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Calm in the Classroom

The classroom is humming with activity when, suddenly, you hear shouting. Students quickly begin accusing each other: "He said, he did" or "She said, she did." Help your students practice and use the simple strategies of conflict resolution to help keep your classroom calmer.

Conflict Resolution Strategies Adapted From "Kids and Conflict."

  • Stay calm.
    Get down to the children’s level and talk to them calmly.
  • Let them know you understand their feelings.
    Describe what you see that they’re feeling. Don’t ask questions until children are calmer.
  • Find out information.
    Ask “what” questions to find out what happened to make them upset.
  • Repeat what you have found out.
    Use clear statements to retell what you heard them say.
  • Ask for ideas to solve the problem.
    Have the children offer ideas and solutions to the problem.
  • Stay close by for support.
    After the children agree to the solution, stay close at hand to be sure things stay calm.
  • Praise them for playing well together.
    Make sure they know you’re proud of them for solving the problem for themselves.

Purpose: To help students role play to develop and practice solving problems in the classroom.

Materials: Character Cards (PDF) printouts, paper plates, craft sticks, scissors, glue, markers, crayons, and other arts and crafts items.

Preparation: Print out the Character Cards (PDF), backs and fronts. Be sure to have at least one printout for each child.

Procedure: Have students talk about times when they’ve gotten angry with each other or with other friends or siblings. What caused the problem? How did they solve the problem?

Have students choose Character Cards (PDF) that represent their favorite characters. Have them cut out the characters’ pictures and glue them onto the paper plates. Using crayons, markers, and other supplies, have them personalize their characters.

Then, help students glue (or staple) their paper plate characters to a craft stick to make hand-held face puppets.

As a class, have students talk about their characters based on their own imaginations, the characters’ pictures, and the information from the back of the Character Cards (PDF). What are the characters’ likes, strengths, and talents? Now, pair students so that each team is made up of two different characters.

Have the teams make up problems that might come up if these two characters were playing together. For example: Mee Possum was making paper flowers when she accidentally spilled glitter and glue on Abu Rabbit’s keyboard; or Kristy Kitty skated into Thurgood Turtle and knocked him on his shell; or Miguel Tiger wants to climb trees, but Wally Bear thinks it’s time to play baseball.

Note: With younger students, you may wish to set up the problems ahead of time or work with the whole class to come up with the problems.

Next, have student teams act out their characters’ problems, including the arguments that might occur. Then, have the class follow the steps below to help the characters solve their problems:

  1. Stop. Don’t yell or fight. Explain what the problem is.
  2. Talk about it. What are some ways to solve the problem?
  3. Think about it. Which idea will work best? Is it fair to everyone? Will it make everyone feel better?
  4. Try it. See how the solution works. If there’s still a problem, let’s talk again.

Have students continue to role play problems and use the above steps to solve them.

After all the role plays are complete, have students talk about how these steps to peaceful solutions could help them manage their own problems. Talk about examples from the classroom.

Optional Procedure: Have students write each of the above steps on paper plates, numbered 1–4, and decorate them. Store these signs around the classroom. When an argument breaks out, have students use the signs to help settle the argument.

Related Family Article: Conflict Resolution For Kids


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Updated on 3/21/2012