Epitaphs are not just cute to use around Halloween but can be a great way to allow students to use small pieces of content and critically think.
An epitaph is written on a gravestone. You might be surprised that epitaph activities can work in most subject areas. For instance, in Social Studies an epitaph can be used for a historical person. In Science, it could be for the extinction of a species. In math, a symbol like the division sign can be used. In Language Arts, a character from a book in a story might need an epitaph.
Epitaph activities use multiple intelligence learning styles. The following are used:
- Spatial Multiple Intelligence Learning Style: decorating the grave stone to match the content
- Linguistic Multiple Intelligence Learning Style: writing the epitaph
- Intrapersonal and Interpersonal Multiple Intelligence Learning Styles: allow students to choose how they work on this; individually or with a partner
An epitaph activity can be used to differentiate instruction. Here are two ways you can differentiate instruction for an epitaph activity:
- Multiple Intelligence Learning Styles: Teachers can give their students choices of activities that use different multiple intelligence learning styles and the same content. http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Kasha-Mastrodomenico offers over 50 activity templates with rubrics to help teachers differentiate instruction quickly.
- Leveling/Tiering/Scaffolding: Students with a lower ability level will often need more guidance. Teachers can list, in simple text, the content that needs to be used in the epitaph. They still need to use their critical thinking skills to come up with the epitaph. Teachers can also state exactly what decorations should be put on the gravestone. That way they only have to deal with how to draw it. You could also provide clip art, already cut out, that they could just paste on. It still works as a visual component. Students at a very high ability level could use humor or an emotion in the epitaph to increase the amount of critical thinking.
Teachers need to make sure that when they plan for differentiated instruction that each student is using the same content. They also must all be challenged at their own level with with their own multiple intelligence learning style.