Thinking Beans: A Year of Classroom Philosophy Lessons
40 Classroom sessions suitable for upper primary or secondary
A5 perfect-bound book, 138 pages
David Birch’s new book, published by The Philosophy Man, is a playful and engaging approach. I am jealous of the fun that writer and students must have had in creating these sessions. The quirkiness and memorability of the stimuli makes them a great focus that has been an especial boom on Zoom – you can see, and in a few instances, even lick or eat the philosophy! I have used several of the sessions myself in Zoom classes with 9-12s, with teens and with adults.
As well as 40 lessons to last a whole year of philosophy sessions, there are “Bonus Beans” including a Question Invention tool and a richly imaginative homework project that was created during the (first?-sigh) coronavirus lockdown.
The bane of my life as a teacher has always been my struggle to use other people’s resources – but these flow so naturally, and are so obviously polished and refined by repeated use, that I find I can pick one up and use it straight away. It has immediately become my favourite resource for Philosophy for Children, not excluding my own work; the time it saves me and the enjoyment of the sessions is ample compensation for the professional jealousy! In David’s words:
This is a book to help your students experience the wild flight of thinking. Its fun hands-on lessons are filled with questions and activities designed to baffle and befuddle. Suitable for both primary and secondary students, they can be used to fill a pocket of time in your day or serve as the basis of a philosophy curriculum. The lessons are conversational and work perfectly as whole-class activities. Their metamorphic powers will turn your class of students into an intermingled thinking organism, and what happens next is entirely unpredictable. That is the joy of thinking beans: you can never be quite sure what will grow out of them.
David Birch is author of Provocations: Philosophy for Secondary school and teaches philosophy and religious studies at Highgate School. He is a specialist with The Philosophy Foundation.