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World Ecitizens

The Peace Room

World Ecitizens - Home Page
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An Interactive web resource: Teaching Notes

(These notes are available as a Word File)

The “virtual” Peace Room grew from an actual room in the garden of a grandmother of children in the 1940s who, seeing the world at war, wanted to instil a desire for peace in her grandchildren. The children met in the peace room and nominated those who they felt had “made a difference” to the world; those who had been a “world contributor” in some way. The children had to justify those they chose, and the other children would debate whether they were worthwhile, and then vote for them. The first person to be accepted into the Peace Room was Elizabeth Fry for her work reforming prisons. The grandparents then made an actual biographical book on the person and placed it on a bookshelf in the Peace Room for the children to read.

This Peace Room has now been made available on the Internet for everyone to join in the debate and nominate people who they feel have “made a difference”. Children (and adults too) can submit their own nominations, read biographies on the bookshelves, and vote for the nominations. Writers of entries which are accepted onto the Peace Room bookshelves are sent a certificate saying that they have become a “World e-Citizen” for their successful nomination.

This project gets children thinking about what it means to live a worthwhile life and helps them to consider what they value. It gives them a chance to see what other children think is worthwhile, and see how children’s views around the world are the same, or different.

Main Themes
The children are shown the Peace Room Presentation, carry out a Peace Room debate, then are shown some nominations on the Peace Room website. These can be discussed, before the children then research and write their own biographies, submit those, and vote for other people’s nominations. Debates can be arranged with schools from around the world via video conferencing.

Target Student Audience
Anyone from 10 years old upwards can use this website. This project can be used with any age group from Key Stage 2 to Key Stage 5 (10 – 18 year olds).

Curriculum Areas
R.E., PSHCE, and English are the main foci, however it could be linked to many different subjects, anywhere that has people who have done something worthwhile, such as History, Science, Arts, Geography, Sport. There is no reason why entries have to be written in English, they could be in any language.

4 - 5 lessons.
One for the Peace Room presentation and debate.
One for reading the books on the bookshelf, researching and writing the biographies.
One or two for debating the biographies written, either with the class, or with students from other schools in other countries
One for submitting nominations and voting for other student’s nominations.

Learning Outcomes
Writing text and importing pictures into a web based site.

Use of persuasive writing to get other students to vote for your biography. Use of paragraphs, and clear concise phrasing. Use of research skills to summarise information.

Considering moral and ethical issues. What makes something “worthwhile”?

Citizenship – what makes a person a “good” citizen?

Key Activities
Delivery of Peace Room Presentation
Research which uses Internet search and library skills, but could also utilise interview or questionnaire.
Debate – either in the class room, or via video conference if possible
Use of Peace Room website software.

Peace Room website ( )
Gavel (available from RLP woodware:
Video conferencing facility (
ICT projector
Webcam and microphone for video conference.
Internet access
Research materials: Internet, books, newspapers

Lesson Planner

Lesson Content Outputs
1. Deliver Peace Room presentation and mini debate Students challenged as to what they consider as “worthwhile”. Students prepared to decide on who they think has been a world contributor.
2. Read biographies on bookshelf
Research person chosen for their biography
The research on their chosen nominee.
3. Read nominations on website
Debate on biographies chosen by students (with video link if possible, or the video link could be a second debate as lesson 4).
Understanding of other people’s values and ideals.
Increased debating skills.
4. If a class debate is carried out first as lesson 3 then the video conference could be lesson 4.  
5. Submit nominations, and vote for others on the website Nominations on website

Teacher Fact File
The history of the Peace Room is information which can be found on the Peace Room website. This gives the teacher useful background to the project.

Timing: 4 – 5 lessons, but it can be carried out in as few as 2.

Differentiation: students decide on their own sources for research. This can be guided to the appropriate level for the students. The submitted nominations are also at any level, according to the student’s ability.

Resource Sheets: None needed. Pro forma is available for creating the biographies.

Questions for students:
Who would you nominate?
What makes you vote for someone?
Is there anyone you would say definitely could NOT enter the Peace Room, whatever they did? Why?

Lesson 1
To deliver the Peace Room presentation
To have a mini debate on people to be nominated for entry into the Peace Room

Download Peace Room Presentation. Read through it and decide how you are going to deliver it. Each slide needs to be discussed. When you get to the section where you have a debate, you need to be prepared to write down all the students suggestions and count how many people who vote for each nomination.
Buy a gavel and bring it to the lesson. Set up a chair and table for the chairperson. If you want to have a debate in a later session with students in another school, you need to arrange early on when this is going ot happen and have a trial run first with just teachers to check that everything works.

Introduction (10%)
Show the Peace Room presentation, one slide at a time, until the slide which says “This meeting is now in session”.

Development (80%)
You will then need to select, or get the students to select a chair person.

