Minds in Motion
Jump into Their World
Encouraging Kinesthetic Intelligence
October 3, 2009
Presenter: Xan Regan, BS, MA
What is creative movement?
It is the use of nonverbal exploration and communication to solve problems and discover
the world we live in through natural motion.
Who does it benefit?
Everyone. All ages, sizes, genders, shapes and nationalities.
“If you can move, you can dance. If you can speak, you sing.”
- African proverb
Why is it important?
1. Creative Movement stimulates intellectual, physical and emotional development
in children. (Gilbert, 2002)
2. In child development, Piaget recognized sensory motor skills a central role
in children's early cognitive development.
3. Studies demonstrated that infants' experiences of self-produced
locomotion (e.g., crawling) are related to such cognitive skills as object
permanence and the organization of spatial information (Bai & Bertenthal,
1992; Bertenthal, Campos, & Kermoian, 19.94; Campos et al).
4. Children left on their own will develop limited skill sets through independent
exploration. The Zone of Proximal Development is Vigotsky’s term for the range
of tasks that are too difficult for the child to master alone but that can be
mastered with guidance and assistance.
Paiget’s Theory of Cognitive Development - Stages of Development
Piaget’s theory identifies four developmental stages and the processes by which children
progress through them. The four stages are:
1. Sensorimotor stage (birth - 2 years old)
The child, through physical interaction with his or her environment, builds a set
of concepts about reality and how it works.
2. Preoperational stage (ages 2-7)
The child is not yet able to conceptualize abstractly and needs concrete physical
3. Concrete Operations (ages 7-11)
As physical experience accumulates, the child starts to conceptualize, creating
logical structures that explain his or her physical experiences. Abstract problem
solving is also possible at this stage. For example, arithmetic equations can be
solved with numbers, not just with objects.
4. Formal operations (beginning at ages 11-15)
By this point, the child’s cognitive structures are like those of an adult and include
I hear and I forget.
I see and I remember.
I do and I understand!
Our brain has two Hemispheres.
The left-brain is the logical and reasoning side. It allows us to solve math and science
problems and prefer order and routine our lives.
The right side of our brain is where our creativity resides. It looks at whole parts of a
problem and synthesizes all the information we take in.
Creative movement utilizes both sides of their brain, creating a bridge to more
successful, meaningful learning. When children are physically engaged and
motivated, their brains are thinking fully and making numerous connections within
themselves and their world.
Right Brain Left Brain
• Visual, focusing on images, • Verbal, focusing on words,
patterns symbols, numbers
• Intuitive, led by feelings • Analytical, led by logic
• Process ideas simultaneously • Process ideas sequentially,
step by step
• 'Mind photos' used to Words used to remember
remember things, writing things, remember names
things down or illustrating rather than faces
them helps you remember
• Make lateral connections from • Make logical deductions from
• See the whole first, then the • Work up to the whole step by
details step, focusing on details,
• Organization ends to be
• Highly organized
• Free association • Like making lists and
• Like to know why you're • Likely to follow rules without
doing something or why rules questioning them
• No sense of time • Good at keeping track of time
• May have trouble with • Spelling and mathematical
spelling and finding words to formula easily memorized
• Enjoy touching and feeling • Enjoy observing
actual objects (sensory input)
• Trouble prioritizing, so often • Plan ahead
• Unlikely to read instruction • Likely read an instruction
manual before trying manual before trying
• Listen to how something is
Listens to what is being said
• Talk with your hands Rarely uses gestures when talking
I learn best by __________________________________________?
Our answer to this simple question will probably reveal information about our learning
style and the mode of intelligence that is dominated in our lives.
Howard Gardener introduced the theory of Multiple Intelligences in the 1980’s,
expanding the world’s definition of “Smart”. He recognized seven modes f
intelligences and later add an eighth. Because there are multiple ways to one can
learn and demonstrate intelligence, we must strive to offer opportunities in our
home bases and curriculum that reflect the multiple unique intelligences of our
students. As Paiget’s Cognitive stages of development states, children begin
their learning journey in the sensory motor. We all are kinesthetically intelligent,
exploring our self and environment through motor and reflex actions. Over time
as our cognitive skills develop, we discover and build propensities for other
modes of intelligence, often settling on a few that become our dominant learning
styles. As teachers we must recognize our personal learning mode, but make
sure that it does not dominate our home base. We must take care to ensure that all
eight modes are represented to optimize the learning and development of each of
our unique children. I have found that for many of us the kinesthetic domain,
which is critical for full development, is often left to develop on its own. For
many of us, we have lost awareness of our kinesthetic intelligence.
