Students from around the world have the opportunity to share their thoughts and drawings to weave a Web of Peace on the Internet, marking the International Year for the Culture of Peace.
Fourth-, fifth-, and sixth-grade students and teachers in the school's Program for Gifted Learners have built a Web page showcasing student artwork and poetry centered on the themes of peace and a quote from the Rev. Martin Luther King, "I have a dream." Student work focuses on six principles of a culture of peace and non-violence:
Students designed the graphics for the site, according to Dalia Naujokaitis, a special assignment teacher at St. Elizabeth.
The school is hoping to collect 2001 submissions by January 30, 2001."We're trying to get kids to take ownership of real issues," Naujokaitis told Education World. "It's the whole idea of promoting non-violence and looking at the 21st century."
A number of student poems and drawings already appear on the Web of Peace, many of them from students at other Canadian schools. Some St. Elizabeth students recorded a rap song called "I Have A Dream" that visitors to the Web site can hear. Naujokaitis said she has heard from teachers in Australia, Japan, and Rwanda who would like to submit materials.
St. Elizabeth students also plan to include reports on students and classes involved in community service projects, according to Naujokaitis. "They want to show what kids are doing to make a difference."
After the Web page is complete, Naujokaitis said, she plans to burn it onto a compact disc and give a copy to Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien and other world leaders.
Among the themes revealed in students' work is that peace does not mean just the absence of war but also respect for all people and other living things, including the environment, Naujokaitis said.
Some youngsters wrote about the need for people to reach out to others with whom they did not get along and that everyone deserves respect -- no matter what the color of their skin is or what religion they practice.
Fourth graders from another participating school, St. Margaret Mary School, also a pre-K to grade-six school in Ottawa, wrote poems using the words "I have a dream" as the opening and closing lines, computer teacher Noelle McCabe said. Third graders drew symbols of peace.
Among the pluses of the Web Page for Peace project is that students are able to employ computer skills as well as think about the concept of peace, McCabe told Education World. "It's a very important idea," she said. "We talk a lot about it in school. We've been promoting the idea of a conflict-free school."
Ellen R. Delisio
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