What Is a Peaceable Classroom?

Grade Levels: K - 5

Objectives

  • Students will discuss and define the terms peace, peaceable, and community.
  • Students will explore the connections between these three words and their own environment.
  • Students will analyze the current classroom environment and discuss ways to make it more peaceable.

Materials

Chart Paper and Markers

Procedures

  1. Write the following definitions on a piece of chart paper and display it in front of the class.

    1. Peace: a state of mutual harmony between people or groups, especially in personal relations.
    2. Peaceable: fond of, inclined toward or promoting peace; not argumentative or hostile.
    3. Community: a group of people working together according to mutual interests or similar rules.

  2. Ask students to restate these definitions in their own words.
  3. Encourage students to think of examples or anecdotes to support their definitions.
  4. Ask students what a peaceable classroom might be like.
  5. Generate a list of specific qualities that characterize a peaceable classroom. Elicit such attributes as:

    • cooperation
    • good communication
    • respect for one another
    • non-violent conflict resolution
    • problem solving

  6. If student responses are too general-- "everyone is nice"-- encourage them to be more specific.
  7. Continue the discussion using the following questions:

    • If a peaceable classroom has all of the qualities we just listed, how does our classroom compare?
    • Do we have a peaceable classroom?
    • What would we have to do to create a peaceable classroom?

  8. Encourage students to give specific suggestions about changing the classroom for the better (e.g. "If two people want to use the same toy they have to take turns. Each turn will last exactly five minutes.")
  9. List the suggestions on a separate piece of chart paper.
  10. Once all of the suggestions are written down, encourage students to try adopting these behaviors in order to make the classroom more peaceable.
  11. To conclude the lesson, discuss these final questions:

    • What are some caring communities you are a part of?
    • In what ways do they resemble our peaceable classroom?

  12. Make the list of suggestions into a poster and display it in the classroom.
From Elementary Perspectives by William J. Kreidler.

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