding how a radio works and how to build a radio:


http://www.radiodesign.com/radwrks.htm (How it works)

http://hamers.chem.wisc.edu/outreach/radios1/how_do_radios_work1.htm (How it works)

http://sci-toys.com/scitoys/scitoys/radio/radio.html (How to build a radio)



Final Thoughts on Gardner's Theory of Multiple Intelligences


All of the above intelligences are content specific.  The intelligences of interpersonal and intrapersonal are different in that they are more tied to another theory Myers Briggs theory of personality development, specifically the introvert/extrovert dimension.  A commonly held belief is that introverts are shy and non-verbal, whereas extroverts are outgoing and very verbal.  This is only part of the story of this dimension.  Yes, introverts tend to be less verbal and extroverts tend to be more verbal.  However, the reason behind these tendencies is what is important for teachers to understand.  The reasons behind these tendencies are directly tied to the intelligences of interpersonal and intrapersonal.


Introverts and individuals with intrapersonal intelligence are very able to speak, but must be given the opportunity to do so.  Introverts and individuals with intrapersonal intelligence have an internal energy base.  In other words, these individuals become energized when able to spend time alone.  This internal energy base is also why individuals who are introverts and have intrapersonal intelligence need quiet time to think and process information.  Once these students are given the time to process information internally, they are very willing and able to share their thoughts.  A classroom activity that should occur everyday is time to think.  An easy way for teachers to ensure this occurs is to put into the daily schedule time for journaling.

Extroverts and individuals with interpersonal intelligence process information and gain energy in an opposite process.  Extroverts gain energy through interactions with others; extroverts need to talk to think.  Thus, whereas introverts and individuals with intrapersonal intelligence need quiet time to think, extroverts need others to speak to in order to think.  To meet the needs of these students, small and large group activities are most beneficial.



Working with students with visual impairments

When working with a disabled student it is important for the teacher to understand how the student experiences the world.  The following links will assist a teacher in better understanding the life of a student with a visual impairment:





http://www.lifesci.sussex.ac.uk/reginald-phillips/beginnersPaper.htm (materials to assist visually impaired students)


If you would like to learn more about Braille materials and other teaching tools for students who are blind, the American Foundation for the Blind web site provides numerous resources for classroom teachers:  http://www.afb.org.


The portion of the logical/mathematical lesson that could be problematic, for a student with visual limitations, is the map reading portion.  Because map reading is a skill students begin learning in kindergarten, a child with a visual impairment should be supplied with maps that he or she can read.  The following web sites provide information regarding maps for the blind and visually impaired:


http://www.aph.org/products/mapglobe.html (cost)


http://www.pythonware.com/products/pil/ (free, but computer technology needed)


The other components of this lesson that could be problematic, for a student with visual limitations, is the comic strip drawing portions and the mural making components.  To address these challenges the students with a visual impairment could make a clay sculpture instead of a comic.  For the mural making project include tactile objects and substances in the mural.  For example, sand can be added to paint or cotton balls pasted to the mural could represent a population.   Brainstorm with the class how to make the mural tactile and make sure to include the student with a visual impairment in this discussion.



Working with students with Auditory impairments


the following web sites will assist teachers in better understanding the life of a student with a auditory impairment:







The activities of this lesson which could be problematic for a students with an auditory impairment are listening to the radio program (during the original lesson) and writing a song to accompany student research.  For the radio broadcast, provide for the student with an auditory impairment a copy of the script.  For the song writing activity, poetry writing could replace song writing.


Working with students with behavioral problems


The following web sites will assist teachers in better understanding the life of a student with a behavioral impairment: 






Students with behavioral problems respond well to structure and systematic rewards.  Thus two types of classroom situations can become problematic.  When students are required to sit quietly for an extended period of time, this presents a unique challenge for the child with a behavioral impairment.  In contrast, new activities that give students much freedom to make decisions can also be problematic for the child with a behavioral impairment.  Nonetheless, students with behavioral problems need to adapt to these situations.  Thus, when these diametrically opposed situations occur, the teachers need to be cognizant of the challenges a student with behavior problems might be experiencing and provide positive reinforcement in these situation.     Because much of the above involves group activities it is important that the student with a behavioral problem clearly understands the guidelines and that these guidelines are positively reinforced by the teacher.


Working with students with autism


The following web sites will assist teachers in better understanding the life of a student with autism.







Students with autism are much like students with behavioral problems in that structure and positive reinforcements are very important.  Another important aspect of the classroom environment is repetition.  Thus for the original lesson plan, the adaptation for multicultural awareness and appreciation, as well as this adaptation, it is important to relate new activities to previous activities.  This will help all students, but particularly the child with autism.  For example, if the class has read poetry, tie that previous experience to the new experience of writing poetry.