In my last blog, I wrote about the importance of creating opportunities for children to make authentic connections through literature. Our exploration of texts about the significance of names led to discussions about how names are related to culture. The students came to understand that we can be connected to our culture through a name, and how culture can be carried to a new land through immigration. This lead to conversations about why people leave countries, with a focus on seeking new opportunities and peaceful environments. The children explored the theme of peace by making self, text, and world connections while reading these great read aloud books:
Wangari’s Trees of Peace – Jeanette Winter
The Librarian of Basra – Jeanette Winter
Sami and the Time of the Troubles – Judith Heide Gilliland and Florence Parry Heide
Sadako – Eleanor Coerr
The Wall – Eve Bunting
Throughout our reading, the children developed deep opinions and perspectives about war and peace. They shared their profound ideas in writing and conversations. Some of their learning is represented in the attached concept chart, which was adapted from Patricia Cunningham’s Beyond Retelling: Toward Higher Level Thinking and Big Ideas, as it highlights a culmination of their ideas combined with examples from texts and real life. Towards the end of our exploration of texts about peace, we read What Does Peace Feel Like?, a collection of children’s thoughts about peace compiled by Vladimir Radunksy. The text challenged us to consider to following questions: What does peace look like? What does peace smell like? What does peace taste like? What does peace sound like? What does peace feel like?
Each student had the opportunity to select which idea they wanted to represent. Although the ideas may seem abstract, the children were creative and honest as they worked in small groups to brainstorm ideas on paper, which were then transferred onto a large mural in the hallway using paint. The children worked cooperatively and took much pride in sharing their thoughts on peace, understanding that it was important to share their ideas with others. Hopefully their masterpiece will inspire you, too!