Unity Day(s)

First post of the new school year! It feels so good to be back. I LOVE to see my students again! To be with all my amazing students everyday just brings a whole new energy and appreciation for life. They inspire me everyday.

So far this year, we’ve focused on peace. In music with Ms. B, they’ve been singing songs about peace and in art, we’ve been creating pinwheels for peace. Pinwheels for Peace is a world wide art installation started by a few art teachers in Florida in 2005. “The first Pinwheels for Peace were installed on Sept. 21, 2005. Since then, we have grown from 500,000 pinwheels planted the first year, to three and a half million pinwheels in 2011!,” claimed the website. Each pinwheel created at Randall school is created after some discussion about what it means to be peaceful. It’s kind of a broad subject. We narrowed our focus to the idea that peace begins with us and peace is a choice. It’s a choice every time someone calls us a name that makes us feel bad. Do we say something mean back or do we walk away? It’s a choice every time something doesn’t go our way. Do we make a big stink about it or do we let it go? It’s a choice every time we get caught doing something we shouldn’t be doing. Should we deny it or should we take responsibility for our actions and move on? Peace can mean many different things to many different people but for our Randall Raccoons, peace means making a choice.
Each pinwheel has words and/or images about peace on them. On Friday, September 21st, we will be going outside to the playground for our first Randall morning meeting. We will all be putting our pinwheels outside together wile Ms. B leads us in a few songs about peace. This will be our culminating event for all of our peace work the last few weeks.
In the mean time, we’ve had two Unity Days. For those of you not in the know, Unity Day was created at Randall School so every child could be assessed (testing) without being pulled from different classes randomly and missing instruction time when they were pulled out. So, Unity Day was created. For me, it means I get to see almost every student in the matter of two days because this year we had two Unity Days.

During Unity Day, I had 10 groups of 16-17 students come through my room for a half hour each. The groups are a mix of grades third, fourth and fifth grade in one group so they are able to get to know each other a little better. Just another way to build community!

For the first Unity Day, I had students work on peace murals.

 

The second Unity Day we did one mural but it isn’t quite finished yet. We also made some paper peace quilts.

Here are some close ups of their answer to the question”What is one of your wishes to change the world for the better?”

A student who recently came to use from Chicago. “I wish there was peace in Chicago and no one was dying.”

“I wish the world could come to agreement and stop criticizing other people’s beliefs and religions.’

“I wish that killing would stop.”

“I wish that no animals are homeless, no villains like weapons.”

“I wish all friends could play together.”

“I wish everyone had a warm home and safe home to come home to.”

“I wish everybody would have health care.”

“I wish people would be less greedy and give to others.”

“I wish that the world was fair for everyone.”

While listening to a 5th grade talk about the voter ID laws being introduced around our country, a quiet 3rd grader drew. “I wish black people could vote as easily as white people.”

“I wish homeless people had food.”

“I wish Scott Walker would resign.”

“I wish all people had the right to follow the bill of rights.” When asked about this he clarified that it meant that everyone had the right to free speech and voting.

Seriously, from the mouths of babes. It all seems so simple through them!

 

*I’m not sure what is going on with WordPress but something funky is going on with my pictures. Each quote as a photo of a students’ quilt square. They are randomly showing up, or not, as they please. Hope to figure it out soon!!*

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