Resolving Conflict with Respect - Elem

K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

In civil society, different people come together to form community. While differences may cause conflict, for the sake of the common good, we practice empathy and respect for others. We use literature to talk about how people from different perspectives see the same thing. We discuss how to communicate respectfully with someone of a different opinion and to seek common ground or compromise. The service project is to create posters that bring people together. 

Photo Credit: 2013 Human Rights Training Conference by AFGE is licensed under CC by 4.0 

PrintOne class period, plus time to draw posters or for a project

The learners will...

  • explore the challenge of respecting opinions held by others with whom they may disagree.
  • brainstorm and practice steps for successful conflict resolution.
  • create posters for the school or community to teach conflict resolution skills.
  • plan and carry out a service project.
  • books on conflict resolution for elementary children (see bibliography below)
  • chart paper, large drawing paper, crayons/markers
Teacher Preparation 

Use the attached PowerPoint to guide classroom discussion.


After reading a book about conflict resolution, guide a discussion with the following: 

  1. How did the characters resolve their conflict?
  2. What methods or words are similar to what we use in our classroom or homes?
  3. Give a personal example of a disagreement and the steps you took (or could have tried) to bring both sides together.




  1. Anticipatory Set: 

    Put up the following quotation: "Different people have different opinions, and it's okay to respect all of them." Juan Pablo Galavis (a retired professional soccer player)
    Ask participants to think about a time when they saw things differently from someone else. Have an example or two to share to get ideas flowing. Discuss: 
    • What was the difference or conflict?
    • How did you talk about it or resolve the issue?
    • How did you feel afterward?
    Discuss why respecting and listening to different perspectives is important in a diverse world. Share times when a first impression of a situation was wrong. 
  2. Read a picture book about seeing diversity as strength or the tools of conflict resolution. Here are a few to get you started:

    • This Is How We Do It by Matt Lamothe
    • Crayon by Simon Rickerty
    • The Recess Queen by Alexis O'Neill
    • Why Are You Looking at Me? I Just Have Down Syndrome by Lisa Tompkins
    • My Family Divided by Diane Guerrero

    Discuss the unexpected ways people may react when someone listens or acts respectfully. Make a list of kind things people can do that don't cost them anything (except a little pride).

  3.  In your small group discuss the following questions:

    1. What are actions and words that show kindness? Respect? Understanding before judging?
    2. What are ways to make a friend?
    3. How do you take steps to help everyone in the group feel included? How can you tell when they don't feel included?
  4. Each small group creates a poster to be displayed where others will see it depicting how to:

    • Respect others
    • Be kind
    • Show empathy
  5. Service Project

    This service project may be started together and completed in subsequent days, either with the group or with friends and family.

    Project Overview:

    Create a poster to be displayed in the community depicting the conflict resolution guidelines.


    1. Provide poster board, markers, pictures/illustrations to create the groups’ poster. Note: A poster is one suggestion; the group may communicate their methods through a demonstration, social media, video, or other means. 
    2. Be sure the steps on the posters reflect a path to effectively listen to others, strategize options for solving the conflict, and reach mutual understanding.
    3. Share, then display the posters throughout the community setting.

    A longer-term and more comprehensive service project would be to explore whether a peer mediation program should be implemented.  Here are sites for basic information: 

    Pax United  

    ASCD, Teaching Students to Be Peer Mediators

  6. The youth may decide to do another service-learning project that addresses a specific need at their school. Help them plan and carry out the project. 

  7. Reflect on this quote again and discuss how it is possible to respect different opinions when it feels important to know the right answer. 

    "Different people have different opinions, and it's okay to respect all of them." - Juan Pablo Galavis

In a written response participants reflect on two or more points listed below:

  • How did your thinking change related to diverse perspectives and resolving conflict?
  • How do diverse perspectives make a situation stronger? How do they make it more complicated? 
  • Write a sample sentence that uses language to include others' opinions in a difference of opinion about what game to play.
  • Give a personal example of a disagreement and the steps you used / could have used to bring both sides together.
  • Explain the role of an outside mediator and when it is necessary.

Follow-up: Discuss what the group would like to do next to continue impacting their community.

Cross Curriculum 

Read about the service-learning project called Malcolm X House by Michigan students who were taught using this Resolving Conflict with Respect lesson to guide student learning and action.

Ms. Hawke is a high school teacher from Michigan who says service and philanthropy are important because "they enable [students] to have pride in the ways they can contribute to their community." 

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
    1. Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.3 Recognize that citizens have a responsibility for the common good as defined by democratic principles.
  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 HS.4 Describe and give examples of characteristics of someone who helps others.
    2. Standard PCS 02. Diverse Cultures
      1. Benchmark MS.2 Describe the importance of hearing all voices in a community and respecting their right to be heard.
      2. Benchmark E.2 Discuss the importance of respect for others.
      3. Benchmark E.5 Identify the relationship between individual rights and community responsibility.
    3. Standard PCS 07. Skills of Civic Engagement
      1. Benchmark E.2 Discuss an issue affecting the common good in the classroom or school and demonstrate respect and courtesy for differing opinions.
      2. Benchmark E.3 Participate in acts of democratic citizenship in the classroom or school, such as voting, group problem solving, classroom governance or elections.
      3. Benchmark MS.3 Participate in acts of democratic citizenship in the classroom or school, such as voting, group problem solving, classroom governance or elections.
      4. Benchmark HS.1 Utilize the persuasive power of written or oral communication as an instrument of change in the community, nation or the world.
      5. Benchmark HS.3 Participate in acts of democratic citizenship in the community, state or nation, such as petitioning authority, advocating, voting, group problem solving, mock trials or classroom governance and elections.