Philosophy and Critical Thinking in English Language Arts –
ReadyGen and Beyond, Grades 3-5:
We were fortunate to be able to collaborate with Philadelphia School District teachers on a project to create lesson plans that explore philosophy and critical thinking. Specifically, we worked with several third, fourth and fifth-grade teachers enrolled in a Teachers Institute of Philadelphia course hosted at the University of Pennsylvania in the fall of 2019. Following lectures and discussion on philosophical topics, the teachers created lesson plans which were subsequently gathered together and combined with an introductory overview and a discussion of the pertinent philosophical themes. This content is accessible here (also listed in the “Materials” section of this site).
Importantly, these lesson plans were created by teachers teaching in a variety of public elementary schools in the Philadelphia School District, and as such, were developed in keeping with the teaching and learning conditions that exist in this public-school district. The team built the lesson plans around one widely-used English Language Arts curriculum used from third through fifth grades: the ReadyGen book series. That said, we take these lessons to be easily adaptable to a wide range of texts for this age group that deal with similar themes. Many of these lessons are tried and polished by teachers, and they are easily integrated into the pre-existing curriculum without delaying progress through the curriculum.
Please take a look. We hope you may find some good ideas and helpful strategies for exploring philosophy together with young people.