The intentional use of the Five Common Topics leads to deep and thought-provoking conversations and provide students with endless opportunities to think and reason on their own.
Five Common Topics
We strive in our partnership with parents to help our students grow and mature in their thinking processes. To accomplish this, the teachers at Faith Christian School focus time and effort toward developing the God-given curiosity and inquisitiveness naturally found in children. To help lead the students (and ultimately to help the students lead themselves) to a place of understanding, we equip them with good questions by using the Five Common Topics.
The Five Common Topics can be understood as a way to teach children to ask informed questions in order to more fully understand almost anything. “Topics” carries a slightly different meaning here than we might initially think. “Topic,” in this case means “places.” So when we talk about the Five Common Topics, we are talking about five places where we can go to generate varied information in order to put our ideas and thoughts together. These places are common because they can be used to dig into any subject.
In my second grade classroom, for example, students are trained in the use of the Five Common Topics as I model the questions. By asking the students these questions, students learn the types of questions that are important to ask when engaging with any material, especially new material.
The Five Common Topics are definition, comparison, circumstance, relationship, and authority. Here are some sample questions:
What kind of thing is it?
What is it made for?
Who/What is it made by?
What is it made of?
What are its parts?
What are its qualities and characteristics?
How is one thing the same as another?
How is one thing different from another?
Is one better or worse?
More or less?
When did this happen?
What else is going on?
What is happening elsewhere?
What happened before and after the event?
What is the cause behind something that happened?
What is the effect of what happened?
What do the experts have to say?
Who is a witness?
What law or rule applies?
The intentional use of the Five Common Topics in my second grade classroom has led to many deep and thought-provoking conversations about Theology, sin nature, hardship, redemption, courage, friendship, and so much more. The Five Common Topics provide students with endless opportunities to think and reason on their own. In a culture that constantly assaults all things good, true, and beautiful, what better way could we train the next generation to stand firm in their faith and engage culture to a more meaningful end? The use of the Five Common Topics continues through all subjects and through the senior year, culminating in the oral defense of their Thesis topic.
- Samantha McPheron, 2nd Grade Teacher at Faith Christian School and Four-Square Sage