Thursday, February 4, 2010

Peacebus Art Competition – Cont’d

The students and I have learned how to have lots of fun over the last month.

It was the third day of school and on our drive home I wanted to fill the bus with the voices of the children singing. I began with a song that I figured several of them would already know – The Moose Song! It was a bit of a flop!! Only a few students joined in and they mostly spoke the words instead of singing them. When the song was over I concluded that these students just didn’t like singing. This didn’t upset me at all, I just figured that we would have fun doing different activities, is all.

The weather last week, was quite depressing. The clouds continuously obstructed the sun and wet, sloppy rain and snow pelted down from the skies. On Thursday, the sun finally burst through the thinning clouds, the temperatures reached a super high of minus two degrees and I was in a great mood. I had been receiving so many glorious artworks from the children during our first ‘peace-art’ competition. I had to celebrate these occasions with a song.

I was getting ready for another almost solo performance when my great mood increased to fantabulous!!! Without any encouragement the entire bus broke into song. I sang a line and the children repeated each line with loud, happy voices. Hmmmm… these children did like to sing, after all! Maybe we just needed to get to know each other a bit more, first.

After the first song was finished, many of the students asked me to sing another one!!! Of course, we did. I introduced them to a song that I had written especially for the journey home from school. Even though this was a new song for them, they all joined in as if they had known this song their whole lives. I couldn’t stop smiling!!!

The next day, we were just leaving the schoolyard when I heard one of the students shout out, “Hey Mr. Jim! We want to sing another song!!!” And so, we did!!! Singing silly songs has become quite an event on The Peacebus and this has made me very happy! I’ll start the ride home with two songs and then the students start to make up their own songs, as we continue through the subdivisions.

One of their songs told the story about a pickle and all of its adventures through the day until, sadly… it gets eaten up! Another song that one of the students made up had to do with the building of the yummiest pizza in the world… and then it got eaten up, too!!! I was beginning to notice that all their songs had to do with food. I figured that by the end of the day they were all a little hungry and they couldn’t wait to get home to eat something!!!

Last Friday was the last day that the students could hand in their ‘peace-art’ for the competition. I was being overwhelmed with creativity. On the way to school, many students handed in their artwork as they boarded the bus. In the afternoon, many more came running to the bus waving their drawings in the air for me to see. During the ride home I could hear many conversations about who the students thought would win the competition. I told them that they would have to wait until next week (this week) to hear my announcement of the winners.

On Monday morning the students boarded the bus, sat down, and then immediately asked me who had won the competition. It was obviously the only thing on their minds!!! I told each student that they would have to wait a few more days because I was still working on the prizes that I would be handing out. As more and more students got onto the bus, asking the same question, I started to sense an uprising of discontent cuz the students wanted to know who the winners were…NOW!

Then a chant started and soon everyone joined in, “Tell us the winners! Tell us the winners! Tell us the winners!” LOL!!!! I felt undersieged! I couldn’t stop laughing!

I was working on a very special prize for all of the students who participated. Yes – the students would soon find out that everyone was going to be a winner!!! I was trying to make a poster using all of the artwork that was handed in. I wanted to make a collage with these artworks to create a peace symbol. I was having no success. I’m still teaching myself how to use the graphic programs that I do use, but I was running into problems all the time. I was hoping to find solutions over the next few days… but I knew the students just couldn’t wait that long.

I had to resort to plan B. Last semester I had created – successfully – a simple peace poster using just one graphic created by a former student. Since I still had this image on file, I decided that I had to go with this. My new students hadn’t seen this poster before, so I knew that they would enjoy it as a prize… and they did!!!!

I made a special trip to the copy centre that I use and soon I had my hands full of peace posters for my students. When I returned to the school, that afternoon, the students were very excited that I had the prizes ready to hand out. Before we left the school, I showed them what the prize was. They thought the poster was great! I told them that they would be given their poster when they were getting off the bus – I knew that the posters would sustain a bit of damage if I handed them out at the beginning of the ride.

Since I was unable to create a poster using their artwork, I felt a little personal disappointment. To compensate for my lack of ability – using the graphic program – I still wanted to do something with their art, so I created a new batch of peace stickers. I really liked Matt’s drawing of the rabbit spray painting the peace graffiti, so I used his image. I’ll be handing out these stickers to all the students on the bus, in just a few hours from now. I’m sure that they will all be extra surprised with this simple gift!!!


1 comment:

Colette said...

Hi Jim,

I am Camilo's mother, and I would like to thank you for creating such a nice relationship in your schoolbus. Camilo comes back home very happy, mostly every day, and he really liked to draw these nice paintings for the Peacebus Art Competition.
Thanks again for this!!