I will admit it, I love quotes. I memorize them, save them in my phone, write them in my journals, and keep a Google Doc of them in my Drive. The are pithy, interesting, and fun. A few of my favorites:
“If you wish to strive for peace of soul and happiness, believe; if you wish to be a disciple of truth, inquire.” – Fredrick Nietzsche
“Ships are safe in a harbour, but that’s not what ships are for.” -John A. Shedd
“By means of art we are sometimes sent – dimly, briefly – revelations unattainable by reason.” – Alexander Solzhenitsyn
An easy speaking or writing activity is to put one of your favorite quotes on the board and let the students write or talk about what it means and whether they agree. They may find some kernel of wisdom that was unmeant or hidden in modern and grown-up interpretations. As Master Yoda said, “Truly wonderful, the mind of a child is.”
But sometimes we need more than just beautiful words, particularly in today’s media-saturated world. That’s why you should check out Gavin Aung Than‘s beautiful site, ZEN PENCILS. The idea is incredibly simple; he has illustrated, in a beautifully realized cartoon style, the wisdom of thinkers, poets, writers, leaders, scientists, and all around wise people. The result is a mini-cartoon that speaks in words that transcend the time in which they were spoken to inform and guide people of all ages. In #105, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry has advice that speaks to me as a teacher trying to motivate my students. In #63, Carl Sagan talks about the magic of books. In #98, Alan Watts asks us to ask ourselves a tough question. In #189, Jane Goodall extols the power of ingenuity and of the individual. There is something for everyone. The author has some of his own insightful quotes and inspiring poems illustrated as well.
So use ZEN PENCILS to inspire your students, to begin an activity of famous or favorite quotes, or just when you need a little nugget of wisdom.
What are your favorite quotes?