It’s Star Wars Day. May the fourth be with you! This contemporary acknowledgement of the classic movie series provides an introduction to the power of those sayings that we often quote, and frequently use to guide – or justify – our behaviour. It’s time to share some of these words of wisdom with our students.
Term 2 2020
There have always been challenges and fears in our lives.
Like us, our students have had plenty to think about in the last however-many-weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Students have been encouraged to stay safely at home, with all the issues around working in that different environment. Teachers have engaged with developing and achieving mastery over a variety of skills and a massive workload to ensure that the teaching and learning could continue, in this less than perfect context.
We have enough materials, resources and workload.
What we can explore are some of the sayings, and perhaps truths, that have reassured others, and that may suit this context. Sometimes what we need is a phrase just to hang on to, because it resonates right at that minute.
Proverbs, aphorisms, maxims, adages and pithy sayings
These are all names of variations of statements that are considered to be a principle, or an understanding – a short saying in general use, held to embody a general truth. (Oxford English Reference Dictionary p.1163).
They provide food for thought. Some are statements that have been quoted and become common sayings, having pertinence in a variety of situations. It can be interesting to investigate origins of these.
Some cautionary proverbs that may be applicable to our current situation:
- A stitch in time saves nine.
- Those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it.
- Where there’s smoke there’s fire.
- No point in making a mountain out of a molehill.
- Make hay while the sun shines.
- Four eyes are better than two.
- If you don’t say it you will not have to unsay it.
- Out of the frying pan into the fire.
- You can’t tell a book by its cover.
Introduce those that are applicable as ‘The proverb of the day’, or put them onto strips of card and display them around the room, for comment and discussion about possible meanings and applicability.
It is important to be careful of those sayings that tip into the platitude. That is, a statement that is moralistic, but has been used so often that it becomes stale and dull. An example is It doesn’t matter what you’re doing, as long as you’re having fun.
We’re all in this together, as a political slogan, rather than being inspirational, may be teetering on the edge of this category.
Speeches and Quotes
Draw on these for inspiration and an acknowledgement that there have always been challenges to our lives and well-being, and that the challenges do pass. Try speakola.com for a huge range, ‘both great and small’, including from Elizabeth II: ‘We will succeed, and that success will belong to every one of us’, COVID-19 Address to the Nation- 2020
Poetry and Music
One of the most exhilarating activities that many people in isolation all over the world are involved in is the making of music – in our homes, in the streets, from balconies and verandahs. The words we sing and say can support us as we share this time. Read poems to your students, listen to music, read the lyrics of songs, and investigate the music that is being produced now, in this difficult time. What are the anthems that will epitomize these times?
Check this site, for songs from countries from Mexico (tossing back Corona beers) to the Chinese ‘Believe Love Will Triumph’. Probably more for you than the students – choose those you might like to share with your Year 6 students.
Choose songs and lines of poetry that take the 20 seconds required to wash hands thoroughly, and practise these. Have a variety available and make them clever – write your own! Sing them together.
Great stories teach us lessons, and there are many ‘life lessons’ that can be drawn from this one – like the value of friendship and trust, and the dangers of being afraid.
Here are a couple that might do the trick of raising spirits:
- Don’t lie to yourself. We usually already know what the right thing to do is.
“Already know you, that which you need.” – Yoda
Listen to your heart, The Force, and your conscience.
- Often success stems from overcoming failures.
“Strike me down and I will become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.” – Obi- Wan Kenobi in A New Hope
Success cannot flourish without hard work.
- Don’t let fear guide your life.
“Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” – Yoda in The Phantom Menace
Fear cripples us from doing what needs to be done. It prevents us from becoming the people we’re meant to be. It isolates us from others and makes us scared of those we do not understand.
For more intensive analysis of some of the scenes with older students, this site from blogger Dan Zehr provides examples of situations students may face and questions to prompt discussion. Examples include the argument Ahsoka has with Obi-Wan, and Rey’s journey and choices.
For explanation of ‘The Force’, see the official Star Wars web site (accessed 01/05/2020)
NOTE: The finale of the long-running TV series The Clone Wars will be available on May 4, 2020. Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, will be available on Disney+ the same day.
Life lessons from Star Wars at https://www.lifehack.org/346045/9-life-lessons-can-learn-from-star-wars accessed 01/05/2020
List of proverbs http://tww.id.au/proverbs/proverbs.html accessed 02/05/2020
Official Star Wars site https://www.starwars.com/star-wars-day accessed 01/05/2020
Pearsall, J & Trumble, B (1996) The Oxford English Reference Dictionary 2nd Ed. UK: Oxford University Press