Who Does It Take to Make the World as It Should Be?

For the last couple of sessions children in Anafim v’Alonim (“Branches” and “Oak trees” for 4th and 5th grades) have been exploring what their impact, their communities’ impact, and societies’ impact is in creating the world as it should be. Wow, the ideas were so powerful.

A long list was created after children participated in a chalk talk. A chalk talk starts with a question in the middle of a large sheet of paper. Our question was, “What do we need to do to make better in the world?” Children silently wrote down their ideas to the question. Five minutes in, I posed another question, “How might you work to make those things better?” Children drew lines connecting their new ideas to the initial words they came up with. Here are just a handful of the ideas from the chalk talk:

  • Get a compost bin
  • Don’t use plastic 
  • Throw less plastic in the ocean
  • Give food to the homeless and donate
  • Get a new president 
  • End climate change/global warming

Following the chalk talk children received a picture representing something that needs to change in the world. Children explored and answered these 3 questions:

  • What kind of Partnership would it take to change things?
  • Who needs to be involved in making things better?
  • What do they need to do?

Oh my, it’s chilling the powerful ideas they discussed. One of the examples showed Ruby Bridges entering the school (which was the first to be desegrated), with white protesters holding racist signs with angry faces. The conversation first started with “Well, we need to get rid of our president.” Okay, got it. I asked what needs to happen in order to do that? “Well, I guess people need to vote or write to people.” We kept breaking it down, “Well, okay, how do people get to the polling stations?” The conversation began to wind down. We had come up with ideas of what an individual’s role is in making the world as it should be, a communal role, and a societal role.

What a generative conversation. Stay tuned for next week when we bring in Rabbinic text to connect all of this exploration with partnership and making the world as it should be to Eliyahu HaNavi and the ways in which he works to make the world a better place.

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