September 21st was officially declared International Day of Peace, or Peace Day, by the United Nations. Whether it be global, national, local, or even amongst individuals, this day has one goal in mind: celebrate peace. The United Nations encourages us to celebrate Peace Day by recognizing peaceful relations and mending those relationships that have fallen by the wayside.
Peace Day is a great day to teach your class about the various facets involved in making peace. Whether you are an elementary or secondary educator, this is an excellent teaching opportunity. Try implementing one of the following ideas in your classroom.
Picture of Peace
For younger grades, you can have learners represent on paper what peace means to them. Print a picture of a hollow peace sign, like this, on sheets of white paper. They can fill in the peace sign with pictures of peace, such as happy faces, friends, family, etc. They can even fill it in with words of peace like friendship, unity, and love. If time and resources allow, instruct your young artists to color and write using crayons. Then, paint thin layers of watercolor over the whole sheet of paper. This is a fun and colorful art technique. Matted over colorful paper, these pictures of peace will make great displays for your walls.
If you can get the whole school on board, a peace parade is a great way to get everyone involved with the spirit of peace. Assign each class a theme to represent with a banner, masks, or props. Examples of themes:
- School unity
- Global peace
What a fun way to bring the school together to celebrate peace! Don’t forget to take pictures and document this special day. Extension: After the peace parade, you can have your class write about the event. How did it make them feel? What did they learn from other classes?
Poetry is a fabulous way to express feelings and emotions. Pupils can write about peace and what it means to them, their school, home, country, and world. Your young poets can experiment by writing a few stanzas about disarray and contrasting it with stanzas of peace. Your brave writers can share their piece in a poetry reading circle. Other styles they may want to try are haikus, acrostic poetry, and ABC poems.
The Peace Project
Divide your class into groups, pairs, or have them work individually on a peace project. As a class, identify areas of the community that are in need of peace, whether it be local, national, or global. Allow each group to choose a topic to research and devise a simulated plan to propose peacemaking. Your class will be able to practice research and problem-solving skills. It is also an interesting way to get kids thinking about their role in the community. After completing their research, each group should put together a presentation. This can include short paragraphs, a poster board, PowerPoints, or a well-thought-out skit. While each group is presenting, make sure spectators are actively watching and learning. They can take notes on each presentation and submit a summary about what they learned from the peace projects.
More Peace Resources:
Peace One Day is an organization who is campaigning for global truce. Check out their site to see how they are “working towards a day of ceasefire and non-violence.” They have fabulous education resources under the “Education” tab of the site.
Peace of Mind
This plan allows your class to explore current events in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. They work together to create a board game about their research.
Global Thingy: Sneeze of Peace
Sneeze of Peace is a Sesame Street video that is sure to entertain. It is a clever, animated presentation demonstrating peace and the idea that two groups can unite.