Teachers

“I freely confess: It was the objection of David Hume which first, many years ago, interrupted my dog-matic slumber” (Philosopher Immanuel Kant)”

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*** Star Wars offers the image of the Teacher: Think of the wise, respected, and mysterious martial arts Teacher, and the focused, eager, and respectful student/learner.

Dear Teachers:

One of the difficulties in teaching citizenship, multiculturalism, and pluralism is integrating into lessons resources that are effective at encouraging differentiated instruction and fostering creative and critical thinking while being truly cross curricular and engaging.  I think you will find a springboard for all those things at this site as a whole.  Our goal here is not simply to provide set units and lesson plans, but rather offer a springboard from which lessons and rubrics can be drafted with students, grade/division teams, etc. 

There are a wealth of freely available creative and critical thinking resources from school boards and the web, so it is just a question of integrating them into lesson and unit building. If students are to be assessed on their creative and critical thinking skills, these need to be explicitly taught and modeled.

Darth Plagueis The Wise: Teacher of Darth Sidious

*** image fair Use Wiki: https://starwars.fandom.com/wiki/Darth_Plagueis?file=DarthPlagueisHS-SWI130.jpg

Here are some of my favorite Lesson Building Resources:

  • CURRENT EVENTS: FFRF condemns death of 22-year-old Iranian for not wearing hijab
    The Freedom From Religion Foundation is speaking out against Iran for the killing of a young woman for not wearing the hijab. From the article: The notion of religion tied to the Iranian state in this theocracy — a reminder to Americans of what “One Nation Under God” really looks like — depends on female […]
  • New Kids BOOK: “Darwin & Hooker: A story of friendship, curiosity and discovery that changed the world”
    The description of the book is as follows: On 24th November 1859, Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species was first published, selling out almost immediately. Describing the now well known theory that humans evolved through a process called natural selection, it became an instant classic and cemented Darwin as one of the greatest biologists of all […]
  • The Little Mermaid
    It’s amazing that Disney putting out a black princess Ariel, the little mermaid, would cause controversy and backlash, but some people are upset. For people who “can’t see” a black person in the role of princess Ariel, do you think this would extend to other possibilities?
  • Who is better?
    Questions: Is someone a better person if they do the right thing because they think they’ll get a reward, or if they just do it because they want to do the right thing? Is someone a better person who doesn’t do bad stuff because they think they’re going to get in trouble, or because they […]
  • New Paths In The Origin Of Life Debate Part 2: FOR KIDS, The Miller-Urey experiment.
    Religions often teach a god or gods created life, because living things can’t come from unliving things. But this isn’t true. Consider the Miller-Urey experiment: This animation was sponsored by the Center for Chemical Evolution, NSF, and NASA The Miller-Urey experiment was the first attempt to scientifically explore ideas about the origin of life. Stanley […]
  • If Secular Web Kids Promotes Critical Thinking, What Is The Alternative?
    As an educator, my goal is to promote critical thinking, which I think naturally leads to secularism. However, if a child’s exploration of thinking leads to religiousness, then that’s fine too. The point is to level the playing field to let the truth speak to kids as honestly as it can. What’s the alternative? Dr. […]
  • Is It Important To Be Able To Explain Your Thinking?
    You know, for instance, in math, you should be able to explain your thinking. So, it’s not enough to “know” 3X2=6, but you need to illustrate it, perhaps with manipulatives: you make groups of three with blocks, select two of those groups, and you get six total things. Is it a problem that this child […]
  • Letter To A Christian Parent
    With the title of this post, I have in mind prominent secularist Sam Harris and his book “Letter To A Christian Nation.” Letter to a Christian Nation is a 2006 book by Sam Harris, written in response to feedback he received following the publication of his first book The End of Faith. The book is […]
  • Grooming Minds: Indoctrination vs Argumentation
    “Give me a child until he is 7 and I will show you the man.” (Aristotle) Is difference between this above child and the more mild cases of religious upbringing of children we see  one of degree, or of kind.  Picture a child who is not vocal like this one, but holds similar or more […]
  • The Firmament
    Ancient historians invented speeches and put them on the lips of famous figures because they thought the speeches would be like what the famous people would have said. Similarly, the Greeks invented the story of Helios dragging the sun across the sky because to them that sounded reasonable and made sense of the phenomenon. Similarly, […]
  • Talking to Kids About Morality Without God
    One thing you sometimes hear is that without God there could be no objective morality (the oughts), because if moral rules/principles don’t get their authority from God, where could their authority come from? Of course, this way of thinking is wrong. Children from a very young age understand what being a “friend” means without God […]
  • Create An Internet Independent Study Project Landing Page and Branch Pages In Response To An Inquiry Question (high school level)
    Sample Inquiry Question: “If Jesus was an apocalyptic prophet predicting the soon end of the age, why the major emphasis on personal and societal growth and transformation?” 2. Sample Product: Click on laughing Jesus below to enter the project! Create A Checklist For Your Project. Here is a sample checklist: source: free for teachers from […]
