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Expressive Arts - Journey into Peace • We Get Recommendation Letters!

Toronto District School Board
May 17, 2006

Gary Crawford, Vice-Chair School Trustee - Ward 18
5050 Yonge St., 5th Floor, Toronto, Ontario M2N 5N8 .

To Whom It May Concern:

I was invited to visit Elkhorn Public School to observe the culminating lesson of Journey Into Peace: A Bullying Prevention Program Through Visual Art. This program was being given to the school's three Grade 5 classes.

In the lesson's opening discussion the students reflected on a progression of the key concepts which had been developed through the program. The students' vocabulary and thoughtful responses showed that they had a meaningful understanding of the program's content. In an earlier lesson, the students had created expressive line drawings showing their personal "difficult" place and their "better place". Then they had created mind maps of appropriate strategies for managing difficulty, from which each student had selected their own personal "best" strategies. The culminating activity's challenge asked each student to use paper sculpture techniques, learned in an earlier lesson, to create "bridges" between their difficult place and their better place. This experience allowed students to think about and find a way to signify, using paper sculpture, the nature of their own best strategies. This was a most engaging and effective activity; the students' art expressions came about as a result of processing their ideas in a very personal way.

In looking at other examples of student work which was created in the program, students had used paper sculpture to define and show the difference between conflict and bullying, and they also created a "portrait" of a quality in a leader, who had impressed them by their ability to create change in the situations of conflict and bullying which had surrounded them. In another activity, students experienced an "equal balance of power": an integral component of peaceful community.

I found this to be both a creative and innovative approach to teaching bullying prevention. The students enjoyed the experience and were eager to talk about their ideas and the artwork which they had created.

I would recommend this program highly to other schools and school boards.

Yours truly,
Gary Crawford, Vice-Chair, TDSB
Trustee - Ward 18

Toronto District School Board
Mari Rutka, Trustee Ward 12 - Willowdale

May 24, 2006

To Whom It May Concern:

I would like to commend to you both Carol Knowlton-Dority and her very effective bullying prevention program "Journey into Peace." The program skillfully uses the visual arts as a means of engaging young people in a thoughtful consideration of feelings and relationships. I have seen Ms. Knowlton-Dority work with students in a way which, over the course of several weeks, helps raise their awareness of each other's feelings and fosters the empathy so necessary to make not only our schools but our society kind and caring. I most definitely would urge you to support Ms. Knowlton-Dority in bringing this program to as many students as possible.

Yours sincerely,
Mari Rutka
TDSS Trustee, Ward 12, Willowdale

Toronto District School Board
Donwood Park Jr. P.S.

Darlene Hirons, Principal
Marsha Yamamoto, Vice-Principal

April, 2006

To Whom It May Concern:

We had the opportunity of having Carol Knowlton-Dority at Donwood Park Junior Public School for her Journey Through Peace program. Our three grade five classes were assigned to her over a period of two weeks, with Carol teaching each class six periods.

The grade five teachers were very impressed with her program and all of the students thoroughly enjoyed the process of learning how to deal with bullying issues through visual arts. She incorporated a variety of engaging, co-operative, individual, hands-on activities into her teaching and provided the teachers with assessment and evaluation templates and expectations from the curriculum.

I had the opportunity of visiting several classes and I saw our students engaged, enthusiastic and fully involved with the program. Carol was extremely encouraging and positive with all of the children and this made the students feel very comfortable about offering their ideas and volunteering answers.

When I met with Carol before the program began, she explained the correlation between bullying issues and her art program and she was very flexible and adjusted to our teachers' timetables with ease. She was very organized and worked very well with all the teachers, the administration and the students.

Some quotes from our students included:

"When Carol was here, the best thing about it was she took her time with things and it was never a rush."
"I liked learning about self-reliance and I also learned to stand up for myself."
"Something that I learned was that gossiping is bullying someone. That is something that I will work on for next year."
"You were a very unique person. You taught me strategies to help me with bullying. Next year I will be better with bullies, thanks to you."
"I really liked the whole experience, but I really liked it when we had the drama plays."

