Do you remember that song by Jane’s Addiction, Standing in the Shower Thinking? (raise your hand). This morning, I was standing in the shower, thinking, and mulling over our new requirements to integrate more anti-bullying lessons into our day (it’s now the law in Massachusetts, although what that means is still being sorted out).
I do a morning meeting (Circle of Power and Respect) that I learned from The Responsive Classroom, and that is a great way to start the day, as it leads to discussions about social issues and allows everyone a space to share and participate. And at this point in the year, the students are totally in charge of the morning meetings. I mostly sit and participate.
An email from our principal yesterday, though, has me wondering how to do more. He wants to know what we are doing to work more anti-bullying messages into our day and he will be checking in with us. As our school is part of the Peacebuilders network, he suggests using some of their materials. I’m not a huge fan of their activities, to be honest. I find them too canned for my tastes.
But this morning, as I was thinking through the launch of a project in which they are going to build a travel brochure for an imaginary land (expository writing, connections to arts, creative writing, etc.), I realized that this might be an opportunity to revamp that project. So, I did.
Now, with the revision of the Imaginary Land Project, one of the main components of their Imaginary Land is that they have to represent at least three elements of the daily Peacebuilder’s Pledge that we do every single morning as an entire school. I realize that for many of my students, they are just saying the words but understand little of the meaning anymore. I don’t blame them — repetitive speech becomes like a droning voice.
So, by breaking off the pieces of that pledge, and then having them thoughtfully work those ideas of peaceful thoughts and interactions into their projects, I am hoping to engage them in discussions around what it is they are saying every morning (in hopes of making it more meaningful) and meeting the requirements of my principal. Plus, they still get to create cool projects (they love this assignment).
Want a copy of the assignment? Here it is.
Sometimes, the shower is the best place to think ….
Peace (in the lands),