My students need class sets of two phenomenal books to teach philosophy in an engaging and scaffolded way. They also need classpacks of markers for a philosophy project.
By the end of the year, I don't just want my students mastering 9th grade level reading and writing material, I want them to LOVE reading and writing too.
I teach 9th grade in a low-income public high school.
We used to be one of the most persistently dangerous high schools in the city. But, after a turn-around initiative, we are gradually changing the culture of the school so our students are engaging in rigorous high school curricula and enjoying it too!
My students work tirelessly day in and day out to improve their reading and writing levels. They are years behind in skills, but I'm a firm believer that I must nourish my students efforts with interesting and engaging reading and writing activities and lessons. I don't JUST differentiate based on reading and writing level, but interest too.
The first book, Philosophy: A Discovery in Comics, is an amazing read. It uses comics to breakdown the various branches of philosophy. I've purchased a few copies and circulated it among my student, and they really enjoyed sharing the ideas from the book with other classmates.
The second book, The Philosophy Book (Big Ideas, Simply Explained), uses visuals, biographies of philosophers, and many short chapters to provide an engaging and scaffolded history of philosophy.
The markers will help my students with their unit project. They will have to present a philosopher or history of a specific philosophical doctrine to the class.
I've already begun to introduce philosophical readings and topics into the classroom.
Some students who never found fiction engaging have begun to love reading. With these two books and the markers, I'll be able to expose my students to an important area of literature and analytic writing: philosophy.
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