Students always enjoy when a teacher is able to tie in special days into their curriculum. It makes learning about the subject ‘real’ and interesting for the students. Next week will be the 28th annual Peace Day Celebration around the world. Many countries across the globe participate in Peace Day by holding events, ceremonies, and spreading the message of peace to commemorate this day. Next week also marks the first day of fall, at 11:09pm on Wednesday the 22nd. This day is also called the Autumnal Equinox. Marking this day in your classroom is a great way to incorporate history, geography, and science all into one lesson.
On the International Peace Day website you can find information about the history of Peace Day, local events that will be held by various organizations in your area about Peace Day, information about planning a Peace Day event, along with many links to various organizations, activities, and online broadcasts for Peace Day events.
For Peace Day at my school, we have an entire school-wide celebration. Every grade participates in a different activity that celebrates peace. Activities range from artwork, essays, poetry, dances, skits, and speeches. All of the different components come together and are shared during the school-wide assembly.
Some activities that you can incorporate at your school for Peace Day include planting a ‘peace’ tree, making origami cranes, writing poems about peace, or coloring in a dove (the universal symbol of peace). Planet Pals has great activities for learning about Peace Day in the classroom including learning about the Nobel Peace Prize, the Peace Bell, the story of Peace Day, and famous peace quotes. This is a great site for middle school students to learn about Peace Day. The First School website has suggests for the teacher to create lessons about Peace Day. The activities include book reflections on simple biographies of individuals who strived for peace, crafts including flowers and wreaths, along with connections made to other peaceful holidays and events. These activities are created for young students, but can be adapted for different levels.
Teaching about the Autumnal Equinox is a great way to incorporate a variety of subjects into one lesson around an interesting and meaningful subject. Depending on the level of students, they can learn about the earth’s tilt, the difference between summer and winter, how it affects the difference hemispheres of the earth, or simply how on the Autumnal Equinox in the United States that day and night will be almost equal at 12 hours each.
The calendar-updates website provides background information about the Autumnal Equinox along with images and links to help understand the meaning of the autumnal equinox. This site also contains historical information about other holidays as well and is a handy teacher resource. The Teacher’s Guide has a variety of different activities and lessons incorporating different levels of students and subject areas for the theme of fall. These activities include SMART board templates, crafts, recipes, printouts, online resources, and lesson plans. One of my favorite activities on this site is learning about why the leaves change color in the fall which includes reading activities for several levels of students (including ages and ability levels) along with a science component.
To engage the students in learning the standards and concepts you are required to cover as a teacher is much more rewarding by incorporating fun and interactive lessons with meaningful topics.
Article By: Laura Ketcham
Picture By: raymaclean