Give Peas a Chance This International Day of Peace

Encourage creativity while tying in homonym and homophone lessons with the International Day of Peace.

By Bethany Stagliano

peace sign hands

The International Day of Peace is a day devoted strengthening the ideals of peace within nations, among nations, and among people groups. The United Nation first established this day, which coincides with the opening session of the United Nations General Assembly, to encourage people worldwide to envision and work toward peace. 

Access Prior Knowledge and Stimulate Thought

The concept of peace can be difficult to grasp for some students. Describe peace as a feeling of ease; when no one is fighting and everyone gets along. Have your pupils share when they feel most at peace. Perhaps it is reading a good book in bed, or sharing a laugh with their sibling. After a brief discussion, you can divide the class into small groups to discuss the following questions, or you can assign them for individual written response: 

  • What does the word peace mean to you?
  • Define the word international.

Since these questions are fairly ambiguous, expect a wide variety of responses. There really isn't a right answer, the point is to get kids thinking about the elusive concept of peace. 

Engage Learners by Tying in Homonyms and Homophones 

  • Homonyms are words that are spelled alike and sound alike, but have a different meaning.
  • Homophones are words that sound alike, but have a different spelling and a different meaning.

Before tying this into International Peace Day, take some time as a class to make sure everyone understands the definition of the two words, and the differences between them.

As a class, identify as many homonyms and homophones as possible. Create a list and write it on the board to assist each child as they being their assignments. Some examples that may be fun to use in the following activities include:

  • bat/bat
  • buy/bye
  • cent/scent
  • dear/deer
  • do/dough
  • ewe/you
  • feat/feet
  • flour/flower
  • hear/here
  • knight/night
  • knows/nose
  • oar/or
  • one/won
  • pair/pair
  • peace/piece
  • rose/rows
  • tail/tale
  • write/right

Peace Posters

Pupils can design a poster showcasing International Day of Peace while implementing the use of homonyms and homophones. For an example, use the slogan, “Give Peas a Chance” (where peas means peace). While not exactly a homophone, it gets the point across in an engaging way. The illustration on the poster can be a person eating a bowl of peas, while giving the peace sign with his/her fingers and wearing a necklace with a peace sign on it. As your class begins this project, they will show off their creativity while demonstrating what they have learned. Make sure to hang up the posters when everyone is finished!

Pinwheels for Peace

Learn how to create or purchase ready-made pinwheels that students can write (right!) on. Have learners think of their own homonyms or homophones that relate to peace. What words could be associated with peace, or make one feel at peace? For example, flowers can give off a sense of peace. Does the word flower have a homophone? Yes! Flour! Pupils can write an example on each pinwheel wing. When the pinwheels are finished, go outside and let them blow in the wind... you can't get more peaceful than dozens of pinwheels spinning in the breeze. An added bonus would be to “plant” each pinwheel, take a step back, and hold a moment of silence in honor of International Peace Day.

Chain for Peace

All kids love making paper chains, use their love for this easy craft to reinforce the idea of world peace. Group pupils together in small groups and supply them with construction paper, scissors, tape, markers, and instructions to tap into their creative minds! Have them finish either of these sentences, or come up with a sentence of their own:

  • Peace makes me think of...
  • Peace is important because...

Each word should be written on its own link in the chain. Of course, the idea is that they should be completing the sentences using homonyms and homophones, but you could also forgo that restriction in order to get more varied responses. 

Peace Play

Have your students develop a play where they use homonyms and homophones to be funny, while also conveying some type of message about world peace. Depending on the age and skill level of your class, decide whether you should provide the topic and/or homonym/homophone list, or if they can come up with these themselves. Even if you do give a topic and a list, let the majority of the creativity rest on them. Divide your class into small groups to devise a silly play using the homonyms and homophones they have learned. Here's a short example: The boy says, “Hand me that bat, let's play a friendly game of ball!” Only, the person doesn't hand over a bat used for baseball... instead he or she hands him a live bat-- the animal! 

Peace Poem

Most likely, the kids in your class feel at peace most of the time. When they do not, it may be because they got in an argument with a friend, didn't make the baseball team, or they disagree with their parents. In a poem (or short story) have learners write about a time when they did not feel at peace, and what they did to feel better again. They must include a certain number of homonyms and homophones as they write (perhaps two or three). This can be a private, “teachers eyes only”, assignment, or one they can share with their peers. Either way, it is imperative that each writer determines how he/she regains a sense of peace.

Spread Peace All Over

Your class should show off any or all of these activities as they are completed. Invite the principal and parents into your classroom to see the creative work your learners have developed. Hang up projects in the hallway, outside, or even at local establishments. Teach your students that peace is meant to be shared... that is what International Day of Peace is all about.

Related Lessons and Articles:

Peace in My World

A popular children's story is utilized to teach about the word peace. 

Join the Peace Party

Additional ideas on how to spread peace through engaging activities. 

Cranes of Hiroshima

Pupils learn about culture and peace in Japan as they fold paper cranes.