Your students will love being silly as they act out different conflict management skills with their classmates! They love turning the wheel to discover the different conflict management strategies and will definitely use them later on in life. Even my 5th graders enjoyed this activity as they could compete with other tables to guess the most conflict resolution strategies before the other tables.
Lesson Title: Conflict Resolution
- A:A3.1 Take responsibility for their actions
- PS:A1.8 Understand the need for self-control and how to practice it
- PS:A1.9 Demonstrate cooperative behavior in groups
- PS:A2.2 Respect alternative points of view
- PS:A2.6 Use effective communications skills
- PS:A2.7 Know that communication involves speaking, listening and nonverbal behavior
- PS:A2.8 Learn how to make and keep friend
- PS:B1.3 Identify alternative solutions to a problem
- PS:B1.4 Develop effective coping skills for dealing with problems
- PS:B1.5 Demonstrate when, where and how to seek help for solving problems and making decisions
- PS:B1.6 Know how to apply conflict resolution skills
- Students will be able to identify at least 3 conflict resolution skills and how to use them.
- Students will be able to identify why conflict resolution skills are important
- Students will know how to identify mistakes from poorly managing conflict and how to fix/apologize for them.
- Paper plates (6-10)
- Paper fasteners (3-5)
- White board
- Start by reading the following story (Conflict Resolution: Positive Actions):
Chelsea and Kyle both wanted to hold Freddy, the frog who lived in a terrarium in the corner of the classroom. But only one student was allowed to hold Freddy at a time.
Chelsea said, “Let’s play rock, paper, scissors to see who can hold Freddy first.”
“Good idea,” said Kyle.
They played the game and Chelsea won. She picked up Freddy. Kyle felt frustrated. He wanted to hold Freddy right now. But he knew he lost the game fair and square, so he would have to wait.
He thought, I can be mad, but that doesn’t feel good. Instead, while I wait, I can find something else to do. Maybe I can draw a picture of Freddy, talk to Chelsea about Freddy while she holds him, read a book until it’s my turn, or ask if I can hold Ronald, the class rabbit.
- How did Chelsea and Kyle decide who should go first?
- Did they decide in a fair way?
- When you are mad, what does that feel like?
- Why does it feel good to be fair?
- How did Kyle feel when he had to wait?
- How did he manage his feelings?
Address the importance of solving problems in a positive, calm manner. For example, if the kids in the example above didn’t handle that situation well, the frog may have been hurt in the conflict! When we grow up we have to learn how to handle conflict with our bosses well, or we might be fired. We have to handle conflict with our friends well or we may never have many friendships. Explore with students some other ideas of what we should do when we have a conflict:
- Rock Paper Scissors
- Eeny-meeny miney moe
- Evens & odds (shoot)
- Draw a traffic light on the white board with the three circles stating “STOP”, “THINK”, “SPEAK”. “What might this look like when trying to deal with a conflict? When you’re mad, maybe you can stop and pretend you’re a traffic light and imagine the light switching to different colors as you complete each task – stop, then think, then speak.”
- Counting backwards
- Taking big breaths
like an ice cube
- Freeze, then slowly relax/melt each part of your body and mind
- Using words instead of hands (I-messages: “I feel frustrated when I am interrupted” instead of “you are rude”)
Explain that no one is perfect, so sometimes we do struggle with conflict. If a conflict occurred that ended badly or wasn’t managed, this is how we might try to fix it. Copy the bolded text below on the board and explain that if we practice thinking this way we can learn from our mistakes and help mitigate our conflicts to heal relationships.
- What happened?
- What were you thinking & feeling at the time?
- Who has been harmed by what you have done?
- What can you do to make things right?
Emphasize the connection between self-control and conflict management in order to find effective solutions to problems that are appropriate and not harmful.
Now we are going to practice some strategies using a conflict resolution wheel and some scenarios. Pretend these scenarios are real: https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Free-Social-Problem-Solving-Task-Cards-2026178.
Explain that each student will practice one conflict resolution skill from the wheel (turn the wheel one notch only) and act out what it might look like using that strategies. Challenge your students to see if they can guess the conflict management skill being acted out by each student. Let the students know when they will switch scenarios with another table. The next student will turn the wheel one notch and try a different strategy than the student before them. After a few minutes, have students trade plate wheels with another table to try out new strategies.
- Make several conflict-resolution wheels for students to work in groups on this activity. You can make these conflict resolution wheels by copying strategies on a plate and use a paper fastener to attach another plate with a small cut out piece (to display one strategy at a time) to the front of the other plate. I made sure each plate had different strategies so that when groups switched plates, they were able to practice different strategies. The following is an example:
Close out discussion: ask students to share their favorite conflict resolution skill with their group or as a class.