  • Treat Your Kids Like the Little Philosophers They Are
    Great new article suggesting to treat kids like philosophers: https://time.com/6177632/parenting-kids-how-to-raise/ Here’s an excerpt: I hope the kids continue to have those sorts of conversations. I want them to think deeply about the world, to ponder big ideas, like truth, justice, and God. But the research suggests that those conversations are likely to trail off as […]
  • A Great New Resource About Kids And Philosophy
  • Great Resource for Parents/Guardians/Teacher: Philosophy For Kids Site
    https://www.philosophy-foundation.org/philosophy-for-children
  • UNDERSTANDING HUMANISM: New Resource Site For Teaching Kids About Humanism
    https://understandinghumanism.org.uk/
  • Inquiry Questions and Metacognition
    One of the most important goals of teaching is fostering “Metacognition,” making implicit student thinking processes explicit for the students. One approach to this is teaching Inquiry Questions. All student work is going to be an answer to questions, and so getting students to become aware of the questions they are answering helps to create […]
  • Thinking about the difference between Conservative and Liberal Christians
    There is a big controversy about whether conservative Christians, or liberal Christians, are better interpreters of the message of Jesus. There is a massive amount of literature about this, but perhaps an easy way to help to begin talking to your students about it is this: Conservative Christians: The idea is there is basically something […]
  • Background For Teachers On The Argument For God’s Existence From Beauty
    Of the traditional arguments trying to prove the existence of God (ontological argument, cosmological argument, argument from design, and argument from beauty), the argument from beauty is one of the most popular, persuasive, and easy to understand. For instance, surely the beautiful image below is evidence of a divine artist … In helping students question […]
  • Possible Topic For Kids and Philosophy: Voting
    Queen’s Gate Junior School. Should people be forced to vote? What makes a vote fair? Is a vote a fair way to make a decision?🗳Questions which are being debated by III Form in their @philosophyfound workshop this afternoon.
  • Education and Censorship
    This is a recent post by Jeana Jorgensen, who studied folklore under Alan Dundes at the University of California, Berkeley, and went on to earn her PhD in folklore from Indiana University. She addresses the issue of censorship in education. Also, consider this, because all religious people don’t look at this issue in the same […]
  • Warm up puzzles for a class on Critical Thinking
    These have been shared by philosopher Garrett Pendergraft 1 The Bridge Riddle 2 Coming and Going In 1978 the Chronicle of Higher Education mentioned an old exam question: Q. How far can a dog run into the woods? A. Halfway. The rest of the time he is running out. Harvard’s Richard E. Baym wrote in to take […]
  • Background Information For Teachers On The Cosmological Argument
    The cosmological argument basically says something like: I have parents, and my parents had parents, and so on in time back to the beginning of the universe, asking how the materials that made up The Big Bang got there in the first place? The theist says we must posit God as creator to start the […]
  • Organizer For Teachers Addressing Theistic Arguments With Kids
    Catholic thinker John Buck has shared this helpful graphic as one example of how different theistic arguments rank as evidence in favor of God/theism. This chart is helpful in planning a secularism unit, and in helping students understand that different arguments carry with them different weight in tipping the scales toward theism or secularism. There […]
  • Article on The Question Of Teaching Respectful Citizenship In Schools (In The Face Of Objections, Such As Religious Ones)
    This article examines the question of schools teaching students to be respectful citizens with a view to universal human rights. From the article: “Teaching tolerance in schools cannot avoid controversy” “The children’s picture book And Tango Makes Three (2005) tells the true story of two male penguins who raise a chick together at a New York zoo. Initially […]
  • ** 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 […]
  • (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 […]
  • (C2) Creative/Critical Thinking Checklists:
    This Venn Diagram below may be helpful in generating Creative/Critical Thinking checklists to assess/evaluate student learning:
  • (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 […]
  • (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 […]
  • (B5) LESSON PLANNING: MIND MAPS
    A visual alternative to products like essays, mind maps and concept maps can be highly effective at showing student thinking. (B5) Mind Maps/Concept Maps see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mind_map
  • (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, […]
  • (B3) LESSON PLANNING: DE BONO’S 6 THINKING HATS
    HAT OVERVIEW TECHNIQUE BLUE “The Big Picture” & Managing CAF (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 ACTIVITY HAT SEQUENCE Initial Ideas Blue, White, 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 […]
  • (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 […]
  • (1) CURRICULUM CONNECTIONS
    (A) Curriculum Connections Consider the Ontario, Canada, diversity and pluralism in education directive (2009): http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/policyfunding/equity.pdf.   From the document it says: Religion: By 2017, about one-fifth of our population will bemembers of diverse faith communities including Islam, Hinduism,Buddhism, and Judaism, in addition to a growing number of individuals without a religious affiliation (8) Curriculum and Courses – Revised curriculum policy […]