Curriculum

Today’s youth live in a world where violence is prevalent all around them: in the news, in movies and television, and often in their own schools, neighborhoods or families. They hear a great deal of talk about ‘peace’, ‘creating peace’, and ‘alternatives to violence’, but often this discussion is not put into historical and contemporary contexts they can understand.

The five session lesson plan is designed for high school students (grades 10-12) and addresses senseless violence in both historical and societal settings. The curriculum addresses the societal and personal costs of violence in our society and world and provides creative writing and interactive exercises, role play and a variety of discussion tools to enable young people to better cope with violence in their lives.

“I Cannot Be Silent: Testimonies of Peacemaking” presents testimonies of older “peacemakers” who have survived violence in various contexts and have dedicated their lives to young people in order to promote peace, justice, and recovery. In this intergenerational film, four youth who have witnessed or survived senseless urban violence engage in dialogue with one of the distinguished elders who is a holocaust survivor and child psychiatrist.

A second film that we highly recommend is “Stop the Violence” (produced by “Mothers in Charge” and available through their website); this 26 minute documentary examines the messages of youth who have themselves perpetrated violence and are seeking to make amends with society for their mistakes. Both films address the costs of violence for families and communities and provide a variety of creative classroom exercises to address these issues in our society. The curriculum is best suited for older high school students (grades 10-12) or beginning college students in peace studies courses.

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Organizations & Resources

Educators for Social Responsibility
Adventures in peace making program, online teacher center with lesson plans and activities

Southern Poverty Law Project’s Teaching Tolerance
Teacher resources, lesson plans, activities, classroom grants

Physicians for Social Responsibility
Violence prevention programs, Peaceful Posse, Bullying Prevention

Mothers In Charge
Violence prevention programs, grief support

  • “Mothers in Charge – Faces of Courage” (book)
  • "Crips and Bloods: Made in America", a film, directed by Stacy Peralta
  • "Something in Common", a book by Dorothy Johnson-Speight and Erika Mijlin

Facing Peace: Struggles, Strengths, Strategies of Families Surviving Violence
A collaboration with the Louis D. Brown Peace Institute. (Photo essay)

Holocaust Educational Resources

Cybrary of the Holocaust Education: A Legacy Forum

Violence and Unexpected Death (resource)


Books & Articles

Strength in What Remains
by Tracy Kidder, 2009
A novel about surviving Africa's ethnic violence. Pulitzer-Prize winning author Tracy Kidder recorded the true story of a man who survived the ethnic violence between Burundi and Rwanda and managed to find his way to the United States.

Intellectual Character: What it is, Why it matters, and How to get it
by Ron Ritchhart, 2002, Jossey-Bass

Because We Can Change the World, a Practical Guide to Building Cooperative, Inclusive Classroom Communities
by Mara Sapon-Shevin, Allyn and Bacon, 1999

Moral Classrooms, Moral Children, Creating a Constructivist Atmosphere in Early Education
by Rheta DeVries & Betty Zan, Teachers College Press, 1994

Surviving Violence: A Recovery Programme for Children and Families
by S. Fozzard (1995ED396849)

Chicago Teens Encourage Nonviolent Actions
by David Schaper

4 Key Psychological Elements For Surviving Violence
by Angie M. Tarighi
This article is geared toward women’s self defense, however easily translates

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