The purpose of this activity is for students to reflect on proverbs dealing with conflict from around the world and relate them to current or historic events or situations.
1. Print the collection of conflict proverbs that Educators for Social Responsibility have compiled on this Web site http://www.esrnational.org/proverbs.htm. (Some additional materials are available for payment only.)
2. Divide the class into groups of two or three students.
3. Assign each group one of the conflict proverbs.
4. Ask each group to do the following:
Write a brief explanation of what they think the proverb means.
Think of a current or historic event or situation that relates to this proverb.
5. Provide time for groups to share and discuss their proverb with the class.
Steps: Activity One
The purpose of this lesson is for students to record examples of conflict that they encounter or observe in their daily lives and role-play resolutions to these situations.
1. Ask students to keep a conflict journal. The conflict journal should contain at least one example from the following categories:
Daily life (This doesn't have to be a situation that happened to them personally. It might include a situation that they observed in a public place.)
Television, radio or newspaper story
Movie, song or book
2. Ask students to reflect on the causes of the conflict, how the situation escalated and what could have been done to prevent or resolve the conflict.
3. After students have recorded a few entries in their journals, divide the class into small groups and tell them to select some of the entries from their journals and role-play the scenarios.
4. Ask the groups to discuss the causes of the conflict, how the situation escalated and what could have been done to solve the conflict.
5. Ask each group to choose one of the stories that they role-played in the group and act it out for the class.
6. Discuss the scenarios.
Steps: Activity Two
The purpose of this activity is for students to apply their knowledge of conflict resolution to world events.
1. Ask students to spend several days recording in their journals examples of conflicts that are occurring around the world.
2. Generate a list of world conflicts from the students' journals.
3. Ask the class to choose two or three of these areas of conflict for further examination.
Teacher Note: Students may also choose to research one of the countries on the current operations list from the UN Peacekeeping Web site:
4. Break students into small groups and assign each group one of the selected topics.
5. Tell the groups that they are to write a report about their conflict and present it to the class.
6. The reports should contain a history of the conflict, an explanation of the parties involved in the conflict, a description of the main issues of the conflict, and an explanation of the positions of the people involved in the conflict.
Teacher Note: Encourage students to use a variety of resources for this activity. These resources might include newspapers, magazines, television, Internet resources etc. Students who struggle with the written material may want to go to www.npr.org and search for an audio transcript of a story pertaining to their topic.
7. Send students to the Web site listed here to read the Carter Center's "Principles for Peacemakers:"
8. Tell the class that they are going to use the information in "Principles for Peacemakers" to discuss possible resolutions for the conflicts they researched.
9. Have the groups present their reports to the class.
10. Ask the group to assign certain members to represent the various factions involved in the conflict. Tell students that they are to discuss the issues from the point of view of their assigned faction, even though they may disagree with the positions held by that group.
11. Ask each group to choose a member of the class who is not in the group to be the peacemaker.
12. Tell the group that it will work with the peacemaker to negotiate a settlement for the situation.
13. Provide time for the other groups to repeat the process.
14. After all of the groups have finished, ask students to write a newspaper article on the settlement.
1. Work with school officials to create a school-wide conflict resolution program. The School Mediation Center offers information on this topic: http://www.csmp.org/index.htm
2. Re-write well-known children's stories like "The Three Little Pigs" in a way that resolves the conflict between the various parties. Write, illustrate and bind the books. When the books are completed, share the stories with kindergarten or elementary students.
3. Create a peace garden or a peace place in your school.
4. Write peace poems and display them around the school.
Create individual portfolios of students' work.
Observe students in the following areas:
Growth in cognitive skills
Interactions that occur during group work
Growth in social skills
Growth in attitudes toward learning
Conference with each student on these topics:
His or her goals
Strategies for learning
Solutions to problems
What did I learn from this project?
What do I still want to learn about this topic?
What part of my work on this project gives me a sense of achievement?
What would I do differently next time?
In what ways was I able to work with others on this project?
What did I like most about this project?