Opinion
Education Opinion

Peace it Forward

By Elizabeth Rich — November 20, 2009 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Just left a pretty interesting session: Engaging the Community Through Photovoice

Pioneer Middle School in Michigan has been taking a group of 8th graders to NYC to shoot photographs and write poetry. Last year, they decided to focus on peace as their theme for the school year and their NYC trip. The students read Todd Parr’s book, The Peace Book. There was a community service element (8th graders read The Peace Book with elementary school kids). The literacy component was continuing the poetry work that the students had started the previous year.

Two teachers, Claire Walton-Swisher and Carmen Johnson, worked with their assistant principal to grow their idea into a peace project. It seems to have worked. They got a lot of support locally and in NYC for their idea—both financially and conceptually. With the participation of author/artist Parr and others, they were able to develop a number of community partnerships that extended from the tour company that brought them to the city to Parr’s publisher Little Brown.

With 500 copies of The Peace Book and a swag bag of peace-theme items (including peace buttons donated by Yoko Ono), 150 students traveled to the city with a few volunteer parents and their two teachers. They stood on street corners and read from the book, and handed out the peace bags. Those peace bags were later seen across town and asked for by a folks in the airport as the group traveled back to Michigan.

The students performed at the Band Shell in Central Park (in the pouring rain), interviewed random strangers, and still managed to keep travel journals, and take their photographs.They wrote their poetry back home.

Upon their return, the local arts center held an exhibit of the work. The 8th graders were empowered by their trip—in addition, to producing photos and writing poetry, they were also handed a lesson in self-confidence. Not always so easy to speak to random strangers on the streets of NYC. (The teachers did explain they had coached the parents a bit in advance on how to broker some of those conversations.)

They are headed back to NYC in 2010 between March 23-26 and yes, they are looking for partnering schools in NYC and beyond. The theme for 2010 is “green for today” and they are inviting everyone to join them in the city for next year’s project.
Here’s a few helpful sites.

Pioneer Peace Project
The Peace Project
Todd Parr’s Web site

—Elizabeth Rich

The opinions expressed in The Book Whisperer are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.


Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Leadership for Racial Equity in Schools and Beyond
While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to reveal systemic racial disparities in educational opportunity, there are revelations to which we can and must respond. Through conscientious efforts, using an intentional focus on race, school leaders can
Content provided by Corwin
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Evaluating Equity to Drive District-Wide Action this School Year
Educational leaders are charged with ensuring all students receive equitable access to a high-quality education. Yet equity is more than an action. It is a lens through which we continuously review instructional practices and student
Content provided by BetterLesson

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Schools Get the Brunt of Latest COVID Wave in South Carolina
In the past few weeks, South Carolina has set records for COVID-19 hospitalizations and new cases have approached peak levels of last winter.
4 min read
Two Camden Elementary School students in masks listen as South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster talks about steps the school is taking to fight COVID-19, Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021, in Camden, S.C. McMaster has adamantly and repeatedly come out against requiring masks in schools even as the average number of daily COVID-19 cases in the state has risen since early June. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Collins)
Education More States Are Requiring Schools to Teach Native American History and Culture
Advocates say their efforts have gained some momentum with the nation’s reckoning over racial injustice since the killing of George Floyd.
3 min read
A dancer participates in an intertribal dance at Schemitzun on the Mashantucket Pequot Reservation in Mashantucket, Conn., Saturday, Aug. 28, 2021. Connecticut and a handful of other states have recently decided to mandate students be taught about Native American culture and history. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
Education Judge's Temporary Order Allows Iowa Schools to Mandate Masks
A federal judge ordered the state to immediately halt enforcement of a law that prevents school boards from ordering masks to be worn.
4 min read
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks to reporters following a news conference, Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021, in West Des Moines, Iowa. Reynolds lashed out at President Joe Biden Thursday after he ordered his education secretary to explore possible legal action against states that have blocked school mask mandates and other public health measures meant to protect students against COVID-19. Reynolds, a Republican, has signed a bill into law that prohibits school officials from requiring masks, raising concerns as delta variant virus cases climb across the state and schools resume classes soon. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Education Hurricane Ida Deals New Blow to Louisiana Schools Struggling to Reopen
The opening of the school year offered teachers a chance to fully assess the pandemic's effects, only to have students forced out again.
8 min read
Six-year-old Mary-Louise Lacobon sits on a fallen tree beside the remnants of her family's home destroyed by Hurricane Ida, in Dulac, La., on Sept. 4, 2021. Louisiana students, who were back in class after a year and a half of COVID-19 disruptions kept many of them at home, are now missing school again after Hurricane Ida. A quarter-million public school students statewide have no school to report to, though top educators are promising a return is, at most, weeks away, not months.
Six-year-old Mary-Louise Lacobon sits on a fallen tree beside the remnants of her family's home destroyed by Hurricane Ida, in Dulac, La., on Sept. 4, 2021.
John Locher/AP