Last week, Kim Cofino, who teaches at the International School Bangkok, invited bloggers she knew to help one of her fourth grade teachers with a project for Peace Day. The teacher, Scott Lamont, asked the “world” for answers to his questions about peace to share with his students.
Students (from elementary to high school level) and teachers from around the world responded with over 110 answers(some may have been from our district…I saw some from Texas there.)
It’s fascinating to see that among all of the students who posted, from Thailand, Dominican Republic, and Japan, the students who seemed to feel the least sense of peace were those in the U.S.–who seemed both aware of war and aware of not feeling safe in their own neighborhoods.
One student, Mystery868 from Maryland writes what he/she could do, ” I would step up to the government and be like Martin Luther King jr. but im only a averadge person and I would be scared.” I wonder if he/she realizes that Martin Luther King was probably scared too.
Other students from the Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia wrote some stunning comments, in terms of raising the awareness of their own lives in urban America.
Amber writes, “there isnt much peace where i live so i cant really explain what peace looks like here. but if i did know what it was, peace to me would feel good. i would feel very safe.”
Another student, Jesse writes, “In Philadelphia, we have a recorded 300 homicides since January 1st. I was on the Philadelphia police department website the other night, and looked at the most wanted list, and too many of them had addresses way too close to mine. Peace, is not having to deal with stuff like that. Peace is not walking down the street feeling like you’re about to get beat up. Peace is a safe internal state of mind that everybody needs to keep from being stressed out all the time.”
And yet another, Alison, writes about the safe feeling her school, SLA, provides: “i go to the science leadership Academy High school in philadelphia PA, USA. . . .Peace feels like walking down SLA’s halls. Many cultures, backgrounds, religions and opinions all walking around happily together. everyone accepts each other and are friends.”
What a compliment to SLA, and it brings to mind how schools can create both places for students to express themselves, and to find a safe haven.
And my favorite is Emma from the Dominican Republic, who writes, “Peace feels like a Library cause its soft speaking and no loud talking.” (I hate to tell Emma how loud and busy our particular library is, but it’s nice to see a fourth grader who thinks of the library as a haven.)
A simple project that a little bit of networking and a global connection has made much more powerful. And I’m hoping the students involved go back and read the other comments posted after theirs — one of the great things about doing this on a blog is that it is available for others to read and add to after the fact, extending the learning beyond the time constraints of one class period.