Instruct them on what a chairperson does:

  • asks students to nominate people for the Peace Room,
  • asks students to explain why they think the person should or should not be allowed into the Peace Room.
  • asks students to speak one at a time.
  • asks students to vote.
  • counts and records the votes for and against.
  • hits the table with the gavel when a decision has been reached.

Instruct the students on appropriate behaviour in a debate: only one person speaks at a time.

  • anyone wishing to speak puts their hand up and waits for the Chair person to speak.
  • the chair person’s decision is final.

Carry out a debate, allowing one person to nominate a person, then justify why they have nominated them. Others are then allowed to put their views across. The chair person then decides when to vote and asks the students “hand up if you want this person in the Peace Room”, then “hand up if you do not want this person in the Peace Room” counting votes for and against when voting on a person.

Conclusion (10%)
Go back to the Peace Room Presentation and finish the rest of the slides.

Thinking Ahead
Ask students to go away and research who THEY would like to put in the Peace Room.
Hand out instructions on what to include in a biography.

Lesson 2
To understand what key facts are, and what people need to know to be able to make a value judgement about this person. To research the students’ nominees.

Use of a computer room with Internet connection is needed, or a single computer with projector for all to share.
Open the Peace Room website.

Introduction (15%)
Start by showing students the Peace Room website. Go to the bookshelf and click there.
Scroll down the list and choose or let students choose, some biographies to read.
Then ask them why they think students have voted for those people. What makes a persuasive biography? How do you know that what you have read is the truth?
Can you just copy bits off the Internet and say that is why they should be in the Peace Room? Encourage the students to use websites to find information out, but then the most important aspect is their justification of WHY their person should be put in. Explain that their justification should go first, then the life history afterwards. That way it catches people’s eye.

Development (75%)
Allow students to find articles about their “nominee”, read them, and write about them, creating their biography.

Conclusion (10%)
Save the work.

Thinking Ahead
Finish the biographies and hand them in for checking before being used next lesson.

Lesson 3 (or 3 and 4)
Read nominations on website
Have a debate with their own nominations, or as a live video conference with another school doing the same thing.

Arrange the video conference. Check a few days or weeks beforehand that it all works. Have a trial run with the teacher in the other school. Be prepared so that on the day, if the video conferencing does not work, you can have a class debate instead. Check your own students nominations and select a few for use at the Video conference/debate.

Introduction (10%)
Make sure the students know the rules of video conferencing. The teacher in each school asks the designated student to speak. Only one person can speak at a time, and that must be the person requested by the teacher. If you want to speak you put your hand up and wait to be asked. Not everyone will be able to have a turn (unless you have a very small class!) Designate someone to record the nominations and the votes.

Development (80%)
Greet the other school. Introduce the first student with a nomination to read out to the other school. Students form the other school can then ask questions of the student delivering the nomination. A chair person could be nominated who asks for comments from both schools, and then asks for a vote. One person should then count the votes FOR entry from each school, and the total is recorded. Then the number of votes against is counted and the total number from both schools is recorded.
This process then continues, with each new nomination, maybe on a rotation, one from each school in turn.

Conclusion (10%)
The session finishes with a summary of those who have and those who have not been accepted into the Peace Room by debate.

Thinking Ahead
Students leave the session prepared to make final changes to their own biographies, understanding what makes a good entry for the website, so that people will vote for their nominee.

Lesson 4 (or 5)
To submit entries onto the Peace Room website.
To vote for other nominations made by other schools.

Ensure that the teacher has read all the entries of the students before this lesson begins. Checking language for spellings and grammar will help their nomination.
Teacher should ensure that there is computer access to be able to submit the entries.
Teacher should make sure that either: the student has an email address OR that the teacher has an email address that all the students can use, in case any of their nominations reach the Book Shelf, as a certificate will be sent by email to the students who nominated the Biography.
Teacher needs to decide on how the students are going to register on the site. They will need to give themselves a username and password. It is best to either GIVE them each a username and password, or if they have a password they always use, make sure they use that one, so that they will not forget it.

Introduction (15%)
Students log on to the computers.
If not already done, students type up their entry in Word.
Students go to the Peace Room website:
Students then click on the Table.
Teacher helps students to register.

Development (70%)
Students copy and paste their own biography into the box to submit it, and click on submit. They can at any point come back to it and alter it.
Students are then free to read other nominations and vote for them.
N.B. While entries are at the nomination stage, the authors of the entries do not appear on the screen. This is because students should vote for the Biography, NOT the person who wrote it. If an entry gets 10 votes or more, they are then accepted onto the Peace Room bookshelf. At this point, the author’s name does then appear.
Students could be given the aim to choose their favourite entry and decide why.

Conclusion (15%)
Each student tells the rest of the class of their favourite entry they have found and to justify their selection.

Thinking Ahead
Tell the students they can go back on to the website at any time and alter the submission, vote for other nominations, read books on the bookshelf, and write other biographies themselves.

(These notes are available as a Word File)

Peace Room