“All students can learn and succeed, but not
all on the same day in the same way.”
- William G. Spady Excerpted from Armstrong, Thomas. Multiple
Intelligences in the Classroom, Alexandria,
Virginia, Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (1994).
MULTIPLE INTELLIGENCES TEST
Where does your true intelligence lie? This quiz will tell you where you stand and what to do about it.
Read each statement. If it expresses some characteristic of yours and sounds true for the most part, jot
down a "T." If it doesn't, mark an "F." If the statement is sometimes true, sometimes false, leave it blank.
1. _____ I'd rather draw a map than give someone verbal directions.
2. _____ I can play (or used to play) a musical instrument.
3. _____ I can associate music with my moods.
4. _____ I can add or multiply in my head.
5. _____ I like to work with calculators and computers.
6. _____ I pick up new dance steps fast.
7. _____ It's easy for me to say what I think in an argument or debate.
8. _____ I enjoy a good lecture, speech or sermon.
9. _____ I always know north from south no matter where I am.
10. _____ Life seems empty without music.
11. _____ I always understand the directions that come with new gadgets or appliances.
12. _____ I like to work puzzles and play games.
13. _____ Learning to ride a bike (or skates) was easy.
14. _____ I am irritated when I hear an argument or statement that sounds illogical.
15. _____ My sense of balance and coordination is good.
16. _____ I often see patterns and relationships between numbers faster and easier than others.
17. _____ I enjoy building models (or sculpting).
18. _____ I'm good at finding the fine points of word meanings.
19. _____ I can look at an object one way and see it sideways or backwards just as easily.
20. _____ I often connect a piece of music with some event in my life.
21. _____ I like to work with numbers and figures.
22. _____ Just looking at shapes of buildings and structures is pleasurable to me.
23. _____ I like to hum, whistle and sing in the shower or when I'm alone.
24. _____ I'm good at athletics.
25. _____ I'd like to study the structure and logic of languages.
26. _____ I'm usually aware of the expression on my face.
27. _____ I'm sensitive to the expressions on other people's faces.
28. _____ I stay "in touch" with my moods. I have no trouble identifying them.
29. _____ I am sensitive to the moods of others.
30. _____ I have a good sense of what others think of me.
MULTIPLE INTELLIGENCE SCORING SHEET Place a check mark by each item you marked as
"true." Add your totals. A total of four in any of the categories A through E indicates strong ability. In
categories F and G a score of one or more means you have abilities as well.
A B C D E F G
Linguistic Logical- Musical Spatial Bodily- Intra- Inter-
Mathematical Kinesthetic personal personal
7 ___ 4 ___ 2 ___ 1 ___ 6 ___ 26 ___ 27 ___
8 ___ 5 ___ 3 ___ 9 ___ 13 ___ 28 ___ 29 ___
14___ 12 ___ 10 ___ 11___ 15 ___ 30 ___
18 ___ 16 ___ 20 ___ 19___ 17 ___
25 ___ 21 ___ 23 ___ 22___ 24 ___
Totals: ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____ ____
The Seven Multiple Intelligences in Children
Think Love Need
books, tapes, writing tools paper diaries,
Linguistic in words telling stories, playing
dialogues, discussion, debate stories
word games, etc.
things to explore and think about,
Logical- by questioning, figuring
science materials, manipulatives, trips to
Mathematical reasoning out puzzles,
the planetarium and science museum
in images designing, drawing, art, LEGOs, video, movies, slides,
Spatial and visualizing, doodling, imagination games, mazes, puzzles,
pictures etc. illustrated books, trips to art museums
through role play, drama, movement, things to
Bodily- jumping, building,
somatic build, sports and physical games, tactile
Kinesthetic touching, gesturing,
sensations experiences, hands-on learning
via rhythms sing-along time, trips to concerts, music
Musical and playing at home and school, musical
feet and hands,
by leading, organizing,
bouncing relating, friends, group games, social gatherings,
Interpersonal ideas off manipulating, community events, clubs,
other mediating, partying, mentors/apprenticeships
deeply setting goals,
secret places, time alone, self-paced
Intrapersonal inside meditating, dreaming,
themselves being quiet,
Creative Movement helps us to inspire and motivate our class to do more than just
automatically “Go through the motions of our day.” It allows them to become totally
involved in their world.
Name some children in your class that you think may have strong Kinesthetic or
Look at the list below and see if they exhibit any of the following characteristics.
