Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Online Philosophy for Children course

The Institute for the Advancement for Philosophy for Children, in Montclair, New Jersey, is offering a fall online class on "Teaching Children Philosophical Thinking." Here is the description of the class:

This innovative course prepares teachers and philosophers to facilitate philosophical dialogue with children and adolescents, in classroom settings and elsewhere. The course is suitable for both beginners and those who wish to build on their current practice and extend their knowledge. Participants will study the theory of Philosophy for Children, engage in an online philosophical community of inquiry, and experiment with Philosophy for Children practices in their own classrooms.

I do not have any experience with the IAPC online courses, but I have attended IAPC seminars in New Jersey in the past and they were marvelous and very inspiring.

More information about the online course can be found on the IAPC website at: http://frontpage.montclair.edu/iapc/OnlineCourseFlyer.htm

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Solar Eclipse

Nothing there is beyond hope, nothing that can be sworn impossible, nothing wonderful, since Zeus, father of the Olympians, made night from mid-day, hiding the light of the shining Sun, and sore fear came upon men.
Archilochus (description of the total solar eclipse of April 6, 648 BCE)

A complete solar eclipse will take place Wednesday morning (July 22) that will last for six minutes and 39 seconds, the longest solar eclipse of the 21st century. Those of not in the far East will be able to watch live webcasts of the event (information at http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2009/20jul_longestsolareclipse.htm?list3658).

There won't be another eclipse like this in the lifetime of anyone now living. And those 12 decades just a blip in cosmic time. A wonderful inspiration for discussions about the nature of time and the wonder of the universe with students.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


Let Evening Come

Let the light of late afternoon
shine through chinks in the barn, moving
up the bales as the sun moves down.

Let the cricket take up chafing
as a woman takes up her needles
and her yarn. Let evening come.

Let dew collect on the hoe abandoned
in long grass. Let the stars appear
and the moon disclose her silver horn.

Let the fox go back to its sandy den.
Let the wind die down. Let the shed
go black inside. Let evening come.

To the bottle in the ditch, to the scoop
in the oats, to air in the lung
let evening come.

Let it come, as it will, and don't
be afraid. God does not leave us
comfortless, so let evening come.

Jane Kenyon

July Birthdays
July 1 Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (German, born 1646)
July 12 Henry David Thoreau (American, born 1817)
July 15 Jacques Derrida (Algerian-French, born 1930) and Richard Cumberland (British, born 1631)
July 17 Alexius Meinong (Austrian, born 1853)
July 18 Immanuel Fichte (German, born 1797) and Thomas Kuhn (American, born 1922)
July 19 Herbert Marcuse (German, born 1898)
July 28 Ernst Cassirer (German, born 1874), Ludwig Feuerbach (German, born 1804), and Karl Popper (Austrian-British, born 1902)
July 29 Jean Baudrillard (French, born 1929)
July 31 Hilary Putnam (American, born 1926) and John Searle (American, born 1932)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Stormy Night

I have used Michele Lemieux's book Stormy Night in elementary school philosophy classes. It’s a great resource for an introductory session to help the students start to recognize philosophical questions and to think about the questions they have.

Stormy Night is wonderfully illustrated with black and white line drawings. It starts off with a young girl going to bed. Kept awake by a storm, she lies there, thinking, “I can’t sleep! Too many questions are buzzing through my head.” All of us, including children, know this feeling.

The remainder of the book is filled with this young girl's questions and her thoughts about life and death, and their illustrations. “Where does infinity end?” “Is there only one of me in the world?” “Will I always make the right decisions? And how will I know if they’re right?” “Will I know when it’s time to die?”