** 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) LESSON PLANNING: DEVIL’S ADVOCATE

(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) LESSON PLANNING: MULTIPLE INTELLIGENCES

(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.

Visual-spatial

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.

Linguistic-verbal

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.

Logical-mathematical

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)

Bodily-kinesthetic

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.

Interpersonal

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.

Intrapersonal

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.

Naturalistic

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.

Existential

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?)

(B3) LESSON PLANNING: DE BONO’S 6 THINKING HATS

HATOVERVIEWTECHNIQUE
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
YELLOW“Positive”PMI
GREEN“New Ideas”Concept Challenge; Yes, No, Po
ACTIVITYHAT SEQUENCE
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

(B2) LESSON PLANNING: SCAMPER

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)

(B1) LESSON PLANNING: BLOOM’S TAXONOMY

(B 1) BLOOM’S TAXONOMY

1 Knowledge

Knowledge involves recognizing or remembering facts, terms, basic concepts, or answers without necessarily understanding what they mean. Its characteristics may include:

  • Knowledge of specifics—terminology, specific facts
  • Knowledge of ways and means of dealing with specifics—conventions, trends and sequences, classifications and categories
  • Knowledge of the universals and abstractions in a field—principles and generalizations, theories and structures

Example: Name three common varieties of apple.

Comprehension

Comprehension involves demonstrating an understanding of facts and ideas by organizing, summarizing, translating, generalizing, giving descriptions, and stating the main ideas.

Example: Summarize the identifying characteristics of a Golden Delicious apple and a Granny Smith apple.

Application

Application involves using acquired knowledge—solving problems in new situations by applying acquired knowledge, facts, techniques and rules. Learners should be able to use prior knowledge to solve problems, identify connections and relationships and how they apply in new situations.

Example: Would apples prevent scurvy, a disease caused by a deficiency in vitamin C?

Analysis

Analysis involves examining and breaking information into component parts, determining how the parts relate to one another, identifying motives or causes, making inferences, and finding evidence to support generalizations. Its characteristics include:

  • Analysis of elements
  • Analysis of relationships
  • Analysis of organization

Example: Compare and contrast four ways of serving foods made with apples and examine which ones have the highest health benefits.

Synthesis

Synthesis involves building a structure or pattern from diverse elements; it also refers to the act of putting parts together to form a whole. Its characteristics include:

  • Production of a unique communication
  • Production of a plan, or proposed set of operations
  • Derivation of a set of abstract relations

Example: Convert an “unhealthy” recipe for apple pie to a “healthy” recipe by replacing your choice of ingredients. Argue for the health benefits of using the ingredients you chose versus the original ones.

Evaluation

Evaluation involves presenting and defending opinions by making judgments about information, the validity of ideas, or quality of work based on a set of criteria. Its characteristics include:

  • Judgments in terms of internal evidence
  • Judgments in terms of external criteria

Example: Which kinds of apples are best for baking a pie, and why?

(see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bloom%27s_taxonomy)