Wednesday, November 25, 2015

First Grade: Thanksgiving

What does it mean to be thankful?

This is the question I first posed when I entered Mrs. E's class. Answers like "when someone gives you food, you say thank you," "when my mom gives me something I want, I say thank you to her," and "appreciating what you have" were said as we went around the circle. Avery said it means to be appreciative and not taking things for granted. 

Afterwards, we went around the circle and shared what we were thankful for. Things like food, iPads, Sky Landers, Beyblade, soccer, my family, and friends floated around. 

But it made me wonder, why is good to be thankful? Lots of students raised their hands, wanting to answer. Amy said it is good to be thankful because if you are not thankful, then you will not get it again. Josh said that it is good to be thankful because some people do not get what you might have gotten, so you should say thank you for it. I said it is good to be thankful because you may never if things might get taken away from you or things may be gone. 

Students then related this to homeless people. Zaine said homeless people do not get everything, so we should give them things we do not need, because they will be thankful for it too. Kassey said that if we give homeless people something, then they would be thankful and be happy.

This was a new class I went to and I was amazed at the welcoming I received when I walked in. This class has not done p4c in a long time, so it was great to be in there and do some thinking about Thanksgiving, since it is Thanksgiving break this week.  

Kindergarten:Is It A Good Idea Or Bad Idea?

On November 23rd, Logan and I visited the Kindergarten class at Maunawili Elementary School. Logan came up with the lesson plan which was reading a book and coming up with a question to have a discussion. The book Mrs. T chose was called Jamaica's Find, and the kids really enjoyed listening to her read this book.

Jamaica's Find is about a girl named Jamaica who goes to the park on a regular basis and finds things on every trip she makes. One day Jamaica went to the park and she found a stuffed dog, she took it home to her mother and she had a liking in the stuffed animal and wondered where she had gotten it from. Jamaica felt guilty about keeping this stuffed dog that she brought home from the park so the next day she took it to the lost and found. That same day Jamaica sees a girl with her mother at the park and decided to ask her to play, but the girl said she had to find something before they play.
Jamaica realized that the girl may have been the potential owner of the stuffed animal and asked if that was what she had been looking for, and it was. 

The moral of the story was to be honest and if you found something and it doesn't belong to you, then you should give it back. After Mrs.T finished reading the story, we posed the question "Is it a good idea or a bad idea to keep something that doesn't belong to you?" Many of the students told us that it was a bad idea because the owner might get sad about loosing the item they had found. Then I asked how they would feel if they lost something and they saw the person with the item they had lost. Mario answered "I would go up to the person and ask them nicely to please give it back." Other students said that they would tell a teacher or an adult that they know who took their lost item.

Overall I thought this inquiry went pretty well because I know that kids sometimes have a hard time sharing and trying to control their behavior when it comes to conflicts between kids their age. Hopefully if a problem arises like this one, they will know how to solve it in a calmly manner. The fact that the kids are able to understand these types of situations is really surprising to me because they are only five or six years old with little experience. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The philoSURFERS on World Philosophy Day

Today, the third Wednesday of November, marks the tenth celebration of World Philosophy Day. Since 2005, UNESCO has taken the lead in promoting value of philosophy has on humanity and  the communities in which we reside. Considering the philoSURFERS have dedicated their time and efforts to achieving this aim on a daily basis by supporting teachers in bringing philosophy, specifically p4c, to life in classrooms, we thought it would be a great time to write a post concerning philosophy's importance. In just a few minutes, the philoSURFERS put together this post to share why people should even care about philosophy.
People should care about philosophy because philosophy is a part of life. Everyone thinks about things they care about and we make decisions everyday. If a questioning attitude is a part of life then we should all care about philosophy. Our questions need to be answered, and by doing p4c we get answers to things we wonder about from others around us.

Philosophy has helped me look at the world with a different mindset. Before I was introduced to p4c I never really thought anything through. For example, I never really gave any thought to decisions I would make, my future, or problems happening right before my eyes. Philosophy has allowed me to think at a deeper level, understand others more, and helped me discover myself. I have discovered myself throughout high school through philosophy by being taught in an environment where we talk about things that really matter to us. An example of this is being in Mrs.U's class and constantly talking about careers we are looking into and that helped me really think about my future and think about the classes I need to take, and set goals I need to set for myself.

Being a philoSURFER and having the opportunity to spread philosophy to other students and teachers is great because they now understand the importance of philosophy. This role doesn't stop at school grounds, it continues into my personal life. For example, I talk to my family about things that we discussed that day when we have plain vanillas and I also talk to my friends about what's happening.

