Date of Completion


Document Type

Open Access Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Delores B. Gallo

Second Advisor

Nina Greenwald


Moral education is needed in the public schools for many reasons. Violent crimes and dishonesty are rampant throughout the younger generation. David Purpel (1989), a major educator in the field of moral education, believes that we are in a cultural, political, and moral crisis and hence an educational crisis. He states that it is imperative that we confront the nature of this crisis. Purpel's major assertion is the critical importance of educators' broad responsibility for the state of the culture as it relates to their specific responsibility for the quality of the "educational program" (1989, 2). Teaching moral education, using critical and creative thinking through literature, is a very interesting and efficient teaching practice. Many highly respected educators have written that critical and creative thinking should be taught in schools and they also recommend teaching moral reasoning through literature. This paper reviews the work of David Purpel, Ronald Galbraith and Thomas Jones, Thomas Lickona, Raymond Nickerson, Linda Lamme, Robert Ennis, Delores Gallo, Richard Paul, Shari Tishman, T. Tardiff and Theresa Amabile. Using these authors for my rationale, I have created an interdisciplinary curriculum unit that teaches moral education and critical and creative skills using the novel, Number The Stars by Lois Lowry (1989). In this paper, I will review literature about teaching moral education. I will offer a unit on the book, Number The Stars by Lois Lowry, in which I use the practices recommended by authors reviewed. I will also discuss the use of open-ended questions to practice and assess the concepts taught. This paper concludes with a unit of several lessons designed to be taught in a fourth grade classroom, but it can be altered to meet the needs of any particular group of students. It is my hope that an educator can follow the format that the six lessons are developed in and continue this format to create the rest of the lessons for the novel. This unit will provide an example as teachers try to integrate these techniques and ideas into other novels and curriculum.

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