Yesterday in an online philosophy session, the children and I played a game created by my colleague David Shapiro, the “Reality Scavenger Hunt.” This has been a popular philosophy prompt for years, and since the pandemic began, I have been adapting the game for virtual settings. First, I divide the children up into groups of 3-5 … Reality Scavenger Hunt
In a couple of final 2020 Zoom classes with a group of fifth grade students, we played a version of the “Reality Scavenger Hunt,” a game my colleague David Shapiro created. In small groups, the students come up with examples that fit into these five categories: 1. Something that isn’t real but seems to be … Is “everything” real?
Earlier this year I had a conversation with a classroom of fourth grade students about death. It began when we read a chapter from Natalie Babbit’s Tuck Everlasting, which raises interesting questions about death, living a mortal life, and the possibility of becoming immortal. I have posted about this book in the past. The students wondered … Reflections about Death
Recently I read a chapter (Chaper 12) from the young adult novel Tuck Everlasting, by Natalie Babbit, to a class of fifth grade students at John Muir Elementary School in Seattle. I was surprised that almost none of the students had heard of this classic work.Tuck Everlasting is the story of the Tuck family, a … Tuck Everlasting
Can we control our feelings? Our perceptions? Does how we feel affect what happens in the world?When Lions Roar, a simple picture book by Robie Harris, depicts how scary the world can feel when “lions roar,” “thunder booms,” “big dogs bark,” “mommies holler,” and so on. The child in the story responds, “I sit right … When Lions Roar
Soap! Soap! Don’t Forget the Soap! is an Appalachian folktale, brought to life in a great read-aloud picture book by Tom Birdseye with illustrations by Andrew Glass. The story’s main character, Pug, is a young boy “with such a poor memory some say he’d forget his own name.” One day Pug’s mother, who believes in … Soap! Soap! Don’t Forget the Soap!
Leo Lionni’s Pezzettino is the story of the small Pezzettino (which means “little piece” in Italian), who is a small orange square surrounded by other beings who are all made up of many different-colored squares. Pezzettino observes that everyone around him is “big and [does] daring and wonderful things.” He concludes that he must be … Pezzettino
Let’s Do Nothing by Toby Fucile illustrates the perplexity of the concept of nothing. The book tells the story of two boys who, after concluding that they have “done it all,” decide to do nothing. The trouble is that doing nothing is not easy. If you blink, you’re not doing nothing. If you open your … Let’s Do Nothing!
In The Hole by Øyvind Torseter, a man is moving into a new home, and he notices a hole in the apartment. The hole seems to move around, appearing in a wall, on the floor, in a door, etc. The man makes a phone call, saying, “I’ve found a hole . . . in my apartment . . . … The Hole
Levi Pinfold’s Black Dog tells the story of a black dog that arrives outside a family’s home one morning. The father in the family wakes up first and calls the police, reporting that, “There’s a black dog the size of a tiger outside my house!” The police officer tells him not to go outside. The mother … Black Dog