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Visual Arts Lesson Plan to accompany U. N. Peace Pals Project

May Peace Prevail on Earth (Living Together in Peace & Harmony)

Included is information for all those persons who would like to facilitate a visual art making activity for youth 5-15 years of age on the theme "May Peace Prevail on Earth".

Interconnectedness PEACE

StarShine Academy located in Phoenix, Arizona, is the North American regional host (including Canada and Mexico), for this the 9th Annual International United Nations' Peace Pals Project. StarShine was the 8th International host last year, the first American school to sponsor this yearly art celebration on the subject of PEACE.

Entry information is included with the addition of a lesson plan to assist in this visual art making process.
Entry information as a Word Document

All Three of the Arts Education Standards will be addressed in this lesson:

  1. View art to inquire how the arts reveal universal themes.
  2. Understanding art in context.
  3. Create art-knowing/applying the arts disciplines, techniques, and processes to communicate original/interpretative work.
This lesson plan has been designed by the StarShine Academy Regional Host committee with the intention teachers or community arts facilitators will have an effective literacy-based arts experience that will benefit not only the individual, but the community where this activity is occurring.

The image at the left is a Peace Pole in the garden at StarShine Academy, Phoenix, Az.

September 11, 2004, Trish Adams, Director of StarShine Academy and Terri Mansfield, Coordinator of Az. Dept. of Peace Campaign, invited Paula Christine, of the New York UN/NGO World Peace Prayer Society, to StarShine Academy for the dedication of the school's Peace Pole. StarShine was later asked to host the 8th U.N. International Peace Pals Art Celebration.

Lesson Objectives:

  1. "Engage & Persist: Teachers in visual arts classes present their students with projects that engage them." When they teach their students to stick to a task for a sustained period of time, they are teaching participants to focus and develop introspection.

This visual arts lesson plan is multifaceted integrating literary arts, music, art making and reflective writing.

Begin this arts process by explaining that the students are going to create a visual representation of what Peace means to them.

Go to the United Nations web site to first discuss the history and purpose of the United Nations and its contributions to Peace around the world.

  1. "Present the concept of art worlds" (visual, literary, & musical) through the art history objectives as outlined in the "Seeing Lesson in Nature" activity. This lesson plan utilizes a beautifully illustrated children's story (by Arizona artist Sylvia Long), Alejandro's Gift, (written by Richard E. Albert) to teach about the interconnectedness of all life "LIVING TOGETHER IN PEACE AND HARMONY".

When possible have the participating youth visit a nature preserve or a local park area.

  1. "Envision": If the "Seeing lesson plan" is not an option, students will be "asked to create a work of art from their imagination rather than from observation". Generate conversation about what they cannot observe directly with their eyes.
  • First begin with the word "PEACE". Ask participants what symbols come to their minds that represent Peace, reflecting on their world of experiences and culture. DRAW THOSE SYMBOLS OR IMAGES
  • Now add the phrase "May Peace Prevail on Earth-Living Together in Peace and Harmony". Talk about Living Together in Harmony and Balance (ITS MEANING) and the phrase "Building a CULTURE OF PEACE, a world where cooperation, interdependence, cultural and spiritual diversity are interwoven by understanding, acceptance and celebration throughout our homes, schools, communities and global family of nations." Use the inserted images as examples:

Students & Garden @ StarShine Academy, Regional Host for this arts activity - May Peace Prevail on Earth -

In the next image have the students tell you about the individual designs in the mural and what story they think this image may be conveying. Possible answers:
Respect for multiple ways of understanding the world's religions (religious symbols). Political freedom for all in the statue of liberty.
Respect for a balance in nature. The importance of our families in our lives and the communities where we live. Awareness of traditional values, ideas and beliefs that guide us in our everyday lives.

Mural @ Hamilton School, Murphy School District, by artist Martin Moreno & students.

