Last year (school year 2015/2016) the United States witnessed unspeakable acts of domestic terrorism and other acts of deadly violence.
We know that what the nation sees, our children see, too. What pain and suffering we experience, our children are assaulted by these phenomena as well. When we watch news reports of First Responders seeing corpses bloodied and decaying, our children also see those same horridly graphic televised scenes. The violent truths our children see are stranger and more emotionally harmful than any fiction could ever be.
Often, the emotional bruising and scarring suffered by our nation when its cities are attacked by terrorists, as well as violence by police and criminals, repeat themselves time and again across our communities, painfully hammered through the eyes and into the minds of our children. We must remember: Our children are not immune or even indifferent to any of this. In fact, many of our children are “vicarious victims”—victims of emotional scarring from witnessing traumatic acts—whose minds can be filled instantly and infinitely with immeasurable pain from the horror of what they have seen. This pain can later erupt into behaviors that we call "Post-Traumatic Stress Disorders (PTSD)."
"HANDS ARE FOR…” is an Editor’s Choice winner from America’s National Poetry Contest. It has been hailed as the perfect new school-year poem for getting kids started on the right behavioral-philosophy track in a simple, easily-understandable and non-discriminatory, non-prejudicial way. "HANDS ARE FOR…” is for ALL children…from Kindergarten to Seniors in High School!
TEACHING FOCUS: “HANDS ARE FOR…” can be used to:
(1) Inspire students to MEMORIZE the poem itself;
(2) Prompt students into writing their own STOP THE VIOLENCE-type poems for class “poetry read-abouts” (poetry contests);
(3) Encourage students to polish their poetry writing and enter America’s National Poetry Contest (entry guidelines on Google).
(4) Show teachers excellent essay Writing Prompts embedded in ‘HANDS ARE FOR…”
(5) Highlight a teacher’s class as a regular “original poetry factory” that responds to school safety, community safety, personal responsibility, students-as-leaders, and social justice issues.
(6) Elevate the positive media status of a class and an entire school;
(7) Serve as an emotional outlet that is positive and non-threatening for any and all students suffering emotionally from what they see and hear about terrorist acts in America and elsewhere, as well as violence resulting from police encounters.
(8) Form behavioral standards for students, as it contains embedded personal-action elements they can identify, cite, repeat (when asked), and incorporate and practice as “action steps."
(9) Cite other poems, from America's history of poetry, that have inspired the nation into positive actions toward unity, peace, optimism and security.