Pinwheels for Peace

I stumbled across a website at the end of the last school year that seemed perfect for a beginning of the year project!  Pinwheels for Peace was started in 2005 by two art teachers as a way to show their community and school what the children were thinking and feeling about the world around them.  It is a small symbol of togetherness and the quest for peace within ourselves and others.  The pinwheel is a childhood symbol of joy and peace.  So, I created the 1st annual Pinwheels for Peace at Longbranch Elementary this year.  On September 21st, International Day of Peace, people all over the world display their homemade pinwheels as a visual art display of peace.  Now, since we have only been in school a little over 2 weeks, it was quite a challenge to get 450 pinwheels made and laminated in time!  The craziness of all the details that went into this simple day consumed my life for a week and a half!  But they looked wonderful all placed out on the lawn in a giant peace sign! All 450 of them representing each student and teacher that made them!  I’m lucky to be working in such a supportive school.  My principal was thrilled with the project and even brought the school together at the end of the day to march around the peace sign of pinwheels with music playing and a sound system set up for me to say a few words.  My superintendent, school board representative, and some press came to see our project.  It was wonderful!

Since it is the first year that I’ve done this project with the school, it was not without glitches.  I certainly didn’t consider the length of the pencils as the base.  They ended up being too short for the size of the pinwheels.  They didn’t spin because the tips were stuck in the grass.  Darn!  Oh well, they were beautiful!  So, what do I use next year that is as easy to assemble?  I got some tips from the website and decided that I will probably use long straws and skewers.  That way they will sit higher up and maybe spin!  Live and learn.  Everyone was thrilled with the final outcome.  I just hope they don’t blow away in the wind tonight.  I’ll probably worry all night!  At least the artwork is laminated so it’s protected from the rain.  If you want to join this event for next year, just check out the site.  I plan wish I had more time in the beginning of the school year so we could take more time on designing them, but even rushing the kids, I think they did a great job!

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2 responses to “Pinwheels for Peace

  1. I’m kind of sad, because I didn’t do my pinwheels this year. We’ve participated three years in a row, each year bigger and better. The straw/skewers system was a disaster, but last year the older kids made them tall with bamboo stakes that I bought in packages at the dollar store. We put eraser pencil toppers on the stakes, and then used the pins and beads that we did for the pencil pinwheels. But anyhow – two years ago I had a team of moms who helped with an assembly line for putting together the pinwheels. But last year, I was down to one mom and myself, and it took us FOREVER to assemble 300 pinwheels. So this year, I asked who would help, and nobody answered. So I said I couldn’t do it alone, and nobody seemed to care.

  2. Yikes. I tried to edit my previous comment and I guess it posted instead. So what was I going to say? Oh – one year we made a big peace sign, and one year we spelled out the word PEACE in HUGE letters. It was so cool. So I find it significantly sad that nobody came forward to help this event happen in our school this year. Our first year we had local press come to the school, and each year, the community reaction was wonderful. But this year – not even a word about it. So I’m curious how everyone else gets it all done. And not even just the assembly – the REMOVAL of the pinwheels (especially when it started to rain last year) is especially challenging.
    Thanks for letting me vent!

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