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Peace Education Workshops Unite Educators

posted Nov 15, 2011, 8:33 PM by Dan Thiede   [ updated Nov 15, 2011, 8:35 PM ]
Peace Education facilitator Lisa Boland Blake (right) with an Ex-perienced Educator Kimberly Mason from Olson Elementary.
Excitement again was present during the Peace Education sessions held October 11, 12 and 13. Fifty four educators from 28 different schools as well as representatives from the Peace Prize Forum at Augsburg College and the Peace Maker Foundation attended, energized about networking and sharing ideas.

Lisa Boland Blake, Kevin McGee and Rhonda Vopava-Geyette facilitated the two Experienced Educator groups. Participants discussed and planned ideas about how to become an International Peace site and the re-dedication of existing Peace Sites. “The Power of Teacher Language,” by Paula Denton, led to much discussion and revelation of our impact on stu-dents. Denton writes that incorporating the five principles of teacher language into our daily communication with students helps build a classroom where students feel safe, respected and engaged. Each session participant devel-oped goals that will be implemented into their school setting between October and January. The effectiveness of those goals will be re-ported back to World Citizen during the Janu-ary 2012 sessions.

Brenda Wright and Anne Kalb facilitated a group of new educators to our program. Their discussion centered on the theme, “Beyond Food, Festivals, and Flags: prepare students to live in today‟s interdependent world, and weave international mindedness into the fabric of a school‟s standards, instruction, climate and assessment.” Nonviolent conflict resolution outlines and Naomi Drew‟s Win/Win Guidelines also were introduced.

Stories shared by educators in attendance:

“After my first Peace Education workshop I implemented the “If peace is … then I will …” activity to a low reading group. It was the first activity that every single child felt successful doing. The room environment felt happy and safe. It shifted the rest of the year in such a positive way.”

“After attending a Peace Education workshop I used a lesson plan with a girls‟ group I was facilitating. I had the girls make a heart and then fold it numerous times. Then they unfolded it, and were told to „get the wrinkles out.‟ I compared it to mean words and how they stick. Very powerful!”

“I‟ve brought my students to the Nobel Peace Prize Festival for the past three years. The preparation and experience of attending the festi-val has grown in excitement and anticipation. Each year an additional classroom has attended and last year we brought a peace choir. The stu-dents are using standards-based cur-riculum to learn peacemaking skills and learn about peacemakers around the world. Attending the festival provides an incredible inter-active opportunity to learn and meet students of all ages who are engaged in peacemaking.”

Rutherford Elementary Principal Heather Nelson, receipient of our Outstanding World Citizen Award (bottom right), enjoying lunch outside with fellow educa-tors on a gorgeous October day.
Please consider joining one of our sessions:

The second session is scheduled for January 17, 18, 19 and 20. Also, there is a special Secondary/Middle group scheduled for December 5th. Registration can be completed online at You also can e-mail me at call me at 651-308-8765. We love sharing our passion for peace.

―Lonnie Strand, WCI Peace Education Coordinator