Today we started painting the background for our winter art project. We have been studying the different ways animals survive during the winter months. To accompany our studies, we are creating a painted paper art collage showing how some animals deal with the cold winter months.
Before the break, students had the opportunity to play the World Peace Game, a geopolitical simulation where kids work together to solve crises. After playing a successful game, students took time to reflect on their experience. Here are some of their thoughts…
“When I walked into the door and saw the WPG board I felt super excited. But when we got to the end of the WPG I felt a lot more serious then I did when we started. It was almost as if I was a real prime minister solving the world’s actual problems. This also makes me appreciate more of the privileges I get to have because after playing the WPG there were lots of refugees that we had to find a home for because of the wars that were happening where they lived. It probably was one of the hardest crisis we had to solve but at the end we did it, we won.”
“It was meaningful to me also because we got to solve all the problems on our own and Mr.Baumbach didn’t give us any hints or anything. We got to do everything by ourselves.”
“I think we played the game so we could learn about solving different kinds of problems. If there is an oil spill in the future, I will know what to do or be able to tell someone what to do.”
“In the WPG there was violence but everyone was trying to give peace to the world. And we did. At the last second our class successfully won the WPG because everyone was working together. Anyone can fight for freedom they just have to pick the right side.”
“The WPG represents earth and what we would do if we could make the decisions. I got to see my friends and classmates ask questions and team up together. It was amazing.”
“What makes a good negotiator? Honesty because otherwise it wouldn’t be much of a negotiation. Kindness because no one likes a mean negotiator. Flexibility because flexibility is key.”
“I think a good negotiator is someone happy and not mad and is respectful to others. A good negotiator waits their turn to negotiate and will never talk over others.”
“I think there is always more than one way to solve anything in the world.”
“Peace is all happy like “yay!” In other words it is an expression. There can’t be only one “expression” in the world. It would look weird. But it can’t be all violence either. If the world was all violence then there would be a catastrophe and there would be a lot of wars and that is not good.”
“This is how to be a good negotiator: stand still, stay calm, don’t look away, remain with eye contact, and don’t say, ‘I get 3\4 of the oil and you get 1\4, deal?’ Be like, ‘You get 2\4 and I get 2\4. Is there anything else that you need?’”
“I kind of underestimated how hard it was going to be for at least one game day which was a little foolish because it was the hardest game I have ever played in my entire life. There was a lot of strategy involved in the World Peace Game and I find strategy very challenging.”
“You can fight for freedom. When you fight for freedom and win it will create world peace. This makes me think of World War 2 because the United States and England and more fought against Germany so their people could have peace.”
“Teamwork is needed. Everyone needs to work together to solve problems throughout the world. We wouldn’t have won if we hadn’t worked together. The important thing about this is that all war should be stopped and teamwork is needed and encouraged.”
“Yes, there can be peace with violence, but you shouldn’t do so. I believe that peace should be all that’s in the world, no violence. People shouldn’t cause wars just because of one tiny thing! They should just talk it out. Violence can be stopped by making agreements, compromise, and solving problems.”
“If countries are rude to each other, that can cause wars, and nobody wants wars. Wars can lead to famine, and asylum. Wars are like a dragon breathing fire on that area.”
“At the end of the game I felt like I understood war, how painful it was, asylum, how hard it was to survive, and crises in the world, how dangerous they might be.”
“I realized how bad humans can be to other humans.”
“You need to make choices that won’t always be the best. In other words, you need to be good at making choices that won’t always benefit you.”
“To me, the W.P.G. means learning how to take matters into your own hands and learn how to compromise with other people.”
“You have to be agreeable. So if someone keeps on trying to work with you, and you always say no then that person will probably be quite annoyed, sad, mad, any of those feelings.”
“To be a good negotiator you have to know how to think about not only your perspective, but other people’s too. You also have to be willing to take the time to really listen to the other people so you get a big bowl of people’s opinions and ideas at the end.”
“I think that there is not just one way to solve a problem, there are many, but it really depends on the situation. So you have to know what situation you’re in so you can then come up with the right solution.”
“The WPG teaches us what we can do to not make war in the future but make peace throughout the world. I recommend this game to every student and teacher because it teaches teamwork, peace, and problem solving.”
“To be a good negotiator, you might have to be sly if you can’t pay for what they want. You also want to have street smarts like if a random guy gives you candy but it’s poisonous.”
“I saw everyone working quick but not rushing at the end of the game to solve every crises and to beat the game.”
“I really like that I had this experience because it can help me not only at home, but throughout my whole life. I’m very glad that I did this.”
“Some characteristics of a good negotiator are: using a calm, assertive voice, and not being loud or rude. A good negotiator is also always honest to others.”
“When we played the WPG, whenever there was a problem between countries with opposing viewpoints, they would negotiate, and sometimes the UN would help figure things out. Maybe people could do that in real life too.”
“In my opinion the meaning of the WPG is to teach you to work as a group.”
“If everyone is in their downstairs brains there probably won’t be any peace.”
“A good negotiator has good deals, not rip offs. A good negotiator patches up conflicts, not start them. To be a good negotiator you need to have an assertive voice. To be a good negotiator you need to be prepared and have confidence.”
“If you don’t try to solve a problem you will never know what will happen. We can at least try to solve it.”
“Never say you will give someone money when you don’t have any and never give money if you do not know what they will do with it.”
“The game is about helping others. When you are older, if you are in a competition, you need to have teamwork. This is one of the reasons we played the game.”
“A good negotiator is polite and nice. You talk and listen to the other person, you explain your thoughts. At the end you should shake hands and thank them and say ‘Thanks for the talk, have a good day!’”
“The WPG explains that real stuff like what is in the game actually happened like refugees. In 30 years, I could be the president or some one else like you could be. The important thing about this is when I’m president, I need to know how to solve problems.”
Today we watched a video about a 9 year-old basketball phenom named Jaliya Manuel. As we watched, we listened for positive and inspiring messages. The kids really enjoyed watching Jaliya and afterward, we had a discussion that included thoughts about her being a great role model for us if we are looking to get better at anything we are passionate about.
The fourth graders took a nice little stroll to White Oak Savanna this morning. We were met there by Roberta Schwarz, the woman who has taken care of the park for the past fourteen years by raising millions of dollars and coordinating volunteers to help restore the park. One way that Willamette students have helped restore the park is by planting native plants in the park. Today, fourth grade graders planted sword ferns in the riparian area of the park. Then they walked into the park and planted milkweed in hopes of attracting butterflies. It was a beautiful morning spent doing something positive for our community.
Three students led the entire school in a Core Practice, which is a mindful breathing exercise that we do in our classroom three times per day to help calm our brains and prepare for learning. Over 500 students took a moment to sit quietly and take deep breaths. It was a perfect way to start our day.
After meeting our first grade buddies and playing outside with them last week, we spent some time reading with them today. It was a mutually beneficial situation as we both practiced our reading skills while having a great time together.
We are in the beginning stages of a challenging art project. Students had a great time creating colorful paper to be used as part of a collage. Stay tuned for updates in the coming weeks.
Don’t be surprised if your child’s bedroom turns into a chain reaction science lab this summer. After learning about Rube Goldberg and how energy is stored and transferred, we set off on making our very own chain reaction machines. After doing some basic two-step chain reactions, students were set free to experiment and create the most elaborate multi-step chain reactions they could.