CM . . .
. Volume XIV Number 5 . . . . October 26, 2007
This activity collection, which was developed in response to violence in schools and the surrounding community, including bullying, certainly fits with teachers and schools staffs that are interested in helping students live peacefully in a very violent world. Students are bombarded daily with images and sounds in the media that bring war and violence to their daily attention. This curriculum book and the support that comes with it are a perfect anecdote to the ethos of “might makes right.” The activities offer structures that engage “talk” about the meaning of peace and activities that allow students to practice peace. Although the activities can be easily infused into Language Arts and Social Studies curriculum, they could also become the focus of an integrated or interdisciplinary unit.
In the forward, Rick Lewis a counselor and teacher, summarizes the value of this book:
I agree. The book contains 30 easily implementable activities outlined by month. Suggestions for beginning the program are outlined, and dozens of supporting websites are provided. Each activity is stand-alone but placed together can create a year-long, school wide program. There are also options and ideas for adapting to different grade levels. Some example lessons are:
- International Day of Peace, Sept. 21
- Give Peace a Dance
- Gossip-Free Day
- Say Boo to Bullying (in October)
- Gifts form the Heart
- A Recipe for Diversity
- Random Acts of Kindness
- Pay it Forward
- International Earth Day
- Seeds of Peace
- Kites for Peace
- Celebrate Families
Included is a CD, lyrics, and sheet music for the theme song of the program, The Right Thing To Do. It was written by John Berkmortel as a gift to the Peaceful Schools International. An outline of this support organization’s principles, benefits of membership, and how to become a member are included at the end. The criteria for membership are outlined and are a useful focus for organizing a school community interested in “promoting healthy relationships in the school setting. A collaborative approach to school-based decision-making. Curricular and/or extracurricular peace education initiatives. Teaching methods that stress participation, co-operation, problem-solving, and respect for differences. Student- and community-centred conflict resolution strategies such as peer mediation. Community service projects. Professional development opportunities for all staff focused on creating a positive school climate.”
Hetty van Gurp, the founder of the Peaceful Schools International (based in Annapolis Royal, NS), suggests that education peace initiatives require a prerequisite will for change:
This engaging book, at a modest price, will help you and your colleagues get started.
Gary Babiuk, a middle school teacher and administrator for 23 years, is currently an assistant professor in Early and Middle Years Social Studies at the Faculty of Education, the University of Manitoba.
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Copyright © the Manitoba Library Association. Reproduction for personal use is permitted only if this copyright notice is maintained. Any other reproduction is prohibited without permission.