  1. "Express: Students are asked to go beyond craft to convey a personal vision in their work. A drawing teacher was quoted, 'Art is beyond a technique-I think a drawing that is done honestly and directly always expresses feeling.' Reinforce the concept that the artworks come from each student's reflective experiences, unique in their cultural and community backgrounds.
  1. "Observe: 'Looking is the real stuff about drawing.' ", art teacher. The skill of careful observation is taught in visual arts classes and is not restricted to drawing classes where students draw from the model. Students are asked to see with new eyes. Have the students go outside and view the natural environment and observe the colors. Ask them to describe the hot colors in nature: sun-shades of yellow, orange, red & pink. Now ask them about the cool colors in nature: blues, purples, grays and whites in the clouds and grasses/leaves that are all shades of green. There is a balance in these colors. Every HOT color loves to be next to a COOL color providing balance and harmony in the composition.

Mural @ the Entrance of StarShine Academy by Vernon D. Swaback
Plaque reads: Deep tones of the earth along with colors symbolizing the atmospheric effects of the Arizona sky, flow together in a curvilinear geometry without beginning or end. The star shapes have been added by each of the Academy's human stars. The Garden of the Stars mural is a reminder of the bright and shining magnificence of what a single life can achieve when it is in harmony with the universal order that is our shared and real home.

Zen Monks visit StarShine Academy on their walk across the country to focus on "May Peace Prevail on Earth", Summer 2005, Phoenix, Arizona.

  1. Art Making Instruction - critical inquiry, art history and reflection on the subject of Peace have occurred. Now is the time for the youth to create their visual interpretations of the information. Please refer to the list of criteria for the dimensions of the artwork. Mixed media, paints, watercolors, colored pencils, markers or crayons may all be the art making materials used to render an image. Many times youth can create these images spontaneously with little guidance if the background information has provided enough for their imaginations to take over. Sometimes it is best to begin with a sketch that is later transferred onto the original paper.
  1. "Stretch and Explore: Students are asked to try new things" in their art making application. At this time the concept of problem solving is presented along with self-evaluation. The participant is asked to extend beyond what he/she has done before. To step back and look at the artwork as it evolves. And not to be too critical of oneself. When the language of, "I messed up!" occurs, encourage the child to see how this potential mess up can become an added element in the design. This kind of instruction can be related to real life. We never have all the answers to how to creatively solve a problem. But we can trial and critically rethink our choices until the right solution manifests itself. The solution may involve newly aquired ideas. School instruction may also be a means to guide students in the process of making critical choices that benefit themselves and the communities where they live. This is one of the behavioral outcomes of the concept of PEACE AND HARMONY IN OUR SCHOOLS AND OUR NEIGHBORHOODS. This involves positive behavior being tolerant of diverse cultural values and beliefs.
These Eight Habits of Mind that the Visual Arts Teach listed above and below in the instructional text are quoted from the inaugural Arts & Learning Review Issue by Ellen Winter, pp. 6-7. ,
National Arts & Learning Collaborative at Walnut Hill. (NALC),
12 Highland Street, Natick, Ma. 01760
Phone (508) 650-5055,

The order and context have been adapted to meet the needs of this lesson plan.

Ceramic Mural @ Lowell School on Buckeye & 4th Avenue.
Funding for this mural project on Respect and Responsibility in Community Service, provided by Arizona Commission on the Arts.

  1. "Reflect: Students are asked to be reflective about their art making in two" ways: teachers frequently evaluate students' artworks informally as they move around the room, as well as more formally in critique sessions. But more importantly in Process Focused Art Making Activities that are based on Universal Life Lesson Themes a reflective, literary arts writing component is the best tool for determining the effectiveness of the lesson plan.

Mural from Hamilton School, Murphy School District, created by artist Martin Moreno with the students.

