Resolving Conflict with Respect - Elem
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. Students respond to literature about how people from different perspectives see the same thing. They learn to communicate respectfully with someone of a different opinion and to seek common ground or compromise. The lesson concludes with a service project in which the students create posters to bring people in the school or community together.
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
Use the attached PowerPoint to guide classroom discussion.
After reading a book about conflict resolution, guide a discussion with the following:
- How did the characters resolve their conflict?
- What methods or words are similar to what we use in our classroom or homes?
- Give a personal example of a disagreement and the steps you took (or could have tried) to bring both sides together.
- Intermediate book list related to different perspectives: https://www.thebump.com/a/childrens-books-about-diversity
- For more background on conflict resolution skills for youth, view this six-part series published by Michigan State University Extension
Adapt this one-period lesson plan for your grade level and follow it with a simple and powerful service project on MLK Day. The reflection brings learning and service impact together.
Anticipatory Set: (8 minutes)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 students to think about a time when they saw things differently from someone else, and it possibly caused tension or a conflict. Try to get students to share, but have an example or two to share with them. Discuss:
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.
- What was the difference or conflict?
- How did you gain insight or resolve the issue?
- How did you feel afterward?
Read a picture book about seeing diversityat 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).
In your small group discuss the following questions:
- What are actions and words that show kindness? Respect? Understanding before judging?
- What are ways to make a friend?
- How do you take steps to help everyone in the class or school feel included? How can you tell when they don't feel included?
Student groups each create a poster to be displayed around the school or classroom depicting how to:
- Respect others
- Be kind
- Show empathy
This service project may be started in class and completed in subsequent days, either with the class or with friends and family.
Create a poster to be displayed around the school or in the community depicting the conflict resolution guidelines.
- Students have access to poster board, markers, pictures/illustrations to create their groups’ poster. Note: A poster is one suggestion; your students may communicate their methods through a demonstration, social media, video, or other means.
- Be sure the steps on the posters reflect the students’ path to effectively listen to others, strategize options for solving the conflict, and reach mutual understanding.
- Share, then display the posters throughout the school setting.
A longer-term and more comprehensive service project would be to explore whether a peer mediation program should be implemented at your school. Here are sites for basic information:
ASCD, Teaching Students to Be Peer Mediators http://www.ascd.org/publications/educational-leadership/sept92/vol50/num01/Teaching-Students-to-Be-Peer-Mediators.aspx
Students may decide to do another service-learning project that addresses a specific need at their school. Help them plan and carry out the project.
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 students 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.
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."
Strand PHIL.I Definitions of Philanthropy
Standard DP 01. Define Philanthropy
Benchmark E.3 Recognize that citizens have a responsibility for the common good as defined by democratic principles.
Strand PHIL.II Philanthropy and Civil Society
Standard PCS 01. Self, citizenship, and society
Benchmark E.3 Describe a benefit of group cooperation.
Benchmark HS.4 Describe and give examples of characteristics of someone who helps others.
Standard PCS 02. Diverse Cultures
Benchmark MS.2 Describe the importance of hearing all voices in a community and respecting their right to be heard.
Benchmark E.2 Discuss the importance of respect for others.
Benchmark E.5 Identify the relationship between individual rights and community responsibility.
Standard PCS 07. Skills of Civic Engagement
Benchmark E.2 Discuss an issue affecting the common good in the classroom or school and demonstrate respect and courtesy for differing opinions.
Benchmark E.3 Participate in acts of democratic citizenship in the classroom or school, such as voting, group problem solving, classroom governance or elections.
Benchmark MS.3 Participate in acts of democratic citizenship in the classroom or school, such as voting, group problem solving, classroom governance or elections.
Benchmark HS.1 Utilize the persuasive power of written or oral communication as an instrument of change in the community, nation or the world.
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.