creating a peaceful classroom is an ongoing project. in her new book, peace, artist wendy anderson halperin draws children into the process.
her dedication is so beautiful, i'm sharing it with you:
this book is dedicated to your senses
may your eyes have visions of peace. may your eyes see actions of peace. may you find peace in seeing the wonders of nature.
may your hands do the work of peace: to help, to plant, to comfort, to reach out, and to create peace. may your feet walk in the direction of peace.
may you smell fresh air. may you smell a twig of rosemary when you are upset. may you smell the flowers of a quiet garden and the trees in a silent woods, and may a flower teach you to breathe slowly and deeply.
to tasting may you make choices in what you eat to promote peace. may your thoughts and efforts help feed the hungry. may you help keep our waters, lakes, rivers, and oceans clean for the thirsty.
may you hear or make music to feel peace. may you be a good listener to promote peace. may your words heal, not hurt.
if you have children, this book might be a great gift to them or their classroom.
if you love art, you also may enjoy perusing the pages.
tina, of colour living, invited richard huntington, director of strategy @ saatchi & saatchi and author of adliterate, the uk's most influential advertising blog, to share his creative process.
he came up with 9 steps.
here they are, quotes in italic. note that richard's in advertising, and i'm a montessori teacher.
1. read weird stuff - consume random stuff that interests and that might provide a lateral spark that helps solve a problem. reading is always a plus!
2. see the things others don't or can't see. most of the time i am exposed to exactly the same stimulus as other people. it's just that i am on the look out and listening for thoughts that others have ignored. working with children helps with this - they see things very differently from our grown-up perspective.
3. focus on what is interesting and not what is right. this is not to say you don't want the answer to be right but that if you look for something interesting it might also be right. whereas if you look for something right it will never be interesting. my teacher self notes here that things such as capitalization and punctuation must be taught so children know what's right, even if they choose to abandon it in later creative choices.
4. go there. ..searching for the real root cause of the problem and not settling for superficial solutions...why people do the things they do. in montessori, we educate the whole child, social and emotional needs included.
5. be amused by the world. enjoy the idiosyncrasies. and everything else wonderful you can find.
6. everything can give you an answer. he's not talking existentially, but using the environment to look for solutions to creative problems.
(photos by nms from moma, nyc)
7. think visually as well as conceptually. this works in education! venn diagrams, triangles, wedges, anything we can show children in pictures aids understanding. this feeds clear thinking in general, not just creativity.
8. find your creative routine. ...things you do to force your mind into a creative place because your mind associates that routine (place, pen, lighting, smell, etc.) with producing something of worth. he uses moleskins and montblanc pens in his routine.
9. use all your life. we bring all our experiences to our work, which makes it valuable. thoughts on creativity? joy to you!
1. elaborative encoding. this includes two things - attaching context to what you are learning, and putting effort into remembering the information. these make the memory more durable, more likely to be recalled when needed. a strategy is to visualize what you are trying to remember. pictures attached to words are helpful. 2. spaced repetition - practice repeatedly, spread across time. in the multi-grade classroom, this includes approaching the same topic each year, deeper each time. it also works in a shorter term. practicing spelling words several times in different ways throughout the week creates a deeper memory than studying once. 3. make learning fun. first graders learn prepositions on the playground - run UP the steps, go THROUGH the tunnel, and so on. a joy. thoughts on remembering? the beauty of learning. joy!
this newbery honor book does not lend itself to a "top 5". it's intense, scary, and has full page, beautiful illustrations. it looks like a book for third graders, but the content is so shocking, i'd have to think about 4th and 5th graders. unlike the hunger games, whose concept- children hunting children - i abhor, this book is based on real events. it's scarier.
sasha's mother has died. in a hospital, he thinks. his father works for the russian state security, whose job it is to unmask disguised enemies. chapter one opens with sasha writing a letter of thanks and joy to stalin, saying his greatest dream is to become a young soviet pioneer. in chapter two, we learn that sasha lives with forty-eight hardworking people in an apartment with one toilet and thin walls that don't go to the ceiling. the little boy's dream of becoming a pioneer is to happen the following day, but a big, black car pulls up in the night. the state security destroy their room and take his father away.
why read it? the author, eugene velchin, does an excellent job of staying with the sasha's perspective. we learn that a gift of a carrot is a treat, and the child is hungry. he wonders what life is like in capitalist countries, where he wouldn't be surprised if a child had never tasted a carrot. also, sasha is resourceful. in addition, the book is so fast paced, older children and adults will read it in one suspenseful sitting. lastly, it has as happy an ending as possible.