What is the purpose and goal of monthly classroom peace activities?
  • First, it is not about how these activities are done, it is a matter of them being done at all. This means that adaptation in a way that best suits your students, is of the utmost importance. The simple fact that you are willing to engage your students in activities that foster a spirit of peace, already means a great deal to the work that PSI does.
  • Second, these activities are meant to touch on key themes that arise in peace education and facilitation.
    • Appreciation for diversity – understanding how prejudice works
    • Effective communication – this includes observing carefully, communicating to the best of ones’ ability, and actively listening not just hearing
      • “listening is the most direct path to understanding and understanding is a path to peace”
    • Expressing emotions – how to adequately share how one is feeling in an appropriate way that does not disturb others
    • Cooperation and Friendship – working together, trusting one another, sharing and helping each other out
    • Resolving conflict – learning the skills needed to assess conflict and respond in a calm and supportive manner
  • Finally, throughout the year we will be providing a monthly activity for you to participate in as a class that will touch on the important themes that arise in peace education. We want to place the emphasis on peace in schools since teaching peace is becoming evermore important as time goes on.

So… “these activities and lessons are aimed at teaching your (students) to work and play together in an atmosphere of mutual cooperation and respect”

We hope you and your students enjoy these monthly activities and we look forward to hearing any feed back you may have on how they went following the completion of the activity provided!

 


International Day of Peace – September 21st Activities

Activity #1: Making a Goal for Peace

-       Ask students to write a letter to themselves that relates to the goals they have for the year ahead. Ask them to include a section in the letter that pertains to peace and how they will actively work towards cultivating an environment of peace both in school and in their relationships with others.

o   Once the students are done writing their letters to themselves, get them to address the letter to themselves and hand them back to you. (If it is possible, provide envelopes to put them in, or allow them to create an envelope out of construction paper.) At the END OF THE YEAR pass the letters back to the student to see if they reached their goals or if anything has changed from what they wrote in their letter.

Activity #2: The Art of Peace

-       Tape off a paper plate (as seen in the example provided).

-       Let students draw/paint/colour/glitter/glue coloured paper onto, the plate around the tape in a way/with colours that resembles peace to them.

-       Take off the tape and reveal each others’ peace signs!

Activity #3: Poems for Peace (for older ages)

-       Allow students to create a poem, in any style, that is based on a topic that reminds them of peace. The poem could be about the word peace itself or something that represents peace (ex. Dove, Sunshine, Rain sounds – anything that relates to the individuals’ perception of peace).

Allow the students to decorate a boarder or another aspect of the page the poem is written on to make the project more exciting!

 


 

October Activity: Are You Listening?

Goal: Sometimes when we are communicating, the person that we are communicating with, may not be interpreting what we are trying to say in the way we intend. When this happens, it can lead to conflict which is why it is important to be clear about how you are feeling about a situation so as to reverse misunderstandings before they go too far.

Directions: Start with two volunteers. Give one student a marker/tool to draw on the board and give the other student a picture. Get the student with the drawing to describe the image that they see to the student at the board and allow them to interpret the directions to the best of their ability. The first time through the student drawing is not allowed to ask questions to the student providing the instructions. When you move on to the second set of drawings, they will be allowed to ask questions to see whether this makes it easier or harder to interpret. There will be an easy, medium, and hard level provided for students to interpret – you can do this activity with as many or as few of the drawings as you wish or have time for.

Questions to discuss after the first try:
  1. Was this more difficult than you thought it would be?
  2. What would have made it easier?
Questions after second try/end of the activity:
  1. Can you see how effective communication means that there is effort being put in by both the person speaking and the person listening?
  2. What does this look like when we are faced with conflict? What are ways we can more effectively communicate with the other person we find ourselves in conflict with?

 


 

November Activity: Seeds of Peace

Goals: This activity deals with the concepts of war and peace. The activity is meant to bring rise to the conversation of how peace has come after times of great conflict while also providing students with a symbol of what peace can look like.