All in all, both staff and students really enjoyed having Ms. Knowlton-Dority at Donwood Park and I would highly recommend her program to other schools.

D. Hirons

Toronto District School Board
Peggy Payne Principal
Glenview Senior Public School

Maria Schiavone

May 11, 2006

To Whom It May Concern: Re: Carol Knowlton Dority

I worked with Carol for eight weeks in January/February 2006 as she presented Journey Into Peace with students of each grade 7 class. I was impressed with the concept of using visual art as a vehicle for anti-bullying discussions and equally impressed with the execution of the program.

Carol was very well organized and extremely hard working. She co-operated with four different language arts teachers and ten classes. She created an atmosphere conducive to learning throughout the six sessions, honoured discussions and helped students produce very individual work.

Students developed an understanding of personal resources and strategies for confronting difficult situations. They also learned appropriate art vocabulary and techniques of line drawing and balance of composition.

Student evaluation of the program was very positive and they were amazed that art could be used to talk about emotion. Staff enjoyed working with Carol over the six sessions. Many commented on the depth of discussion and the new understanding that students developed.

I can recommend Carol for staff positions knowing that her dedication to students and willingness to learn would be a benefit to any school.

Sincerely yours,
Peggy Payne Principal

Lisa Sanders
Toronto District School Board
Program Co-ordinator, Visual Arts
1 Civic Centre Court Toronto, Ontario M9C 283

From: Broderick, Pat
Subject: excellent bullying program for Gr. 5-8

We have recently had a wonderful program in our school. The program can be modified to meet your school needs and expenses. Our School found the 6 weeks, once a week, very beneficial. It is predominately for Grade 5 and older. The program is called: Journey Into Peace: A BUllying Prevention Program Through Visual Arts .

I would highly recommend this program as it allows students to process key concepts through engagement in visual art activities. It gives students a first-hand, affective and communal experience of the concepts concerning bullying and of the altitudes, resources and tools required to build peaceful schools.

Carol Knowlton-Dority, an artist and qualified teacher, is encouraging and full of energy.
Pat Broderick
Principal Elkhorn PS

Toronto District School Board
The Elms Junior Middle School
45 Golfdown Dr., Etobicoke, Ontario M9W 2H8

Mrs. Volunge, Principal
Mr. Pat Bonavota, Vice-Principal
May 26, 2006

To whom it may concern:

Wow! The Journey Into Peace program was real and inspirational for our students in the CISS project! The Community Initiative for Student Success (CISS) pilot project is a community-based program that addresses the recurring problems of suspensions of elementary students located in the North West 1 Family of Schools of the Toronto District School Board.

The experience of visualizing and problem solving through visual art helped our students discover strategies which "bridge" the gap between their personal "difficult" place and their "peaceful" place. Even several weeks after the hands-on experience, the students continued to refer and relate to the bridge image; it was central to the students' development as we continued in our curriculum, which focuses on the value self-awareness and self-advocacy.

The students enjoyed the Journey Into Peace program and were motivated to look inside themselves and have courage to engage in their own journeys.

Trina Wasilewski
Toronto District School Board

To Whom It May Concern,

It is my pleasure and privilege to write this letter for Carol Knowlton-Dority. I met Carol last year at Bayview Middle School. She was working with the grade 8 classes in delivering her "Journey Into Peace" program. I was impressed at her ability to engage the students in the art activities and more importantly, her ability to empower students to share their personal insights and feelings. She creates a warm, inviting and safe atmosphere where students can take risks through the expression of art.

As an educator, Carol truly understands how children learn. She integrates the messages of peace and community using art as the medium. Students are involved in hands-on art experiences and also have opportunities to share their thoughts and ideas through this creative experience and discussion. When students have an opportunity to engage both intellectually (discussion) and kinesthetically (art), their learning is more significant, meaningful and sustainable.

