Thursday, September 20, 2012

Pinwheels for Peace: A Shared Vision Inspired by Fellow Educators

I loved being inspired and I love sharing ideas.  Every time I go to a convention, an idea is shared, and I want to try it out myself.  Once I try it, I want to share it with others to spread the amazing news about an idea that touches children's hearts.  This idea was called Pinwheels for Peace, inspired by fellow art educator Theresa McGee, co-author of the Teaching Palette.

Pinwheels for Peace was a way to celebrate International Peace Day, which takes place tomorrow, September 21st.  Around the world, children celebrate international peace with their own lessons, projects, and collaborations.

Inspired by the idea, I asked my school's Student Council if they would be willing to assist in purchasing materials for the project so we could have all grades K-6 create their own pinwheel.  This way the students were involved in the making the project happen.  The pinwheel kits were ordered from Oriental Trading.

With International Peace Day being so close to the anniversary of 9/11, I tied the themes in to enhance the idea of international peace.  I found two books I want to share with you that I read to my classes.  The first book (which I read to K-3) was September 12th, written and illustrated by 1st Grade students from Masterson Elementary School in Missouri.

The book shared how students knew something bad had happened, but that everything would be alright.  Seeing this picture, even drawn by a 1st grader, still makes you cry:

I then talked with the students on how International Peace day was celebrated to promote a world without anger and sadness.  We talked about what the students could draw to share their ideas of "peace," and how they can incorporate that into their pinwheels.

Grades 4-6 were read the book "The Little Chapel that Stood" by A.B. Curtis.  I picked up the book while I was in New York for the National Art Education Association's annual convention from the World Trade Center Memorial Site.  I had to read the book at least 20 times so I could handle reading it to the class without drying out loud.  My first class I actually did when I opened to the page about the towers falling.

I also purchased a book that I shared with students when they finished their pinwheels.  It's called Art for Heart: Remembering 9/11.  The book contains images of artwork created by children that lost loved ones from the 9/11 attacks.  My students loved looking at the pictures and asked so many informative questions.

Here are some of the finished products of the week:

                                                The total amount of pinwheels, over 600!

After every students in school created a pinwheel, I asked the Student Council for help again in setting up the pinwheels around the front of the school.  Permission slips were filled out, and parents who dropped their children off stayed take their own pictures.  I was watching the weather report, and behold! the only day of the week it was going to rain was on International Peace Day, so I bumped the display a day early.  I sent the students out to get some pictures while we were setting up, and here are some good ones of the pinwheels:

                                    Yes, a 5th grader took this picture!  How awesome is that?!

If this is an idea you wish to use, it's a shared idea.  While Googling Pinwheels for Peace, I've found many school that have used the idea and share their pinwheels with others around the country.

What will you do for International Peace Day?

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