_____ excels in one or more sports (preschool: shows physical prowess advanced for
_____ moves, twitches, taps, or fidgets while seated for a long time in one spot
_____ cleverly mimics other people's gestures or mannerisms
_____ loves to take things apart and put them back together again
_____ put his/her hands all over something he/she's just seen
_____ enjoys running, jumping, wrestling, or similar activities (older: show this in a
more restrained" way, e.g., woodworking, sewing, mechanics) or good fine-motor
coordination in other ways
_____ has a dramatic way of expressing himself/herself
_____ reports different physical sensations while thinking or working
_____ enjoys working with clay or other tactile experiences (e.g., finger-painting)
Other Bodily-Kinesthetic Strengths:
_____ tells you when music sounds off-key or disturbing in some way other way
_____ remembers melodies of songs
_____ has a good singing voice
_____ plays a musical instrument or sings in choir or other group (preschool: enjoys
playing percussion instruments and/or singing in a group)
_____ has a rhythmic way of speaking and/or moving
_____ unconsciously hums to himself/herself
_____ taps rhythmically on the table or desks as he/she works
_____ sensitive to environmental noises (e.g., rain on the roof)
MULTIPLE INTELLIGENCES: STRATEGIES IN THE CLASSROOM
creative movement, mime
competitive and cooperative games
physical awareness and relaxation exercises
all hands-on activities
use of kinesthetic imagery --Books
cooking, gardening, and other "messy" activities
describe concepts with Elements of Dance based on Labon’s Movement
physical education activities
communicating with body language/ hand signals
tactile materials and experiences use of props
body answers /gestures
Kinesthetic Intelligence flourishes in engaging spaces.
Simple suggestions for maximizing your movement and music
1. Put a full-length mirror in the area. Children love to watch themselves make
shapes and move.
2. Add pictures and text of body parts and actions.
3. Tape different pathways on the floor with tape. Put paper and marker nearby so
that they can draw their own movement pathways.
4. Put pipe cleaners out and encourage children to bend them into shaped and try and
put yourself into the shapes you created. I call this the human pretzels.
5. Talking instruments. Don’t leave all the instruments out a one time. Put
contrasting sounding instruments out together. Maybe a triangle and sand blocks.
Try putting three or four of the same type of instruments out but in different sizes
6. Make sure you have things to can go over, around, between, through, in, on or
Here are some of my favorite books and poems that lend
themselves to creative movement.
1. Swimmy, By Leo Lionni
This is a story of an adventurous fish and his sea creature friend who darts, floats,
push and much more.
2. The Run Away Bunny, By Margaret Wise Brown
This is a great book about a mother bunny and her baby. The baby bunny
imagines different ways to run away but the mommy always knows how to get
3. Where the Wild Things Are, By Maurice Sendak
This book is full of move ideas like angry shapes and actions, sailing boats,
growing vines, Wild Rumpus and finally the safety and love of your home.
4. The Tiny Seed, By Eric Carl
Full of images of a seed’s travel through the air and finally its landing and
5. My Shadow, By Robert Louis Stevenson. This is great for mirroring and
Labon’s Movement Analysis Incorporating the Elements of Movement
Who? what? where? when? How?
A student moves Through space And time With
BODY ACTION SPACE TIME ENERGY
legs Non-locomotor Metered:
e Parts (axial):
stretch of tempo sudden/sustained
bend the Size: large small narrow accent
twist wide rhythmic pattern Weight:
turn Strength: push,
rise Level: High / medium / low Free Rhythm: horizontal,
fall breath impacted
Head, eyes, face, shoulders, swing open score impact
Place: on the spot (personal
ringers, torso, , feet, etc. rock sensed time Lightness: resist
tip through the space (general improvisation The down-
Whole Body: shake initiate up
body shape Clock Time: Resiliency:
symmetrical/asymmetrical Locomotor (traveling): seconds rebound, even up
rounded slide minutes and down
twisted walk hours up and down
angular hop Flow:
arabesque somersault Timing free,
run Orientation: facing relationships: bound
body systems: skip before balanced
muscles jump after neutral
bones leap unison
organs roll sooner than Quality:
breath crawl faster than flowing
Relationships: in front
balance gallop tight
behind over under
reflexes chainé turns loose
individual & group proximity to
Movement Analysis Worksheet
Theme or Topic to be explored ____________________.
List at least 10 sub ideas about your Topic
Select one area from above to expand on.
Select one idea from above to create activities for movement experiences.
Movement Analysis Using Elements of Dance