(5) Darth Harley Begins To Think About Christianity

(5) Darth Harley begins to think about Christianity:

Harley sat in his bed with his mom and talked about his day at school.

H: In Social Studies we started to learn about Christianity.  They think God raised Jesus from the dead and that he appeared to his followers.

M:  Do you think God cast a magic spell and raised Jesus from the dead?

H: I don’t know.  I think there are probably explanations that are better than supposing magic occurred.  Long ago they didn’t know what caused things to fall to the ground when dropped, but “magic” wouldn’t have been a good guess.

M: They say Jesus was missing from the tomb …

H Corpses can go missing from tombs without needing magic for an explanation.

M: They say the risen Jesus appeared to Peter, then the 12 apostles, then to 500 people a once …

H: It’s not uncommon for people to have unusual experiences when they are really hurting because of the loss of a loved one.  They may hear or see weird things, but that doesn’t mean it’s their loved one was brought back to life.

M: What about Jesus appearing to the 500 people at once …

H: It reminds me of the children predicting the miracle at Fatima, and then a huge crowd saw weird things in the sky.  I think it tells us more about how our minds plays tricks on us rather than thinking the Fatima miracle really happened.

M: They say the touched Jesus’ wounds …

H: Those were later stories that were trying to convince people Jesus really did die and come back to life. There’s no reason to think there were any early stories about people touching the resurrected Jesus.

Harley’s mom smiled: “So you’re not convinced Christianity is true?” she asked

“Not yet,” Harley replied. “Magic could have happened, but I think there are better explanations where we don’t have to use magic as an explanation to support our ideas.”

** Sample Teacher Inquiry Topic For Students: Secular Holidays and Religious Holy Days

We know that Christians, Jews, Muslims, etc have holidays when they celebrate their faith.  Do secular people have holidays they celebrate?  It’s an interesting question because even the word “holiday” originally meant “holy day,” and secular people don’t see a particular day as holy.  [And, there are a few words like that.  “Goodbye” originally meant “God be with you,” which is similar to French with the word for goodbye: adieu (to God)].

One popular candidate among some secular people for a special day is Darwin Day.  Darwin is special for many secular people because he argued that life wasn’t suddenly created complete and ready made as, for instance, the bible talks about in Genesis, but rather emerged naturally over a very long period of time as creatures evolved from simple forms to more complex forms.  The difference is between certain religious views that God, for instance, created humans ready made, and the scientific view that humans evolved and changed from earlier forms.  This is the accepted scientific theory, and many religious people now accept that humans evolved in this way. (interestingly, “creature” originally meant “created by God”)

Check out these books/sites on Darwin Day resources: https://darwinday.org/educate/

** Darth Harley says, when you are thinking about special days, remember Star Wars Day: May the 4th be with you!

(C3) Creative/Critical Thinking Anecdotal Notes.

One of the core tenants of modern teaching is accountability to one’s principal, students, and parents/guardians.  Anecdotal notes are a key piece in constructing a learner profile, identifying next steps, and communicating that data.  Such strategies can be invaluable in assessing/evaluating student products that are a result of a lengthy process, like a student created portfolio.

(C 1) Sample Creative And Critical Thinking Assessment Rubrics:

Ultimately, rubrics should be developed with students to foster a strong understanding/interest of expectations and achievement levels.  It is less than ideal to assess and evaluate students according to standards they don’t understand or unaware of, since the goal is not simply communicating a grade but helping the student to understand where they are and facilitate next steps.  These rubrics may inspire as a jumping off point for developing Creative And Critical Thinking Rubrics: See http://graduate.blogs.ccps.us/creative-thinking-rubric/

Critical Thinking Gr 3-5 Assessment Rubric: See https://my.pblworks.org/resource/document/3_5_critical_thinking_rubric_non_ccss


(B6) Debating with Oneself/Others: Devil’s Advocate

To say Darth Harley is on the Dark Side most importantly means he is more interested in Socratic Questions than building systems of answers.  The Devil’s Advocate used to be a traditional role in the Catholic church to see if there were problems with someone who was going to be made a Saint.  Today it usually means actively trying to disagree with something to see if it can withstand questioning/scrutiny.  Traditional school debating can help students develop their skills to ask questions and sniff out assumptions.  The important part isn’t just researching and presenting a side, since we can often come up with good cases for both sides (eg., liberal politics vs conservative politics), but more importantly learning how arguments are constructed and challenged so students can learn to have a critical rather than dog-matic approach.  Darth Harley barks at dog-mas!


(B4) Multiple Intelligences or Aptitudes

Teaching about secularism addresses a number of different areas, but especially “existential intelligence,” thinking about the Big Questions.

In Frames of Mind: The Theory of Multiple Intelligences (1983) and its sequels, Howard Gardner  proposed eight abilities that manifest multiple intelligences.

