Philosophical Conversations Through Children’s Literature
Philosophy and Children’s Literature, a website created by the Center for Philosophy for Children at University of Washington, provides literature lesson plans for more than 100 children’s books geared toward elementary-school-aged students. The lesson plans suggest questions to consider when reading the stories. The lists of possible discussion questions are meant to provide ideas for teachers preparing to use these books to help generate classroom philosophical conversations; they are not intended to replace asking students what questions the stories raise for them and ensuring that the discussions emerge from the students’ questions. The books can also be used with middle school and high school students, with adaptations of the questions.
Plus: The PLATO Philosophy Learning and Teaching Organization offers the Philosopher’s Toolkit, which has a variety of free lesson plans that can be used to lead philosophical discussions among pre-college students. Clicking on one of the Philosophy Tools leads to a set of lessonson that particular topic. Some are subject-area specific (History, Languages & Literature, Math, Science, Social Studies), whereas others are more general (Philosophy, Art & Aesthetics, Film). Each lesson plan indicates the grade level for which it is appropriate.
Every March the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) hosts a March Madness Poetry Tournament. The idea is to create a basketball-tournament pairing chart like the NCAA does each year in March but using poetry, and to determine a final winner by reading the poems.
Integrating portraiture into the classroom provides exciting opportunities to connect students with history, biography, visual art, and many other subjects. The National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC, is offering two opportunities to attend a summer institute in 2018: June25–29 or July 9–13.