George Lucas Educational Foundation

Multiple Intelligences Thrive in Smartville

At the Enota Multiple Intelligences Academy, in Gainesville, Georgia, students know exactly how they are smart. Read the article.
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Teacher: We're going to use our bodies while we sing. We're going to do smarts at one time.

Narrator: At Enota Multiple Intelligences Academy in Gainesville, Georgia the question is not "How smart are you?" The question is "How are you smart?"

Student: The word "smart"? Because I love to read and I love to write.

Student: I am mostly visual smart.

Student: I'm body smart because I like sports and to dance.

Student: I'm nature smart and people smart.

Student: Because if it was only a one-smart school at least if I didn't know something it wouldn't make me feel like a total idiot.

Narrator: Enota Elementary is one of a handful of schools in America with curriculum based on the theory of multiple intelligences. The theory suggests that there are eight different ways in which humans learn. It was developed by Dr. Howard Gardner.

Howard: If we all had exactly the same kind of mind and there was only one kind of intelligence, then we could teach everybody the same thing in the same way and assess them in the same way and that would be fair. But once we realized that people had very different kinds of minds, different kinds of strengths, some people are good in thinking spatially, some people are good in thinking language, other people are very logical, other people need to do hands-on, they need to actually explore actively and try things out. Once we realized that, then education which treats everybody the same way is actually the most unfair education.

Amy: Which continent did you choose?

Narrator: In Amy Anderson's first grade class, students work at various stations that utilize different smarts.

Amy: My job is never boring. It's always exciting to see what the children are going to ring to the lesson because I'm allowing them to put their whole selves into it.

Students: Three.

Student: Three.

Student: Three.

Amy: I try to give children an opportunity to practice all their smarts because they're still learning about themselves and still deciding what it is they feel best about.

Amy: I have a group in the hall and they are using their music smart so that they can practice naming continents and oceans and their locations in the world.

Student: This is flip-book and then we put the cities and the states.

Amy: Then they're using the work that's already been done in the hall and transferring that to a flip-book that they can illustrate using their picture smart.

Student: Five.

Amy: Another group is working on math facts using dominoes so that they can use their picture smart and their logic smart.

Student: Oh!

Amy: And then I had a third group that's using their body smart to throw the checkers at the target and then record their number using their logic smart on the board.

Student: And then a one.

Amy: So we try to allow children to shine in the things that they truly feel good about, and if we find that thing that they feel most confident doing, then we can use that to help them achieve other milestones.

Donna: The Georgia Performance Standards are state and mandate standards that students have to master before being promoted to the next grade level. Multiple intelligences allow teachers to teach those standards in a variety of ways so that students can actually understand them and the way that a teacher can grade that is not necessarily by a letter grade but more so with a rubric that really goes into detail about what that child has mastered.

Teacher: Remember you're just working it through, confirming your answers at the end.

Narrator: Pre and post-tests given every nine weeks help teachers plan each child's individual learning strategy.

Donna: Everything is individualized for a particular student because as we all know students learn at various paces. And so the pre and post-tests allows us to get a great feel of what the students have mastered and what they haven't mastered.

Teacher: What were those called?

Student: Figurative.

Teacher: It was a figurative language, do you remember which one?

Student: Um, simile.

Teacher: Similes, good, Dusty.

Susan: I look at the diversity and this population. We have non-English speaking students, non-English speaking parents. Economically disadvantaged students, we have country club students. The test scores are better than any place I've seen in the state. We shouldn't look like this on paper, but you walk in a classroom and you see the quality of instruction and you see the multiple intelligences respected. You start understanding this is why we look good on paper.

Narrator: To expand on the smarts concept and make Enota a fun place to be, parents and staff turn the school into Smartville. The place where students get to see how their smarts might play out in adult roles.

Heather: We thought wouldn't a little city be a neat way for kids to just really excel and use their smarts and strengthen the smarts that maybe they're struggling with so that I think was the first birth of Smartville.

