Conflict Resolution Activities

Grade Levels: 3 - 8

Here is a list of five to ten minute activities that are intended to promote positive community-building. In all activities, students should have the opportunity to pass if they so desire.

  1. Anger Ball-Toss
    Find a soft ball. Have the class stand in a circle. Begin by completing the sentence, "I feel angry when ..." Ask for a volunteer who is willing to restate what you just said. Toss that student the ball. That student restates what you said, then completes the sentence for herself. She then tosses the ball to someone else, who repeats what she said, then completes the sentence for himself, and so on.

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  2. Feelings Check-ln
    Pass out markers and 5x8 index cards. Ask each student to write on the card in large letters one word that describes how he or she is feeling right now. Then ask students to hold up their cards and look at the variety of responses. Point out how rare it is for different people to bring the same feelings to an experience or situation. Invite students to share why they wrote down the words that they did.

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  3. "I Got What I Wanted ..."
    Have students complete the following sentence: "A time I got something I wanted was when ..."

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  4. I Represent Conflict
    Place yourself in the middle of the room and say, "Imagine that I represent conflict. Think about how you usually react when you experience a conflict personally or witness a conflict happening nearby. Then place yourself, in relation to me, somewhere in the room in a way that indicates your first response to conflict or disagreement. Think about your body position, the direction that you're facing, and the distance from conflict."
    Once students have found a position relative to you in the room, ask individuals to explain why they are standing where they are. You might also want to ask, "If this represents your first reaction, what might your second reaction be, after thinking about the conflict?"

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  5. Putting Up a Fight
    Go around the group and have students answer: "What is something you have that you would put up a serious fight for--even risk your life for--if someone tried to take it away?" (This can be a material thing, like a gold chain, or something intangible, like a good reputation.) Then ask: "Why is this so important to you?"

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  6. Standing Up
    Have students describe a time they felt they were being taken advantage of and they stood up for themselves.

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  7. What Color is Conflict?
    Cut up a large quantity of 4x4 construction-paper squares in a wide variety of colors. Be sure to have plenty of red, black, brown, and gray. Ask each student to choose a color or group of colors that she thinks represents conflict. Either in the large group or in smaller groups of five or six, have participants share the colors they chose and why they chose them. (If you split up into smaller groups, come back together at the end and have volunteers share with the whole group which colors they chose and why.)

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  8. "What Would You Do ...?"
    Go around the group asking each student to respond to this question: "If you saw a fight starting in the street between two people you didn't know at all, what would you do?"

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  9. "When I'm in a Conflict..."
    Go around the group, asking each student to complete the sentence, "When I get into a conflict, I usually ..."
Excerpted from Conflict Resolution in the High School by Carol Miller Lieber with Linda Lantieri and Tom Roderick.

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