Lesson Plan Objectives of written Reflection:

  1. Adhering to the Standards for Language Arts, each participant is to write at least one- two paragraphs on what she/he has learned from the lesson activities.
  2. This written reflection can serve as an assessment tool of learning for the overall project.
Student Activity:
A one-two paragraph, written composition is suggested at the conclusion of all the "May Peace Prevail on Earth" lesson plan activities. Help the students by giving them guiding questions and review the referenced information for this project.
These questions have been broken into 2 specific topics for discussion:
  1. Discuss the visual artwork you created:
    1. What symbols are in your image?
    2. What art making materials did you use?
    3. Had you used these materials before? If not, why did you select these particular art making tools?
    4. How did you address the use of color? Does the use of your colors suggest a mood or idea for the artwork?
    5. Do you have a name for your artwork? If so, what is it?
    6. If you were to redo your image, what would you change?
  2. Address the overall lesson plan: What did you learn from this art history, art inquiry and art making project:
    1. What did you learn about the United Nations?
    2. What did you learn about the word "Peace" and how does Peace relate to your life?
    3. What did you learn about the concept of "Living Together in Peace and Harmony"?
    4. Did you enjoy designing and creating the visual image about Peace?
    5. What didn't you like about this activity?
    6. Will you discuss what you learned during the program with anyone you know?
    7. Do you have anything else you would like to discuss in this writing?

Vocabulary definitions taken from

Culture - the sum total of the behaviors and activities of any specific group of people, including their implements, arts, religious values and beliefs, traditions, stories and language.

Interconnectedness - Interconnectedness is one of many concepts gaining popularity as part of the terminology of a worldview which sees a oneness in all things. A similar term, interdependence, is sometimes used instead, although there are slightly different connotations. Both terms tend to refer to the idea that all things are of a single underlying substance and reality, and that there is no true separation deeper than appearances. ...

Peace -

  • the state prevailing during the absence of war
  • harmonious relations; freedom from disputes; "the roommates lived in peace together"
  • the absence of mental stress or anxiety
  • the general security of public places; "he was arrested for disturbing the peace"
  • a treaty to cease hostilities; "peace came on November 11th"

Spiritual - Please refer to the article on Spirituality in Art

Tradition - the passing down of elements of a culture from generation to generation, especially by oral communication

Peace Pole and School garden located at Lowell School, Buckeye and 4th Avenue, has been in this community since 1993.


The World Peace Prayer Society o The Goi Peace Foundation
The United Nations Global Teaching & Learning Project (UN CyberSchoolBus)

Children throughout the world ages 5 -15 are invited to participate.
Entries will be divided into three age categories for the awarding of prizes:
5-8 years, 9-12 years, and 13-15 years.

THEME depicted in the Design of the Artwork:
Let us build a world of cooperation and mutual respect where the diversity of spiritual riches is valued and material abundance is shared by all. We can do this in our homes, in our schools, in our communities and among our global family of nations.

1. The Message: Each design must incorporate the message
"May Peace Prevail on Earth."

2. Size: A single page measuring 4.75"x 6.75" (12 cm x 17 cm) horizontal or vertical.
3. The Design: Drawn, sketched or painted in any style on paper or cardboard. However, no organic elements or loose items can be used.
4. The Number of Entries: from each person is unlimited.
5. Information Required: On the reverse side of the artwork, the following information should be typed on an adhesive label or printed legibly: (1.) Full Name; (2.) Age; (3.) Address; (4.) City/Zip; (5.) Country; (6.) School or Institution; (7.) Grade; (8.) Notification phone number (9.) E-mail address. Please include with your entry a typed (or hand printed) mailing label for a certificate of participation.

StarShine Academy, Peace Pals Art
2801 N. 31st St.
Phoenix, AZ, 85008, USA

Recipients of awards will be posted on our website and announced at a ceremony. 100 of the North American juried artworks will be sent to the host nation to compete on an international level in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
All artworks become the property of The World Peace Prayer Society, and are eligible to become part of a worldwide traveling exhibition. Original pieces may be displayed in schools, libraries, museums, town halls, and at festivals.
INFORMATION:;; or call (602) 957-9557.

May Peace Prevail on Earth