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Horizon creates banner for Paris

Amy William's third-grade class surrounds their banner for Paris that they will ship to a school affected by terrorist attacks. CONTRIBUTED
Amy William’s third-grade class surrounds their banner for Paris that they will ship to a school affected by terrorist attacks. CONTRIBUTED

MADISON – In ironic timing, Amy Williams’ third-grade class at Horizon Elementary School was studying a unit on France when terrorists attacked Paris on Nov. 13.

Williams’ students have been studying about France as their assigned country for Horizon’s annual International Night celebration in March 2016. “We had been researching with the media specialist Gina Ashley for the past month,” she said.

“Since we have already started our research, my students were very familiar with Paris and in turn knew about the events that took place that weekend.” After the deaths in Paris, students returned to school on Nov. 16 and “expressed deep sadness and worry for the people over there,” Williams said. “We knew as a class we wanted to do something to let them know we were thinking of them.”

Williams pursued an idea from a Horizon staff member about a banner that her daughter’s class made for a New York City fire station after 9/11 attacks.

Williams’ class used a basic, white twin-bed sheet for the banner. They sketched France’s shape in the center and colored blue, white and red sections like the French flag.

“Students used their handprints to fill in red and blue areas,” Williams said. “Across the top it says, ‘Bonjour Mes Amis, Sending Hugs Your Way.’ Each child came up with their own well wishes and wrote them on the banner.”

“Students learned how to show empathy in the face of ‘bad things’ happening. We discussed how the students must be feeling over there and what words we could say to possibly make things better and to let them know others are thinking of them,” Williams said.

Williams’ class will ship the banner to a Paris school that the tragedy affected.

“We also discussed focusing on the positive and sending words of encouragement,” Williams said. “They actually did an awesome job.” On the banner, students wrote thoughts, such as “Have courage,” “Just Pray,” “Believe” and “Think Happy Thoughts.”

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