In last week's Art Teacherin' 101 blog post, I shared with y'all my concerns about teaching peace, love and kindness this coming school year. I feel there is a great need to bring this teaching into our art rooms (and all classrooms, for that matter!) and build it into our curriculum. But how? It's not a "standard". We don't have an "I Can" for that. It's not required of us...and I don't recall learning how to teach kindness (like, whut?!) in college. We cannot expect children to just KNOW how to be kind. We don't expect them to KNOW how to hold a pencil, cut a piece of paper and not spread glue all over their hand and lick it off (ahem). We teach them these things. So, in that respect, we can't expect them to know how to treat each other with peace, love and kindness. We DEFINITELY can't expect that of them when our collective actions, displayed on every news outlet, shows we don't know how to treat each other either!
So, for that reason, I'm on a mini-campaign to bring peace, love and kindness into my art room this year. I do hope you'll join me...and share your thoughts, books and lessons in the comments below. United is how we are going to accomplish this goal. And we are doing it for the best reason possible: our students and their future.
My apologies for getting a little long winded here. And emotional. I was trying to keep it together!
I've been scratching my head and wracking my brain to come up with ideas. One way I thought we could kick off this campaign for kindness is with a little something I'm calling the #calendarofkindness and #peacefulheART. I do hope you (and your students) will feel free to join on your preferred social media. I know even my school district is already on board! I'll be posting in Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and using those hashtags. I can't wait to see what you share!
I've also created a long list of books that I cherish and share in my art room below along with projects that I've found to be successful. Please feel free to add your two cents in the comments so that we have a growing list of books, resources and projects for peace.Many of my art teacherin' buddies shared their fave books with me so I'll make sure to add them here. However, I only felt comfortable speaking about the books I've actually read and used in my art room. Love the What Do You Do with an Idea...what a great book to start the art year with! Also, The Hundred Dresses is a short chapter book. I like to read it aloud to my 3rd and 4th grade students while they work. It's a book that teaches about kindness...and makes me cry every time. As does The Giving Tree. Anything Shel Silverstein has written speaks to my students, they love him!
I love these books that celebrate our differences while explaining how we are also the same. The Colors of Us is read to my students every year before we learn to mix our flesh color for self-portraits.
My copy of The Big Orange Splot is so worn out, I've read it to my students to much. It's another book that points out our differences and explains how that is what makes us unique. It also does an excellent job of teaching how we should celebrate the differences of others. Remember: when we teach children to first love themselves, they will be able to love one another.
So anything Todd Parr writes is awesome. And happy. And colorful.
Have y'all read this? It's fan-freakin'-tastic. Get it in your library stat.
Also check out Linda Kranz's other book You Be You...it's excellent as well.Now, let's talk projects. Here are a handful that I've done with my students to cultivate a culture of kindness. The Gallery of Gratitude was a huge hit.
Each employee of our school was drawn and written about. They cherished these images and words and have them on display in their offices and classrooms!
This hangs proudly right outside the art room door. From floor to ceiling. It really is OKAY! Different is grand.
The Village of Kindness was a successful collaborative project that used recycled materials. I loved how happy, colorful and sweet this display was for our art show last year.
Each house had a door that, when opened, shared a kind message.
This school-wide collaborative now hangs proudly in our school office. It was created by all students to show that we have heart!
This love-based mural was so easy that it was my sub plan! I've created a video to teach this lesson. Feel free to use it in your art room!
Here's an oldie but goodie that we created a couple of years ago, a We Are the World mural! It was a fun and impactful way to kick off the school year.
Of course, The Dot is a great way to start the year as well. It also promotes self-love and how that love can transmit to others. Here is a list of fun Dot Day art projects.Art can also help those right in your own backyard. We did just that with out Houses to Help project!
Here's a list of some other projects that promote kindness:
Please feel free to add your ideas below...and I look forward to seeing your #calendarofkindness images starting August 1st!