Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Are You a Peacemaker or a Man-Eating Shark?

Teri Grunden


Students work on the concept of "fairness" through a group activity, discussion, and written responses with conflicts/resolutions from a short story, and then produce a page on the computer (or on paper) for a class book.


The student understands the development of plot and how conflicts are resolved in a story.

The student knows the difference between negative and positive behaviors used in conflict situations (eg., talking vs. hitting, passivity vs. action).


-Mahy, Margaret. [Great White Man-Eating Shark] . New York, Scholastic Inc. 1989
-20 objects such as little toys, coins, food
-Large chart paper and markers
-Poster of the five "I Care" rules for grades 3-5, [Peace Scholars], Learning Through Literature, by Diane Carlebach, 1996, Miami, Grace Contrino Abrams Peace Educ. Foundation Inc.
-Paper, pencil, markers or crayons (for all students)
-Materials to bind papers into a classroom booklet
-OPTIONAL: Kid Pix or similar computer program with capability to print


1. Preread the book, [The Great White Man-Eating Shark]
2. Gather 20 items (i.e. books, food, small toys, etc).
3. Hang up one large piece of chart paper on board/wall and "I Care" Rules.
4. Gather markers/crayons and paper for each student.


1. Have twelve students stand in front of the class or sit in the front row by the teacher facing the rest of the class.

2. Show students the 20 items (i.e. toys, food, books, etc) you have gathered.

3. Tell students you will pass out all 20 items to the twelve students until the items are gone.

4. Pass out all 20 items. Discuss if it is fair (why or why not) to the twelve students concerning how many items they each received. Classify student responses into two categories: negative and positive comments. This will help students justify their answers/responses.

5. Remind students about the five "I Care Rules" and point to the poster displaying the rules to help them make decisions. Tell students you will read a book which deals with the topic of fairness and responsibility (ie. taking responsibility for one's actions in this story).

6. Read the trade book, [The Great White Man-Eating Shark]. Pause at different spots in the book to ask, "Is it fair how Norvan is behaving?" "Why do you think it is fair or not fair?"

7. Discuss the different conflicts and resolutions found in the story. Write student responses on chart paper (conflicts on left side and resolutions on the right side). Samples of conflicts/resolutions are as follows.
Norvin had to share the beach with other swimmers which made him cross and resentful.
Norvin dressed up like a shark to scare swimmers away.
Mrs. Scorpio yelled that there was a real shark swimming next to her.
Everyone got out of the water.
Norvin dressed up again like a shark to scare swimmers away so he could have the beach to himself.
Norvin saw a real shark and couldn't swim anyway.
He learned his lesson, which was to not be so greedy.

8. Have students fold a piece of paper in half and label the word "conflict" on left side and "resolution" on the right side.

9. Have students write/illustrate one of the conflicts and resolutions to the story on paper.

10. Compile all student pages into a booklet unless you go to step #11.

11. OPTIONAL (If steps #11-13 are omitted, this lesson does not align with CTC122.): Students will then use the Kid Pix computer program to input data from step #9 (pictures/sentences of the conflict and resolution). The Kid Pix design on the computer will look like the paper from step #9 (conflict on one side and the resolution on the other side).

12. Students then print out their Kid Pix page (one page per student).

13. All computer printed-out pages will be compiled into a classroom booklet.

14. Share the booklet with the class and discuss "peaceful" ways to solve conflicts as a culmination activity.


Formatively assess student writing to make sure it reflects understanding of the conflicts/resolutions in the story, [The Great White Man-Eating Shark] (See Associated File for rubric.)

Assess computer skills for simple desktop publishing using Kid Pix. Criteria to consider would be the pictures supporting the text and the text supporting the conflict/resolution from [The Great White Man-Eating Shark] trade book. (See Associated File for rubric.)

Assess knowledge of positive and negative behaviors used in conflict situations from the trade book. Listen to student responses. A checklist could be used to mark off students who are exhibiting positive behaviors in conflict situations.

Note: Circulate and formatively assess students as they use the technology tools. Provide assistance for students who are experiencing difficulty and monitor accordingly.


Students need prior experience on the computer with the Kid Pix program. If students need additional time/days on the computer, prior experience with saving, retrieving a file and printing will be necessary.

Prior knowledge and experience with the five "I Care" rules would be very helpful.
The Bay County Rotary Club coloring booklet (four total virtues) on Character Education for grade 3, lesson on "Fairness" would be a terrific follow-up activity (cassette tape is included with the booklets).

Read Aloud Block - read [The Great White Man-Eating Shark] trade book during this time and discuss conflicts/resolutions/"fairness."

Writing Block - the written part of this lesson (sentences on conflict/resolution) would be great for the writing block time.

The writing process could be incorporated in this lesson to produce a final paragraph or expository paper explaining one of the conflicts/resolutions found in [The Great White Man-Eating Shark] story used within this lesson

Web Links

Web supplement for Are You a Peacemaker or a Man-Eating Shark?
Fair is Fair

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