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teaching non-violent resolution

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michaelblasi_at_TeacherArtExchange
Date: Sat Sep 15 2001 - 13:17:11 PDT


Hi, I'm Mike, I've been listening in for a while, time I put in... I work
as a substitute teacher for Los Angeles Unified School District. I'm also
an artist. Right now I have a class of twelve 2nd through 5th graders in
an intersession English immersion program in South Central LA.

      As our country prepares for war, I find myself with the difficult
problem of teaching non-violent resolution to children who are surrounded
by not only the violence of their neighborhoods, but also the messages of
a government that apparently believes that "hitting back" is the way to
solve a problem. As teachers, part of our job is teaching students to
find other solutions, besides retaliation. They need to learn to rise
above it somehow, or else the violence will just escalate and return to
them.

      Last week, I had them design costumes to portray emotions. One 2nd
grader did 'scary' as a skyscraper costume, with a plane for an arm
crashing into it. I guess the image is tattooed on everyone's mind, even
the very young.

     Next week, I plan to have them make puppets or dolls from their
designs. I plan to follow the project up with another costume design
project, to design a non-violent superhero, who must have powers that
solve problems in non-violent ways. I want to do puppets and dolls with
that project too.

Does any one have other art projects that teach non-violence?

Mike

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