Harley stood nervously in front of his class and read out loud the quotation he had found:
** “In consequence, if the world is beautiful, that fact would be evidence for God’s existence.” (Swinburne, Richard, The Existence of God, OUP, 2nd Edition, 2004,)
“So,” Harley said, “for my reader response to this quote I would like to read a short poem I wrote.”
Harley took a deep breath, remembering as best he could, and recited his poem about The Fall Season:
Such a lovely time is Fall
Treats and pumpkins, masks and all.
Gorgeous colors on the trees
No doubt that God painted the leaves.
Or are the colors really masks
Secrets for someone who asks?
Such a lovely time is Fall
Playing in the leaves that fall.
Harley’s teacher thanked him, and mentioned his poem seemed to have a hidden meaning. Harley chuckled and said:
“The only thing difficult about my poem was remembering all those lines!”
(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.”
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!
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.
This Venn Diagram below may be helpful in generating Creative/Critical Thinking checklists to assess/evaluate student learning:
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!
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
(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. 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?)