World Peace and Other 4th-Grade Achievements

World Peace and Other 4th-Grade Achievements Hot

Julie Clayton   March 28, 2013  
 
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World Peace and Other 4th-Grade Achievements
Format
Number Of Pages, Discs, Etc.
272
Date Published
April 02, 2013
ISBN-10
0547905599
ISBN-13
9780547905594
ASIN
0547905599

In John Hunter’s classroom, students fearlessly tackle global problems and discover surprising solutions by playing his groundbreaking World Peace Game. These kids—from high school all the way down to fourth grade, in schools both well funded and underresourced—take on the roles of politicians, tribal leaders, diplomats, bankers, and military commanders. Through battles and negotiations, standoffs and summits, they strive to resolve dozens of complex, seemingly intractable real-world challenges, from nuclear proliferation to tribal warfare, financial collapse to climate change.

In World Peace and Other 4th-Grade Achievements, Hunter shares the wisdom he’s gleaned from over thirty years teaching the World Peace Game. Here he reveals the principles of successful collaboration that people of any age can apply anywhere. His students show us how to break through confusion, bounce back from failure, put our knowledge to use, and fulfill our potential. Hunter offers not only a forward-thinking report from the front lines of American education, but also a generous blueprint for a world that bends toward cooperation rather than conflict. In this deeply hopeful book, a visionary educator shows us what the future can be.

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(Updated: July 10, 2013)
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it's difficult to write about this book without getting a bit emotional. It is a joy to discover an individual with such deep compassion for the world and most especially for its children that he has dedicated his life to teaching. John Hunter has been nurturing young minds for over 35 years - leading them down the path of discovery not only of what the world is made of, but more importantly what they are made of. Through the medium of the World Peace Game that he developed, he invites children to discover the real complexity and intertwining relationships among the problems besetting humanity. By having them play through a multitude of different scenarios and problems he has put them on their mettle, not only to solve the world's crises but to make sure that the solution provides a benefit for all participants.

John's story as a young peace activist in the 60s turned elementary school teacher is a very human one. What lifts it to another plane is the humility with which he undertakes his responsibility of molding character and teaching critical thinking. Never coming from the position of power or arrogance, he creates the space within which the children are able to discover the win-win solutions that will have a lasting influence on the person they become.

It is a delight to read the stories of the individual children as they experience different facets of the game and of themselves. There is shy, stuttering Pablo, who suddenly rises to new heights as he "gets" it all, understands it all. There is the bully whose reign of arrogance is interrupted by a determined succession of tiny and timid defenders of truth and justice.

While this is a story of pedagogy at its highest, most enlightened form, it is also a series of life lessons and re-affirmations of what is truly important in life that will hit home for every reader. It is only mildly astonishing that John Hunter and his children were invited several times to the Pentagon to meet with generals who questioned them in detail about how they would deal with various issues confronting the military.

I'm not surprised that the book was turned into a movie nor that the movie and the book have catapulted John Hunter into the national limelight. I am so pleased that others have recognized the importance of what he is doing to exemplify the best in education, and have been sponsoring his evangelical talks and master classes across the country. He has so much wisdom, and shares it with such grace.

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"World Peace and Other 4th Grade Achievements " is a fascinating book. The author - a long time teacher - invented an ingenious game his fourth grade classes play. It is not a computer game, but a game that involves plexiglass layers representing fictitious nations and the entire world. Into the game Mr. Hunter throws all the troubles of the world. He appoints various students into such jobs as Prime Minister or Minister of Defense in these countries. Some of the countries are very rich and others very poor.

The students win the game if the nations are better off than they were at the beginning and world peace has been achieved. During the game he throws unexpected problems at them, such as natural disasters, global warming, and an evil saboteur.

One really has to admire the ingenuity of the game. How Mr. Hunter thought of it shows him as a genius.

How the children win is different for each class because group dynamics differ according to personalities, but they end up winning. (It really wouldn't be good for children to invent an unwinnable game.)

The author does not point out, but it should be obvious, that the children are at the same time spontaneously learning arithmetic, international relations, problem solving, writing, science, government, and the many other ancillary subjects fourth graders must learn. The game is not played daily, and the length of time it takes varies, but the average is about eight game days. The huge growth is in the creative thinking of the children.

At the end of the book in an appendix, the author tells us his ideas for assessments of children instead of standardized tests. These ideas, too, are ingenious. Even if the game is impractical for your school, implementation of these assessment tools could improve learning in the classroom.

I cannot recommend this book too strongly. It is innovative and hopeful."

Amazon Reviewer S.R. Schnur

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