Observation Guidelines: Seeing Intelligence in Children's Daily Behavior
Problem-solving, cognitive skills, and curiosity are just a few of the many signs of intelligence that your child exhibits everyday. Observe intelligence in your child by looking for these characteristics and more.
Oral Language Skills
- Sophisticated vocabulary
- Colorful speech
- Creative storytelling
- Clever jokes and puns
LaMarr entertains his friends with clever “Your momma’s so fat . . . ” jokes.
Look for unusual creativity or advanced language development in children’s everyday speech.
- Ability to learn new information quickly
- Exceptional knowledge about a variety of topics
- Ability to find relationships among diverse ideas
- Excellent memory
Four-year-old Gina teaches herself to read using several reading primers she finds at home. Initially, her mother identifies a few words for her. From these words she deduces many letter-sound correspondences that enable her to decipher additional words.
Make note of situations in which children learn and comprehend new material more quickly than their peers. Look for creative analogies and interconnections.
- Ability to solve challenging problems
- Flexibility in applying previously learned strategies to new kinds of problems
- Ability to improvise with commonplace objects and materials
A fourth-grade class plans to perform a skit during an upcoming open house. When the children puzzle about how to hang a sheet from the ceiling (to serve as a stage curtain), Jeff suggests that they turn their desks to face the side of the classroom rather than the front. This way, the sheet can be hung from a light fixture that runs the length of the room.
Present unusual tasks and problems for which children have no ready-made strategies.
Cognitive and Metacognitive Strategies
- Use of sophisticated learning strategies
- Desire to understand rather than memorize
- Effective comprehension monitoring
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