Directions: This activity is meant to provide a teachable moment particularly for older students. Use this activity as an opportunity to discuss wars (particularly the recent war in Ukraine – as alluded to at the end of the story you will read). Additionally, take this time to discuss persistent conflicts or conflicts that reoccur getting students to look inwards to more individual conflicts and what could possibly be done to prevent these conflicts from continuing to spark.

(For younger kids, this activity can be made a little bit lighter. Depending on the age group, some less in-depth conversation can be had on the topic of war and peace, and for the youngest ages, keep this as a more creative activity that teaches them that sunflowers can be a symbol of peace around the world)

Activity Steps:

Step 1: Read the story provided in this document.

Step 2: Depending on the age, get students to draw, colour, or create out of paper, a sunflower – allow them to be creative with this activity but do provide an image of a sunflower if students need inspiration.

Step 3: Read the blurb at the bottom of the story and remind students why they are doing this activity.

Step 4: Pin the sunflowers to a bulletin board either in the classroom or in the hallway of the school. If it is just in the classroom, attach stems to the sunflowers and get students to write a good deed that they can do which promotes peace in the school.

Whether the sunflowers are pinned in the classroom or in the hallways, let the top of the board read: “Peace is Growing in our School”

Finally, use this activity as a teachable moment and put together a lesson on war and peace that is suitable for your class – this can look different for every class and school!

 


 

December Activity: Recognizing Rumors – Similar to Telephone

Goal: Show how stories can become distorted/warped/changed when they are not told by the original storyteller and are passed between people instead of asking the person to hear the story firsthand.

Directions: Begin by discussing the topic of “rumors” with the class. You can either explain the concept directly to younger children who may not yet know what it means, or you can ask the children what they would define “rumors” or what their best guess is to what the concept relates to. If you choose to ask for the children’s opinions, then wait for everyone to share who wishes to, and then create a collective definition base on what the group has shared.

Before beginning the activity, explain that this activity is meant to replicate how rumours develop when a story is told and then retold without knowing the truth of what the original storyteller meant by what they said.

Activity For Older Children:

Step 1: Ask for six volunteers – ask four of them to leave the room and two to stay behind.

Step 2: Ask one of the two students that stayed behind to make up a short story. The student telling the story will be telling the story out loud to the other volunteer that stayed behind, in front of the class so everyone can hear.

Step 3: Bring in one of the four students that was out of the room and have the student that listened to the story in front of the class the first time to retell the story, to the best of their recollection, to the student who has re-entered the room.

Step 4: Bring in the remaining three students on at a time, as done with the student prior, and have the student who heard the retold story to, once again, retell the story to the student who has just entered the room. (repeat until all four students have heard the story)

Step 5: Have the last student that was just retold the story, to one final time, retell it to the person who first made up the story in front of the class and allow the original storyteller to make corrections to what was said.

-If you would like to make this more effective/interesting, once the original storyteller has told the story, send them out of the room so they do not hear the corrections being made.

Activity For Younger Children:
  • This activity will work the same as the version for older children but this time with pictures!

Step 1: Choose one student and show them a very simple drawing/photo and ask them to copy it from memory.

Step 2: Once this child is finished with their drawing, show this to the next student and ask them to copy the previous students drawing from memory.

Step 3: Repeat this with all students – or groups if you have a large class – until all have had a chance to copy an image. Make sure to keep track of the order the images were draw in (number them if needed) and then show them to the whole class.

  • Additionally, use your discretion when choosing how much time the students get to look at the image before copying it from memory – suggestion is 1-2 minutes depending on age
Questions for discussion:
  1. Did you notice where the story changed from the original story told? OR can you see where the picture changed from the first picture shown/drawn?
  2. Why do you think these changes happened?
  3. How could this cause problems? (Discuss what can happen when things are interpreted wrong and how this might make the author/creator feel when they are not heard or are incorrectly seen)
  4. What can/should you do when you hear a rumor being told about someone?