How to create a classroom, school-wide, and community event!
In 1981, the UN (United Nations) General Assembly established the International Day of Peace. Annually, it is observed around the world on September 21. The 2021 theme is “RECOVERING BETTER FOR AN EQUITABLE AND SUSTAINABLE WORLD.”
Themes through the years include climate action, human rights, education for all, human dignity, peace and democracy, and many more.
My Peace Programs
Participating in International Day of Peace can be as simple as a lesson in your classroom the week of the event. It could be a school-wide program with songs, dancing, speeches, poetry, etc. It could be community-wide with a peace walk in the neighborhood.
In the Classroom
The lesson could be a presentation from you about the history of the day and the theme for the year. You could sing a song about peace or watch videos of musicians who have used their artistry as a platform to promote peace or raise awareness. Sing “I’ve Got Peace Like a River” as a class and then get into groups and create a new verse. The song relates peace, joy, and love to a river, ocean, fountain. How is peace related to joy and love? Continue with the water theme or make the theme nature. What in nature makes you feel peaceful, joyful, and loving. Share with the class. Older students could learn the chords and play on ukulele or recorder.
My school programs involved each grade level performing one song, poem, speech piece and older classrooms would be in charge of the speeches and narration. One year every grade level performed a peace poem because the emphasis was on living together harmoniously. Another year, every grade level performed a song from another part of the world because the emphasis was on global awareness and diversity. My older students introduced each grade level and had speeches, narrations, and poems to read. Some of the poems were student created and some were ones that I found. We had a moment of silence and we spoke a pledge.
Making the day of peace community-wide involved a peace walk. Our PE teacher had worked with the police department for other events so contacted them so that they would provide safe crossings when we crossed busy streets. I was always able to find a nearby park that was our destination and we would have our programs at those locations. We would invite families and the community and they would walk with us. I asked grade levels to consider being a part with special peace themes. Some participated and some didn’t but some of their ideas were: Grade K-1 made tie-dye shirts to wear that day, make and carry origami peace cranes, make peace signs to carry on the walk, make peace necklaces to wear, create chalk drawings on the sidewalk route, and many more. Our school has a dress code and students were allowed to wear peace-themed shirts that day. If you don’t have a park nearby, just creating a peace walk around the school area will work. Because of COVID, having a program outside would be ideal. But if that won’t work, perhaps a peace walk and then back to the classrooms to watch a presentation put together with each class having been recorded doing something special. Family and the community could be invited to this Zoom or Teams meeting.
- The original UN objective was for nations to observe 24 hours of non-violence and ceasefire, both within and among all nations.
- A school objective-Raise awareness about peace and the need for peace in your classroom, school, community, state, country, world
- Related to the 2021 theme of RECOVERING: “Celebrate peace by standing up against acts of hate online and offline, and by spreading compassion, kindness, and hope in the face of the pandemic, and as we recover.” (2021 Theme: Recovering better for an equitable and sustainable world, 2021.) Retrieved from https://www.un.org/en/observances/international-day-peace.
- Peace Walk around your school
- Peace Program with speakers, music, and other activities. (dance, art, poetry reading, etc.)
- Peace visual art activities
- Peace poetry Initiative
- Engage in acts of kindness
Concurrent Learning in the Classroom
- Musicians who use songs to send a peace message or inform about injustice
- Civil Rights leaders’ peace walks, peaceful protests
- Hate speech related to Covid
Songs for Peace
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I’ve Got Peace Like a River for UKULELE