Empathy is the key to prevention. Empathy is a difficult social skill to teach in isolation. Creating expressive art is a wonderful way to encourage children to express their feelings - a vehicle to helping students develop empathy. As a guidance resource teacher, I have been actively involved in anti-bullying education for the past two years. We are always trying to find ways to help teachers both teach and demonstrate the social skills, knowledge and values needed to create a safe, caring and peaceful community. Carol's students demonstrated their understanding of peace and community through her guided lessons and their expressive art.

As an educator, I believe that prevention is the key to any safe schools/anti-violence curriculum. Because Carol's lessons focus on peace and community, these are the messages that we want to share with our children so that they can take an active role in preventing bullying and violence in their schools.

Mercedes Carli
Guidance Resource Teacher
Toronto District School Board

May 2006Go To Top of Page

To whom it may concern:

Regarding: Journey Into Peace: A Bullying Prevention Program Through Visual Arts

I enjoyed visiting the Journey Into Peace program and seeing the students in action. The students were very involved and it was evident in their work and by their enthusiasm that they were making connections between the concepts and the language of visual arts. They were able, therefore, to produce meaningful expressions of their ideas.

In viewing the program, I could also see that many opportunities are available to extend the Journey Into Peace experience both within the student participants and the school community as a whole. Because the program is arts based, it allows many occasions for students to share their work throughout the school; for example, displays of art work in the hallways, classrooms and libraries, as well as sharing art work, personally, with reading buddies, other students in the school, and the school newsletter. This extension of the program maximizes the value of the program; keeping the ideas front and centre within the student participants and helping to develop the vocabulary and concepts relating to bullying prevention within the whole student body. These are all important initiatives in the development of an effective school-wide bullying prevention program.

I would highly recommend the program: Carol is a dynamic, creative educator with a valuable program, and students, teachers and the wider school community can really benefit from the Journey Into Peace program.

Martin Himelson
Guidance Resource Teacher Toronto District School Board

May 2006

To whom it may concern,

I was very pleased to visit the Journey Into Peace program at my daughter's school. Also, as Chair of the Student Advisory Council I was interested to see the program in progress. I was struck by the engagement of the students in the art activities and I was amazed to see Grade 8 students spellbound during a reading of imaginative literature--you could have heard a pin drop!

I think it's great for students to express themselves and create art work showing their thinking and processing of bullying prevention concepts and strategies for managing difficulty. My daughter commented to me, when she came home, that even the boys participated!

I would highly recommend the Journey Into Peace program as it creates excitement and engagement and offers students a meaningful way to think about bullying prevention and how they can contribute to creating a peaceful community.

Maureen Gold
Chair of Student Advisory Council, Bayview Middle School
Parent of Grade 8 Participant

Toronto District School BoardGo To Top of Page
10 Elkhorn Drive, North York, Ontario M2K 1J3

May 2006

It was truly a dynamic experience working with artist/educator Carol Knowlton-Dorrity and her Journey Into Peace program. One of the strong points of the program is its ability to create reflective moments which further supports the thinking process encouraged in students in the class as a whole. When we returned to the classroom, we found occasions to draw from our common experiences in the Joumey Into Peace program and relate the ideas offered in the program to every-day classroom experiences. This was especially important as we have students with special needs, which the program naturally accommodated by validating individual experiences and perceptions and thereby enriching the whole class experience.

My class really enjoyed the art challenge from Lesson 2: Accepting and Appreciating Difference, which focused on the Group of 7 paintings. I found it to be an excellent complement to our classroom study of these painters. The students worked co-operatively to create a large image. Students worked in cooperative teams to create individual sections, which fit together like a puzzle and demonstrated clearly that every part, no matter how insignificant it may appear, plays a part in creating a meaningful whole.

Lesson 4 really helped students to realize the difference between conflict and bullying. The art challenge required that the elements of conflict and bullying each be represented, as a drama, using colour and shape. The subject of conflict and bullying was discussed in the context of great leaders who changed the world (Martin Luther King, Mother Teresa); leaders who were ordinary people who made positive choices about how to respond to difficult situations. This context was assuring as well as inspiring to students.
The students enjoyed the opportunity to strategize and problem solve as they created paper sculpture bridges to show their best choices to help them manage their own j oumeys from a" difficult place" to a "better place".