The reason I care about philosophy is because it’s a simple way of expression that really helps others to feel more comfortable with new people around them. In today's society I think that people are more focused on their looks than whats actually inside and philosophy is a great way to help erase that way of thinking. There have been so many times I've judged someone just by the way they looked, but when we have an inquiry together their input and questions paint a whole new picture in your mind that you forget about your first impression. Philosophy allows you to really listen to others. Sadly, most people do not get too many experiences in doing philosophy. 

However, I like to think we are trying to change this.  Actually, we’ve been doing something about this since freshman year when we first started doing p4c. Since then, I have loved doing philosophy, not only with my peers, but with the elementary students, as well. Given our positions as philoSURFERS, we have chances has given to learn more and to teach others that are not to familiar with philosophy and philosophical thinking.  It is for this reason, I can’t wait to continue my experience with Dr. Miller and the rest of the students and schools we work with.

Many adults, teenagers, and children do not get the opportunity to express themselves or say what they feel, but I believe when philosophy is introduced to these individuals, they will feel more comfortable in expressing themselves. For example, I was introduced to philosophy during my freshman year in my Ethnic Studies and Philosophy class at Kailua High School. At first, I was a bit scared because the students in my class were not people I would really open up to. The individuals in my class did not seem open-minded, therefore, I was not comfortable in speaking my mind. I knew they were quick to judge. At that time I was also shy. The dynamics of everyone in the classroom did not make me feel safe. At one point, I really considered switching into a different class. However, after talking to various teachers, they told me to give it some time. Staying in that class was probably one of the best decisions I have ever made. I soon learned to say what I wanted even if people were still going to judge. More and more philosophical discussions really helped me to open myself up and share my thoughts and ideas. 

I am currently interning as a philosopher in residence, a philoSURFER, and I enjoy doing philosophy. I have been doing p4c for four years in my classes and interning as a philosopher in residence has opened my eyes to seeing how powerful philosophy can be in the classroom. Elementary students are excited and eager to have discussions where we can talk about almost anything. Philosophy is a way to think philosophically and share your thoughts, ideas, and wonderments without being judged, this is why the world needs philosophy. 

Monday, November 16, 2015

Pausing to Reflect on Our First 14 weeks of the philoSURFERS

After 14 weeks, what are three things we’ve learned so far?

After 14 weeks of being a philoSURFER, I have learned that I can really work with kids. I want to be an elementary school teacher and this experience has made me excited for my future. I have truly appreciated what elementary teachers do with their students because they are not as easy to handle. When I first went a kindergarten class, they were very “rascally,” but as time progressed they were able to sit in a circle for over 30 minutes. Same thing happened in a third grade class. I have also learned how to create lesson plans for a class. Normally, high school students do not create the lesson plan, but the teacher does. Well in in my case the role has reversed. I have learned more about philosophy for children and how to support teachers while doing so. I think I have been doing a very well job at supporting the teachers and the kids seem to enjoy doing p4c. 

I have learned that just by giving a kid a chance no matter how old or what grade they are just by giving them the time to think they have the ability to blow your mind. Being with the younger kids sometimes they need a good question to spark the flame within them but once its lit they are able to go on and on about the question. The learning process is really a two way thing and i'm learning so much from these kids and I can't wait until next semester when new philoSURFERS come and experience this with me.


After doing this internship for 14 weeks I’ve learned patience, creativity, and to keep an open mind. I have learned patience with trying to work around some of the rascals within classrooms and patience in seeing growth in different classes. I learned creativity with trying to make different games and lessons that would help the students understand the purpose of p4c better. Lastly, I have learned that keeping an open mind to things makes you see things more clearly. 


After 14 weeks, what are three challenges we have experienced?

The challenge I have experienced is that my internship will soon be ending. This makes me sad because I have really enjoyed being a philoSURFER and I want to continue. But I have things I need to take care of. Having a great connection with all my students has truly opened and validated myself in becoming an elementary school teacher. The bond that I have with the students will never be irreplaceable, but I truly hope whoever my replacement will be, that they will take care of not only the student and the teacher. Along with my internship almost ending, I’m also challenged with teaching the teacher about p4c. I know that we are the experts but I feel scared because I know I have to teach them as much as I can since I will be leaving soon. This may be a silly a challenge, but it has also been a challenge to remember student's name, I mean we do serve over 500 students. 


One of my main challenges has been working with the kindergarteners as well as other younger grades. I just don't have that many experiences with children this young. Another challenge would be lesson plans but what's challenging is that sometimes it's hard to know if I have used the lesson plan in the "right" way.


One of the challenges that we faced was when it would get hard to hold the attention of the class, especially the kindergarten and first grade classes on a hot day. Another challenge we experienced was the lack of communication with the teachers we worked with, which made making lesson plans a bit challenging. I think the most challenging thing for us to figure out is how to keep our classes moving forward in p4c.