Monday, November 2, 2009

Remembrance Day (Canada), Veterans' Day (US), and Thanksgiving

[Image Source: Matt 21/07/97 at]

We are approaching November 11 which is Remembrance Day (in Canada) and Veterans' Day (in the US). In my school the ceremony is conducted with a solemnity that honours our nations' Armed Forces personnel (past and present) and that gives students of all cultures an opportunity to remember their own peoples' struggles for freedom and peace. But we also try to anchor the meaning of peace in our students' hearts by choosing a theme that will be more personal to them. We believe in the importance of living the values of peace and thanksgiving every day, so this year have adopted the theme of 'compassion' -- people helping people.

If you're looking for an interesting global project for your students, I suggest PowerPoint for Peace sponsored by the people at Authorstream. Inspired by the AIDS Memorial quilts, this project invites people to add one slide to the presentation.

Here are the instructions:

Create a single standard size PowerPoint slide of 500 KB or smaller that represents your idea for a positive contribution to the world.
  • Do not criticize anyone, anything, etc. Critical, negative slides will not be approved.
  • Use Creative Commons and public domain media. Pictures, sounds, video, etc. must be embedded in the presentation. Linked items will not be converted and uploaded to the site.
  • Animations may be used, but all may not convert accurately.
  • Slides must contain the names of individual, group, or company.
  • Save the slide as a PPT file (Don't have PowerPoint? Impress is free at
  • Go to and log on. Registration is free.
  • Upload your slide and test it to see how it looks. Delete and upload the file as many times as needed.
  • When you're satisfied with your slide, go to and upload your slide.
  • Slides are reviewed and approved on Fridays. Slides can be deleted and re-uploaded until approval. Once approved slides cannot be deleted.

The people at TED have an inspirational project underway. This first is called the Charter for Compassion which was the idea of the first winner of the TEDPrize -- Karen Armstrong.

The Charter which embodies the ideas, words, and spirit of collaborators from all over the world is a "cry for return to the central principle" of the Golden Rule. It requires that we use "empathy ... to put ourselves in others' shoes." When I scrolled through the list of participants and their projects, I was struck by the lack of entries from schools. My school's November ceremony ties in with this theme and so I will be adding our name to the list. Perhaps we can invite our students to read the document: Reflections on Compassion and add their own reflections to the Charter website or join the Facebook group, the Flickr Group, or the YouTube Channel and post a contribution.

Finally here's a video project done with cell phones that we should be able to get kids to try. It's mostly images of words, but assembled this way, they communicate a powerful message about empathy and compassion.

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