Both students and staff enjoyed the program very much. The students work was displayed in their classroom and throughout the school. I would highly recommend Journey Into Peace. An excellent program!

Kathryn Tanguay (J Grade 5 Teacher

Toronto District School Board
May 25, 2006

To whom it may concern:

The Staff and Grade 6 students of Forest Manor Public School really enjoyed their experience of Journey Into Peace: A Bullying Prevention Program Through Visual Arts.

The particular concept for each lesson was well developed, the instructions were clear and there was much opportunity for vocabulary development for the students. The students responded enthusiastically to the art challenges; the activities were open¬ended, allowed for individual expression and gave students a chance to explore ideas through problem-solving.

The challenge of building the "strategy bridges" helped students to personalize and consider the best choices for managing their own difficult situations.

The students enjoyed looking at the paintings; very interesting and thoughtful discussion evolved from this opportunity.

To share all the ideas and artwork the students produced through the program we arranged the art pieces in the Gym. Throughout the day, each class in the school was invited to tour the work.

In the evening, the students brought their families in to see their work, meet Carol, and visit with their Teachers and the Principal. On display were: Expressive Faces (Lesson 1) Group Co¬operati ve Images of the Group of 7 (Lesson 2 ) Expressive Line Drawings (Lesson 3), 2D shape designs which distinguished conflict from bullying with the accompanying "portrait" of an
impressive leadership quality (Lesson 4), and the culminating piece, the Strategy Bridges from the student's "difficult place"
to their "better place". There are almost 100 Grade 6 students; it was a colourful, vibrant and meaningful display.

It was a very productive and energizing experience for the Grade 6' s. I asked Carol if she had a Primary Bullying Prevention Program Through Visual Arts; she said that as soon as she had created one she would let us know.

Grace Lauretti-Martin
Grade 6 Teacher
Forest Manor Public School

Our mission is to enable all students to reach high levels of achievement and to acquire the knowledge. skills and values they need to become responsible members of a democratic society.

Appendix B: Recommendations: 6. Students
Students of Donwood Park PS, Grade 5 said:

I had a great time when Carol was here. When Carol was here the best thing about it was she took her time with things it was never a rush. What I have learned is you can have as much power as you want Now that I have power next year bullies can't touch me. – Michael

Carol came to our class for 6 days. I wasn't here on one of the days, but still I enjoyed having Carol here. One of the things that I liked was the picture[s painted by] a famous Canadian artist group [Group of 7]. Also I liked learning about self-reliance and I also liked to learn to stand up for myself. I learned that people should learn to solve their own problems by themselves. It's also good for when you're in grade 6 so you don't get bullied. – Aqib

Something that I thought I really liked from Carol was how we put all the artwork together and made one big piece of artwork. Something that I learned was that gossiping is bullying someone. That would be something that I will work on for next year. – Sara

Dear Carol, Your lessons were greatiliove the way, how you teach us bullying through visual arts. You always tell us to relax and draw down our feelings. One thing I learned is gossiping is bullying, I never knew thatl Next year if anyone would gossip for someone I would tell them it's not right.– Jenny

Dear Carol, You were a very unique person. You taught me strategies to help me with bullying. For example the time we listed strategies for bullying on the paper. I liked when we were acting*. Next year I will be better with the bullies thanks to you. We really enjoyed your visit. I hope that YOU can come back to Donwood and teach US morel – Shamama

Dear Carol, I learned many things from you that are really helping me in life. For example when we wrote strategies, I wrote stand up for yourself and I did with a bully. I loved the whole experience. But I really liked it when we had the drama plays.. For next year the whole performance will help me. Like if someone bullies me or someone else. I will be confident and courageous. Thank you for teaching our school. We really enjoyed it. – Kishoth

* The students are referring to improvisational drama which is part of Lesson 3 & 4.

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