Monday, December 29, 2014

Avoiding and Independently Resolving Conflict in the Classroom

December seems to be a time for lots of conflict between students in the classroom.  Maybe they are all just ready for a break from each other.  With all the activities and discussion early on in the year, the students have gotten very good about identifying when someone is filling or dipping in someone else's bucket.  They also know actions that are peacemaking and peace breaking, but they seem to fall short in actually resolving conflict when it does arise.  Telling someone that they are mean doesn't really do much to promote friendships, if what you really intend to say is your words are hurtful or I wish you would share.  When we return to school in January, we will be engaging in some activities that will give students the opportunity to practice skills to avoid conflict and resolve conflict independently in the classroom.  As you all know, avoiding and resolving conflict doesn't mean you have to be a doormat, and so we will be focusing on the Leader in Me Habit # 4: Think Win-Win.

We are learning to do a lot of things independently in Kindergarten.  One of the things we are learning to do is to get along with each other.  Here are three important lessons in getting along:

  1. When to tell?  When is telling tattling and when is it necessary?  After making a two column chart and writing down our responses, we will hopefully determine that telling is necessary if someone is getting hurt or about to get hurt.  We may come up with some other exceptions I haven't thought of yet.
  2. If there is a conflict you must resolve yourself, what should you do or say?  We will brainstorm responses to specific scenarios and role-play often, helping students become more exacting in their language.
  3. If you accidentally touch someone, IMMEDIATELY tell them you are sorry and that it was an accidental touch.  So many misunderstanding begin in kindergarten because someone accidentally bumped another student.  
If you are having any of the same issues with conflict at home, maybe you can find some of this useful.  

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