Narrator: Smartville has hallways with street names, a Central Park, a culinary academy.

Teacher: You're studying fractions in math, right? Alright we're going to work on our math smarts.

Narrator: A Metropolitan Museum of Smart. A Savings and Learn.

Student: We have pens and when you write with them it will change a color.

Narrator: A popular store.

Student: Which is the one we had to return to a sender?

Narrator: And a very busy post office.

Emmeline: You can kind of act like you're an adult and that's really cool and I feel like I have responsibilities and stuff.

Student: One cup?

Student: Yeah.

Amy: They're excited about learning each day and they're excited about showing what they know, not just making a grade on the test but actually saying "I can do this. Watch me."

Narrator: At the annual Multiple Intelligences Fair, Enota's kids get to strut their stuff for parents and the community.

Donna: The fair not only displays the talents that children have or a final product but it also brings out their multiple intelligences, their smarts. They want to show us how smart they are and so they showcase that during the MI Fair.

Student: The name of my poems is "The Hall Monitor and Me". I wrote this by myself.

Amy: Once you begin to think in the Multiple Intelligence's way, it becomes second nature, and once you've seen the benefits it's worth a little bit of extra work.

Student: 3 plus 6, 9.

Teacher: Good.

Narrator: For more information on What Works in Public Education, go to

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Video Credits

Produced, Written, and Directed by

  • Carl Bidleman

Coordinating Producer

  • Amy Erin Borovoy


  • Karen Sutherland

Camera Crew

  • Michael Epstein
  • Perry Goodfriend

Location Production Assistant

  • Sara Bernard

Postproduction Assistant

  • Doug Keely


  • Kris Welch

Original Music

  • Ed Bogas

Executive Producer

  • Ken Ellis

Editor's Note (2015): Additional research is needed to understand the applications of Howard Gardner's theory of multiple intelligences in educational settings. Furthermore, a clear distinction should be made between multiple intelligences (how people process information) and learning styles (how people approach tasks differently). Research, however, does suggest that providing students with multiple ways to learn content improves learning (Hattie, 2011). Read more about the research on multiple intelligences and learning styles.

Editor's Note: Since this video was filmed in 2009, former principal Susan Culbreath has moved on to coordinate early learning at the district level for Gainesville City Schools, and former assistant principal Donna Allen has become principal of the district's 6th Grade Academy. Smartville is still flourishing under the leadership of principal Matt Maynor and assistant principal Jennifer Westbrook.

Comments (7) Sign in or register to comment Follow Subscribe to comments via RSS

Elana Leoni's picture
Elana Leoni
Edcamper, Former @Edutopia, Founder of Social Media Marketing Consultancy aimed at helping educational orgs.

Hi Wendy,

Although it's not an I.Q. test, we offer a free Multiple Intelligences Quiz where you can discover your learning style. Check it out:

[quote]I don't suppose there is a free online I. Q. test? Does anyone know? Wendy[/quote]

Donald Cresap Sr.'s picture
Donald Cresap Sr.
Student at Ashford University

Wow! I find this type of learning very intreging. I have in my life observer many people with different learning styles. I have thought about what make different people learn in different ways. I have alway known that their are people who are very smart. The way we measured their intellegence did not help them to disscover their talents. This is fantastic! I have know people who can not read but, could tell you the size of a bolt from across the room. They just use their intellegence in a different way. I have also known people with 4.5 grade ave and had very little common sense. This looks like it could put some of those talents together.

sylvia reyes's picture

Yes there's free IQ tests on Learning Styles, Mulitple Intelligences and several other types. I just took one on Learning Style and got my Results. pretty nice .

deborah cantu's picture
deborah cantu
Certified Medical Assistant, Security Officer, Provider.

I think the Multiple Intelligence Academy is great. It gives children with different learning skills to learn the way that is easiest for them. I love seeing the children in the video interacting in the town that is made especially for them.

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