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World Peace and Other 4th-Grade Achievements

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  304 ratings  ·  56 reviews
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 an ...more
Hardcover, 272 pages
Published April 2nd 2013 by Eamon Dolan/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (first published January 1st 2013)
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May 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
Very inspiring. The school librarian gave me this book to read because I am doing a Cold War simulation with my honors classes. It sparked ideas on how to change and expand the game. I would love to do the World Peace Game.
I was disappointed that this book did not go into detail of how the game is actually played. As a teacher, I would have liked pictures of the board, samples of the crisis list, etc. I realized quickly this book was not a resource for teachers to actually incorporate the game i
Feb 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
I heard John Hunter interviewed on the Diane Rehm show, and the interview made me want to read the book. Hunter's world peace game is brilliant, and many of the stories he tells about his students playing the game are touching. I respect Hunter's goals for the game and the points he makes in the book: namely, we ought to be more comfortable with and accepting of failure, sometimes it's necessary to take a step back in order to find a solution, and it is OK to flounder and feel overwhelmed. I can ...more
Mr. Hunter teaches 4th graders through an interactive game, how to save the world. He divides his class into four countries, and gives them 50 challenges. They must solve the problems, from ecological disasters, refugees, political tensions, etc in order to win. This is his story about teaching and playing the game for the past 30 years.

Why I started this book: Coolest title ever.

Why I finished it: I wish that I had Mr. Hunter as a teacher. It was fascinating to hear his philosphy and to be remi
Jul 05, 2014 rated it it was ok
Shelves: non-fiction
Basically this teacher runs a World Peace game for his elementary school classes. It's supposedly a pretty awesome game. There's war. And negotiations. And diplomacy. And conflicts. And sabotours. Like real life. But with kids running the show. The book consisisted of some lessons that individual kids took away from it. Kids that were shy or troublemakers or the whatnot and then got an early dose of adulthoodiness through this game. It was neat, and cute. Nothing spectacular. Although I want to ...more
Mar 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
If history were taught this way when I was in grade school it would have been so much more acceptable. Hunter takes real time global issues and poses scenarios to students to solve. Students in turn debate, question and collaborate to create solutions to world issues. Let’s teach our student to be brave and have a voice!
Oct 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: professional
Very interesting concept...I have to admire what he has done with students and how he pushes's a great way to teach real world concepts and problems and challenge people to think! ...more
Debi Krulak
Jul 21, 2016 rated it liked it
TFF - Might be something worth exploring further for BL and RDL!
Kevin Hodgson
Jul 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
A fantastic inside look at how John Hunter began and used World Peace Game to spark learning ...
May 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I had heard of John Hunter and The World Peace Game because of his Ted Talk. I loved the Ted Talk and it stuck with me for a few years. Last summer, I decided to take his book with me to Greece and I could not put it down. I underlined, took notes, and got so energized about my own teaching while reading his book. The book is really about educational philosophy. I found myself agreeing so much with what he wrote, with how he views education. The many stories about The World Peace Game are discov ...more
Jan 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
What I really liked about this book was how John Hunter is very self-reflective on his teaching and questions the choices HE makes and not just what his students do. He also shows that not all administrations support their teachers and if you give students structure and guidance they always surprise you (in a good way). This book is more about lessons learned than how to implement.
Read this for grad school. Was thankful I had an “easier” (made me think but didn’t require mental gymnastics) read for the end of the semester. I want to pull excepts for my future teacher ed tech class next semester. Highly recommend this for the pedagogy ideas. I’d love to participate in a game, but I’m at least going to try to watch the movie over winter break.
CS Peterson
Jul 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
GREAT book on teaching. Hopeful.
Teo Ekstrom
Nov 19, 2018 rated it liked it
Really cool premise, but the book tended to be repetitive. He does sound like a great teacher!
Jason Clarke
Nov 22, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This book makes me happy. Happy that there are people willing to challenge children and happy that children respond to and fulfill the challenge. I wish I was able to play!
Candace Rollins
Nov 16, 2020 rated it liked it
I loved the premise and longevity of this social experiment. The stories of individual children and games was informative and at times inspirational. However, I did not feel drawn into the story, so finished it wanting.
Jul 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
The World Peace Game is a pretty elaborate board game that John Hunter's entire class plays. There are four levels to the board, including below ground (oil), land and seas, the sky, and space. There are several countries, ethnic minorities, a weather deity, and a saboteur whose purpose is to secretly and covertly disrupt peace. Victory is achieved only if the students can achieve peace, solve all conflicts, and increase prosperity for all.

I was skeptical at first of John Hunter's World Peace an
Oct 21, 2013 rated it liked it
Author John Hunter is a teacher and educational consultant who, in 1978, created a class activity called The World Peace Game. The students are assigned varied roles such as prime minister, arms dealers, United Nations members, and weather god/goddess; and then given 50 interrelated crises, ranging from ethnic and minority tensions to nuclear proliferation, oil spills, and climate change, to solve. Victory is defined as satisfactorily solving all of the crises as well as increasing every country ...more
Jan 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Awesome. Kids are just awesome!
This was AWESOME!!! So much AMAZINGNESS!!!

