In this lesson, students will broaden their thinking about peace by reading and discussing Todd Parr’s phenomenal The Peace Book. Students will also continue their thinking about what peace is and what peace looks like in action.
Each student will be able to articulate one thing she can do, say, and express to promote peace. Each student will also, with a partner, select a pose that would represent these elements.
Students will complete the student handout with three short sentences. Students will also have their picture taken at least twice in their peace “poses.”
Remind the children that they have already learned to sing a song about peace. Sing “I’ve Got Peace in My Fingers” by Susan Salidor again to reinforce last week’s lesson. Explain that a lot of people have ideas about what a peaceful world looks like. Today we’ll use the work of Todd Parr, an author/illustrator known for his eye-popping colors, to expand our thinking about peace.
Read and discuss The Peace Book by Todd Parr. Check for understanding by asking questions such as:
- How does keeping the water blue for the fish create a peaceful world?
- How does listening to music help you feel peace? Could playing music help create peace?
- Can reading books really help you feel peaceful?
You could also phrase these questions from the perspective of avoiding conflict. For example:
- How does keeping the water clean help us avoid conflict with our neighbors?
- How can music help someone feel better?
- If a person is feeling very sad, could reading a story help them feel better?
Make sure that you allow the children to ask and answer any questions they may have about peace.
After you conclude the story and discussion, give instruction for the remainder of the lesson. Go over the assignment on the student handout. Make sure that the kids understand that they need to write three sentences, then work with a partner to “act out” their ideas about peace.
I recommend using Adobe Spark to put together the class video. Adobe Spark uses still photographs, so the kids need to agree on a few simple poses. It is better to have photographs on one device, so I recommend letting the kids pose and having one teacher or teaching assistant take the photographs.
If this activity gets too unruly or loud, sit the children on the carpet and ask the teams to come up, one by one, and show the class their poses. The pictures can be taken with everyone watching as a way of sharing their understandings.
Try to get every student in at least two pictures. This will give you enough to draw from for the video and will ensure that every student is featured in the peace video.
Wrap up by emphasizing that the children are now able to share their ideas about peace with the school and with their families because they can show their thinking. Explain that in the next lesson the children will record their voices for the video!
- The Peace Book by Todd Parr. If this is not available, you can also use Peace Week in Miss Fox’s Class by Eileen Spinelli and Anne Kennedy.
- Copies of the student handout that accompanies this lesson.
- Last week’s brainstorming notes prepared by small groups.
- Camera or mobile device with a camera.
Notes: Each time I have done this lesson series I have felt that the preparation for “acting out” the understandings of peace has been a bit too loud and somewhat wild. However, each time we have come up with terrific results. Learning is not always quiet! The great thing about making the video is that is allows the children to take an abstract concept and bring it to their level while making it personal. Take your time – it may take two lessons to get all the pictures finished. You need about 20 photos for a 90 second video.
I have included a few blank speech bubbles in case the children’s poses need some explanation. Don’t let the kids get too carried away with writing in the speech bubbles. But, for example, if they come up with an idea such as “Peace means saying ‘Hello’,” you could allow them to write “Hello” in several different languages in a few speech bubbles to help create their pose.
Recommended books for this lesson:
- The Peace Book by Todd Parr.
- Peace Week in Miss Fox’s Class by Eileen Spinelli and Anne Kennedy.
Peace, Cooperation, Kindness, Helping, Caring, Respect