Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Resolution or Revolution?

Anne Reeves


Students learn appropriate strategies to resolve conflicts and potentially dangerous and/or threatening situations by role playing situations


The student understands the possible causes of conflict among youth in schools and communities and knows positive communication strategies for preventing conflict.


- Index cards
- Pencils
- Notebook Paper
- Electric pencil sharpener
- Chart paper
- Markers
- Book- LET'S BE ENEMIES, Janice May Udry (HarperCollins,1961) ISBN# 0-060-261-315


1. Collect the chart paper and markers to write the definitions of the following words: conflict, resolution, -I- messages, sharing, listening, expressing regret, compromising, and negotiating.
2. Divide the class into small groups that work well together.
3. Place notebook paper and pencils on table for use in small groups.
4. Obtain a copy of the book LET'S BE ENEMIES.
5. Find a volunteer teacher to participate in the role play.
6. Write the seven skill components for listening on chart paper.
8. Divide the students into homogeneous groups.


Gain attention
1. Attention for this lesson will be gained by having another teacher role play the following scenario with the teacher. The other teacher enters the classroom and asks you if she can borrow an electric pencil sharpener from you. When you state that you will be using it she becomes angry and says in a very loud voice that she really needs to use it. You raise your voice and say that you need it too and that it belongs to you. She unplugs your pencil sharpener from the wall and picks it up. As she does, you grab the sharpener from her and you both try to take it from each other. By this time you have gotten the attention of the students.

2. Ask the students what they observed happening between the other teacher and yourself in the scenario. As students respond, these observations should be briefly discussed.
Present objectives: The students will identify appropriate and effective strategies to resolve conflict and reduce potetially threatening situations.

3. The word conflict will be defined orally as simply the disputes and disagreements that occur between people.

4. The word resolution will be defined orally as a way to solve a problem in a safe, fair and effective way.

5. Share the words and their definitions which have already been written on chart paper and displayed in the classroom.

6. Read the book LET'S BE ENEMIES by Janice May Udry and guide a discussion through the use of the following questions:
∑ Have you ever had a conflict with a good friend?
∑ What kinds of things do friends have conflicts about?
∑ What are some of the ways that you solved the conflict?
∑ How do you feel when you have a conflict?

Utilize the following information to discuss strategies that can be used to solve conflicts and bring about resolutions.

7. Define I messages as sentences that begin with -I- rather than you. An -I- message is more tactful. It tells the other person what the problem is, how you feel about it, and what you want, or don't want, to hapen. Explain to the students that a -you- message often leads to blaming and name calling and can make another person madder or more hurt. They usually make a problem worse.

8. Allow students to practice using -I- messages and -You- messages by resonding to the following situation in small groups.
Situation: You have borrowed your sister's cassette player and tapes. The cassette stops working and you know you haven't done anything harmful to it. When you give it back, she is extremely angry. She blames you by saying that it was your fault and that you will never use anything of hers again.

9. Discuss each group's responses by using the following questions:
--What were the effects of the -You- messages that were delivered in the skits?
--What were the effects of the -I- messages that were delivered in the skits?
-- What is the benefit of using an -I- message instead of a -you- message?
--Do you think it requires some practice to learn how to use -I- messages when you are angry?
--What can you do to remember to use -I- messages in conflictive situations?

10. Briefly define sharing as the exchange of information or materials and write the definition on chart paper. Allow students to give examples of sharing.

11. Explain to the class that listening is the clue to everything that goes on around us. Identify the following seven skill components for listening that are written on chart paper.
1. Stop what you are doing.
2. Sit quietly in your seat.
3. Look at the speaker.
4. Ignore distractions.
5. Think about what you have heard.
6. Ask questions if you need to for understanding.
7. Repeat the information to yourself.

12. Briefly define expressing regret as saying that you are sorry that you said or did something. Allow students to give examples of regret.

13. Briefly define compromising as the settling of a conflict when two sides agree to accept less than they originally wanted. Allow students to give examples of compromise.

14. Briefly define negotiating as an attempt to come to an agreement through discussion and compromise. Allow students to give examples of negotiation.

∑15. Divide the students into small groups of four or five and have them brainstorm the different appropriate ways to resolve the conflict between the two teachers who both need to use the pencil sharpener. Allow ample time for the small groups to discuss the possible strategies before proceeding.

Strategies that should be included are: I messages, sharing, listening, expressing regret, compromising, and negotiating.

16. Each groups' appropriate strategies will be shared orally with the class and recorded on chart paper by the teacher.

Provide for practice.
17. The students are asked to think of a time when something happened between them and someone else that almost caused a fight. In their small groups, they will decide on one scenario to present as a skit to the class.

18. Each group will create and practice their skit in which they role-play an appropriate strategy which is safe, fair and effective to resolve the conflict in the scenario. Each member of the group will participate in the skit.

Provide feedback
19. After each groups' presentation of their skit, the students in the other small groups will discuss the chosen strategy and answer on notebook paper the following three questions about the strategy
A). Is the strategy safe? (Will anyone be physically injured?)
B) Is the strategy fair?
C) Is the strategy effective? (Will it solve the problem?)

20. The students will also brainstorm other appropriate strategies to resolve each groups conflictive scenario and write these strategies on notebook paper.

21. In whole group, discuss the strategies recorded in the small groups and write them on chart paper


Assess the studentsí role playing skits to the class for the following criteria:
-Appropriate strategies for resolving conflicts

Assess through student observation and participation in role playing.
Assess through the use of the attached checklist. (See Associated File)
Assess through observation student cooperation during group work.


This lesson can be extended by having students videotape each others role playing for the purpose of reviewing, revising and retaping to better demonstrate strategies to reduce conflict and potentially threatening situations.
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