Musical-rhythmic and harmonic

This area of intelligence with sensitivity to the sounds, rhythms, and tones of music. People with musical intelligence normally have good pitch or might possess absolute pitch, and are able to sing, play musical instruments, and compose music. They have sensitivity to rhythm, pitch, meter, tone, melody or timbre.


This area deals with spatial judgment and the ability to visualize with the mind’s eye. Spatial ability is one of the three factors beneath g in the hierarchical model of intelligence.


People with high verbal-linguistic intelligence display a facility with words and languages. They are typically good at reading, writing, telling stories and memorizing words along with dates. Verbal ability is one of the most g-loaded abilities. This type of intelligence is measured with the Verbal IQ in WAIS-IV.


This area has to do with logic, abstractions, reasoning, numbers and critical thinking.[6] This also has to do with having the capacity to understand the underlying principles of some kind of causal system. Logical reasoning is closely linked to fluid intelligence and to general intelligence (q factor)


People who have high bodily-kinesthetic intelligence should be generally good at physical activities such as sports, dance and making things.

Gardner believes that careers that suit those with high bodily-kinesthetic intelligence include: athletes, dancers, musicians, actors, builders, police officers, and soldiers. Although these careers can be duplicated through virtual simulation, they will not produce the actual physical learning that is needed in this intelligence.


In theory, individuals who have high interpersonal intelligence are characterized by their sensitivity to others’ moods, feelings, temperaments, motivations, and their ability to cooperate to work as part of a group. According to Gardner in How Are Kids Smart: Multiple Intelligences in the Classroom, “Inter- and Intra- personal intelligence is often misunderstood with being extroverted or liking other people…” Those with high interpersonal intelligence communicate effectively and empathize easily with others, and may be either leaders or followers. They often enjoy discussion and debate.”

Gardner believes that careers that suit those with high interpersonal intelligence include, politicians, managers, teachers, lecturers,  and social workers.


This area has to do with introspective and self-reflective capacities. This refers to having a deep understanding of the self; what one’s strengths or weaknesses are, what makes one unique, being able to predict one’s own reactions or emotions.


Not part of Gardner’s original seven, naturalistic intelligence was proposed by him in 1995. “If I were to rewrite Frames of Mind today, I would probably add an eighth intelligence – the intelligence of the naturalist. It seems to me that the individual who is readily able to recognize flora and fauna, to make other consequential distinctions in the natural world, and to use this ability productively (in hunting, in farming, in biological science) is exercising an important intelligence and one that is not adequately encompassed in the current list.” This area has to do with nurturing and relating information to one’s natural surroundings. Examples include classifying natural forms such as animal and plant species and rocks and mountain types. This ability was clearly of value in our evolutionary past as hunters, gatherers, and farmers; it continues to be central in such roles as botanist or chef.

This sort of ecological receptiveness is deeply rooted in a “sensitive, ethical, and holistic understanding” of the world and its complexities – including the role of humanity within the greater ecosphere.


Gardner did not want to commit to a spiritual intelligence, but suggested that an “existential” intelligence may be a useful construct, also proposed after the original eight in his 1999 book. The hypothesis of an existential intelligence has been further explored by educational researchers. It means thinking about The Big Questions (eg., do gods exist?)


BLUE“The Big Picture” & ManagingCAF (Consider All Factors); FIP (First Important Priorities)
WHITE“Facts & Information”Information
RED“Feelings & Emotions”Emotions and Ego
BLACK“Negative”PMI (Plus, Minus, Interesting); Evaluation
GREEN“New Ideas”Concept Challenge; Yes, No, Po
Initial IdeasBlue, White, Green, Blue
Choosing between alternativesBlue, White, (Green), Yellow, Black, Red, Blue
Identifying SolutionsBlue, White, Black, Green, Blue
Quick FeedbackBlue, Black, Green, Blue
Strategic PlanningBlue, Yellow, Black, White, Blue, Green, Blue
Process ImprovementBlue, White, White (Other People’s Views), Yellow, Black, Green, Red, Blue
Solving ProblemsBlue, White, Green, Red, Yellow, Black, Green, Blue
Performance ReviewBlue, Red, White, Yellow, Black, Green, Blue


SCAMPER is an activity-based thinking process that can be performed by Cooperative Learning. Here the teacher assists the students in choosing a particular topic and helps them to develop it through a structured process. After choosing an idea, the students are given a tale where they perform the activity in steps corresponding to the letters in the name.

  • Substitute comes up with another topic that is equivalent to the present topics.
  • Combine adds information to the original topic.
  • Adjust identifies ways to construct the topic in a more flexible and adjusted material.
  • Modify, magnify, minify creatively changes the topic or makes a feature/idea bigger or smaller.
  • Put to other uses identifies the possible scenarios and situations where this topic can be used.
  • Eliminate removes ideas or elements from the topic that are not valuable.
  • Reverse, rearrange evolves a new concept from the original concept.

Hence, SCAMPER as a teaching strategy helps the students to analyze the knowledge in its creative form and helps the teacher to make teaching creative and interesting.

(see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SCAMPER)