We Are a Comm-un-it-y.I've Got All My Classmates with Me-Part II

3, 4, 5

Learners will build their own community in the classroom based on knowledge and skills acquired in Lesson One . They will practice conflict resolution through making laws and rules, and adopting procedures in our "community."

Lesson Rating 
PrintOne 60-Minute Class Period

The learner will:

  • resolve conflicts in the classroom by making laws, rules and procedures for our community .
  • describe the benefits of group cooperation .
  • practice and develop skills necessary to resolve differences.

Pencil, paper

Home Connection 

See Handout One


Berry, Joy. Every Kid's Guide to Laws That Relate to Kids in the Community (Living Skills). Children's Press, February, 1988. ISBN 0516014234


  1. Anticipatory Set:Have the learners arrange their desks wherever they would like them to be in the classroom. The teacher will observe the chaos and bring the learners back to attention to discuss what happened. Allow no more than three minutes for this chair, desk or seat movement. Write their responses on a sheet of paper or board.

  2. Discuss how that process worked. Were there any problems or issues that occurred that upset people in the community? (For example, who got to sit where, who got to move the desks, who was making the decisions?) How were individual rights compromised?

  3. Make a list of problems that occurred.

  4. Lead learners to conclude that these problems occurred because they didn't have any rules, organized plan or developed procedures to help them. Communities have rules that help them get along. Since we didn't have any of those, moving around in our "community" didn't work very well. Discuss the role of law in local, state and the national government.

  5. Explain that when communities can't make things work themselves, a leader will step in and make decisions for them. Explain that in a representative democracy there are two types of decision-making. One view is that the representative actively reflects the views of the people he/she represents. The other type of representative votes according to what he/she believes is best. Explain the concept of direct democracy . For now the teacher will make the groups. Let learners know that they will have an opportunity to change these groups after our community is organized.

  6. Teacher Note: This discussion about types of representation is very important to Handout One.

  7. Begin a discussion on how they want their community to be (lights on/off, doors and windows open/closed, when to use the pencil sharpener, music yes/no, what type of music, communication with each other, the teacher, how they will make rules, laws or develop procedures, i.e. government, trash collection, etc.

  8. Explain that this classroom is made up of "neighborhoods." How is this possible?

  9. Add issues to the "list of problems," then develop a plan to resolve them. Have "neighborhoods" vote on possible solutions. They will have to develop a voting system. Perhaps a delegate from their neighborhood will send their vote in to the teacher. Rules/laws will be written on chart paper and learners of the new community will sign the bottom.

  10. Review what happened and how the process went. Propose the questions: 1. What would have happened if we worked as individuals instead of working as a group? 2. How would things have worked then? 3. Would things have worked out as well? 4. Would things have worked out at all? 5. What about the time factor?


With a partner, develop a list (at least three items) that explains the benefits from working together as a group. Write a paragraph that gives at least three reasons why rules/laws are important for our community. Evaluate the school/home connection, Handout One: Take a Stand, Evaluate individual and group cooperation.

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.4 Define and give examples of selfishness and selflessness.
  2. Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
    1. Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
      1. Benchmark E.3 Describe a benefit of group cooperation.
      2. Benchmark E.5 Identify one local citizen who has helped the community through giving and/or service.
    2. Standard PCS 05. Philanthropy and Government
      1. Benchmark E.1 Define community as the degree that people come together for the common good.
      2. Benchmark E.8 Describe classroom behaviors that help the students learn.