Current Issue Back Issues Cards About Submissions Subscribe
Issue 5, Spring 2010

Uganda Unpacked: A Mizungu Tale,
   Brian Delgado, Elika Dadsetan,
   & Nicole Pack
In the Circle, Janna Steffan
Engaging Students, David Price
How Do They Come Up With
   This Stuff?
, Sara Morgan
Disruptive Innovations
   in Schooling
, Michael Horn
Race and Ethnicity
   in an Integrated School
, Spencer Pforsich
Autobots in Action, Karl Wendt
Visions of Mathematics, Ben Daley
Judo Math, Dan Thoene
Family Mathers, Kristin Komatsubara
Writing About Math, Allison Cuttler
Going Gaga, Marc Shulman
The Agony and The Ecstasy
   (of Math)
, Jean Kluver

1: Bilingual Spoken Word
2: Children’s Astronomy Book Project
3: The Sangak{You} project
4: Geometric Mural Project
5: Physics A to Z
6: Philosopher Shrines Salon Night
7: Urban Homesteading Project
8: Illuminated Journals
9: The Hidden Garden

Philosopher Shrines Salon Night

download pdf (1.8mb)

How is social order maintained? Students explored this question in a study of early modern political philosophy where they decoded complex texts and shared ideas in Socratic seminars. Contemporary texts, simulations, skits, and creative writing supplemented core readings from Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, and Adam Smith. In a salon night exhibition, students displayed philosopher shrines and engaged in philosophical discussions. The shrines housed objects representing key ideas from the philosophers, in front of a backdrop designed and painted in art class. Students explained the objects, performed skits illuminating the concepts, and participated in Socratic seminars where parents also took part.

Teacher Reflection
This was my third philosophical salon, but the first to include philosopher shrines. The shrines—along with the simulations, skits, and seminars—were an essential means of engaging students with the primary sources. The highlight of salon night was when parents got a chance to “roll up their sleeves” and get in the trenches with their kids, and kids demonstrated they could engage in analytical adult discourse.

—Peter Jana

Student Reflection
We held seminars after each text. We would spend days reading and taking notes, asking questions and trying to understand the text. Then all of our hard work was put to use in seminars. Your perspective was tested and what was said either strengthened your belief or sometimes changed your mind completely. The seminars helped connect the readings to each other, and helped tremendously with constructing the shrines. The shrine objects made us think and connect to the readings on a deeper level.

—Pauline Vela, 10th grade

To learn more about this project and others visit and Peter Jana’s and Jeff Robin’s digital portfolios at &