One of the reasons I keep a blog is because I have a horrible memory. It’s nice to go back in time every once in awhile and look at the posts I wrote so I can rediscover some great resources. Luke Neff’s Writing Prompts site is one of those tools. I originally mentioned the site in 2011. Neff takes interesting images or quotes, and creates unusual, thought-provoking prompts for older students. I revisited the site yesterday, and found a prompt that really resonated. I want so much for my students to question and to use critical thinking skills. This prompt may activate some lively discussion in my class – which is what I am aiming for!
For my list of my favorite online writing tools in 2011 (before Google Docs existed!), click here.
As our school year begins to wind down, my 5th grade gifted students are attempting to synthesize all that they have learned by determining what they “know for sure.” While browsing the examples on Laura Moore’s TCEA Hyperdoc website (click here for my original post about her Hyperdoc presentation), I found this “Manifesto Project.” When I showed it to my students, they were excited about designing their own manifestos. We did a lot of brainstorming and discussion before the students started working on Canva. The examples I am showing you are just rough drafts (including mine), but I think they are off to a great start! Knowing the personalities of these students, I am very impressed by how the students were careful to choose words and designs that really reflect their values and beliefs.
I remarked that it might be fun to make each manifesto into a t-shirt, and the students got super excited about the idea. So, if anyone has done something like that before, please give me suggestions in the comments below!
If you are interested in more ideas for using Canva in the classroom, here is a link to their lesson suggestions.
After jumping into a rabbit hole in the form of this article about a recent study showing positive effects related to teaching philosophy to children, I found a website that I wish I’d discovered at least 6 months ago. Your Logical Fallacy Is… details the erroneous but persuasive arguments that many propagandists use, from politicians to advertisers. The site makes it quite easy to “call someone out” by offering the tools to identify and share specific logical fallacies through social networks. Just click on the icon for a particular logical fallacy on the home page, and it will take you to a page describing the fallacy along with an example. Teachers might also be interested in the free, downloadable poster, which gives short summaries of each of the twenty-four fallacies defined on the site.
In this era of “false news” and an overabundance of information to sift through, teaching our students to think critically is vital. It’s nice to see studies that suggest that teaching philosophy might improve student performance in areas such as reading and math, but neither of those skills are of much use to students who don’t know how to determine what is valid and what is a smokescreen.
(For more resources on using philosophy in the classroom, you can also read this post and this one.
Is the pen mightier than the sword? I think you may guess where I side when it comes to that question – but it’s how our students feel that matters to the folks at the Kids Philosophy Slam. Students from K-12 are invited to submit their responses to the prompt by March 10, 2017. You can read about the rules for each category here.
If you are looking for resources on philosophy to use with your students, “Teaching Children Philosophy” may be a great place to start. For this particular topic, you might want to try the “Ethics” page.
This is going to be an awesome resource for me to use with my 4th and 5th grade GT students. I will let Richard tell you the details, but suffice it to say that it is a great way to encourage deep discussion in your class, and offers downloadable texts that you can use to tantalize your students with philosophical questions.
I plan to use this with Socratic Smackdown (which I also found out about from Richard). Socratic Smackdown has been a great success in my classroom and CommonLit will augment it even more.
You might also want to consider using some of the CommonLit themes to enrich your students’ writing if they are participating in this year’s Philosophy Slam (deadline is 3/6/15). The “Social Change and Revolution” theme on CommonLit could definitely help students determine if violence or compassion has a greater impact on society.
There was a link to this lesson in the most recent TED Ed newsletter, and I immediately jumped at the challenge. I’m a bit competitive sometimes;)
I will say that I did solve it before the solution was revealed on the video, but it probably would have taken me as long as anyone else if I wasn’t able to view the clips of people guessing incorrectly.