It wasn't exactly what I was expecting, but it was still a wonderful and encouraging read. I think I was expecting a lot of fully fleshed out stories about how they get through the different sessions of the game and the different people and how they deal with it. Instead, it is a much more thematic approach to the idea, which also works. Hunter mentions studying various philosophies around the world and a lot of the Buddhist ideas really come through in
Ana Marlatt
Mar 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
The World Peace Game is the story of a brilliant game created for gifted elementary and middle schoolers some 35 years ago. The game was developed by John Hunter, the author, and it has evolved over the years. Now the game is played as a summer camp and educators can join in as observers while students play, and learn strategies from Hunter afterwards. The game is sheer genius. It is very involved, starting with the game "board" made of a 4-layer plexiglass tower and many plastic pieces that stu ...more
Feb 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
This book is one of the more inspiring books on teaching I've read - it opens your mind to a new style of teaching through allowing the students to take control of their learning through gameplay (and not in a slight unrelated manner, but through real-world, meaningful, incredible achievements.) I loved the emphasis on teamwork, and the care that Hunter put into making sure that peace was an ecosystem, not an objective to be won by one team, one player, one solution. Only if everybody won, could ...more
Jan 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
John Hunter is truly a dedicated and thoughtful educator. What shines through each page and chapter is his confidence and love for his students. He looks for the individual strengths and unique characteristics that each of his students possess and bring to the game. We would all benefit from the active teaching of compassion, listening, true critical thinking and problem solving. In a time when there are powerful forces trying to quantify learning and there is an unnatural emphasis on student pe ...more
Aug 22, 2016 rated it liked it
"The way came from a proud understanding that often merged in failure's wake:I am not the center of the story but only a very small part of the whole. And yet, when I apply my effort to the collective action, so much change is possible."

My rating is less a reflection of the story and it's morals and more of the writing of the actual book.

While the Peace Game is confusing at first there's a lot of repeating of rules and phrases throughout the book including some of the lessons presented from the
Frank Hintz
May 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The author is a teacher who's been using one particular item in his classrooms for 30+ now, which has started to earn him some notoriety, including doing a TED talk. That item? a board game of his own design which presents his students with real world problems and then sets them free to discover their own methods to solve those problems. Using board games as a teaching aid is something I can very much get beyond, and the author does a wonderful job illustrating the various ways it can be success ...more
May 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Fourth-grade teacher Hunter teaches world politics and teamwork with a weeks-long game in the classroom.

I'm envious! is my first reaction: my teachers almost never used games in the classroom. As a longtime games player (wargames, role-playing games, etc.), I would have loved to play such a thing.

After that, I was quite impressed with his description of some students, and the things they have discovered. I was also impressed with his relation that despite his own pacifist beliefs, he worked at n
Sharon Royle
Jun 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
What an interesting man the author is. He's working with gifted 4th graders playing the game he devised called "World Peace." It's quite an intricate game, but he describes it completely.

The book is not about the game, but who played the game. How these kids reacted to the roles they were given such as Prime Minister, World Bank President, heads of 2 tribes who have no land, etc. How they tackled seemingly unsolvable world problems. The teacher stood back and let them play without giving advice
Jun 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
I love these types of stories, where the inherent goodness of people shine, because respect, trust, and belief is afforded to them. The game this teacher created seems amazing, and is very refreshing to hear about, especially in contrast to the pervasive obsession with objective data collection that our culture is currently imposing on education. I loved reading the vignettes on individual students.

The only downside of the book was that it was not organized well, it seemed that some passages wer
Chris Aylott
Sep 10, 2015 rated it really liked it
Long-time teacher John Hunter shares the story of his World Peace game, which he has been playing with his students for thirty years. It's a cooperative game that has evolved over the decades into a massive conglomeration of diplomacy, military movements, and environmental crises. It actually sounds like a blast to play, but Hunter's focus is on the children who have been drawn into the game and the lessons they've learned from it. If anyone ever needed an example of how powerful games can be as ...more
Apr 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013
Amazing insight and wisdom on every page. I have always known that no one of us really understands the impact we have on others, the good and the bad. As John's book teaches us, the hope is that out of the confusion and failures of our lives, springs the magic of the "click" and the flow of being compassionate as we all work and live together. It is a book of lessons that lead to hope and hopefully peace, too. ...more
Apr 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, 100-2013
I was reminded of quotes from Ghandi and Tyler Perry while reading this book... :)

I liked the message of compassion and interconnectedness that came out of the students' experiences; we are all on our own lifeline, supported by the people who came before us, supporting the people who will come after us, and crashing into others' lifelines on a regular basis- so if we keep our journeys fair and balanced we won't do too much damage.
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