Scott Nishimoto

Structured Academic Controversy

An opportunity to explore controversial issues and divergent positions and work to reach consensus on what may have happened– highlighting the complexities of particular perspectives, opinions and events. Have youth argue one side of an argument and then have them switch sides before negotiating an agreement between the two sides. The controversial issues can be …

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To help young people deal with feelings of anger and frustration, try using the visual of a stoplight: green is calm, yellow is frustrated, and red is angry. Ask them to recognize and briefly describe their color. Are they moving up or down to a different color? What can they do to get to green? …

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Socratic Seminar

Titled after the Greek philosopher, Socratic dialogue transforms a student’s learning experience by allowing youth to generate and express their own ideas via the teacher asking questions as their primary method of instruction. It is collaborative, intellectual dialogue facilitated with open-ended questions about a topic, text, or issue. When done purposefully, the outcome is improved …

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Snack Meditation

Opportunities to share healthy snacks together builds community. Everyone begins eating together, often marking the time with a simple shared message. Parents or teachers can assist our youth in appreciating where our food comes from, asking what part of the snack took the longest time to grow, how the snack is helping our bodies, what …

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Web of Life

Youth sit in a circle, often at a transition point in the day. Holding a ball of yarn, they share one thing (something they like to do, someplace they have been,  something they learned recently) . Then they throw the ball to someone else while they hold on to their bit of yarn. The next …

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Silk Road

The Silk Road carried trade from cultures embracing numerous religions and worldviews. Stretching from Italy to Japan, the Silk Road runs through Buddhist, Confucian, Christian, Hindu, Muslim, Jewish, Shinto, and Taoist cultures. Youth reflect on similarities and differences between belief systems. Using quotations from philosophical and religious texts, they are asked to organize quotations into …

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Think Pair Listen Share

Have youth think individually and record their views about a particular issue. Then have them share their ideas with one another. Teachers/parents can foster careful listening by having youth be responsible for representing their partners in a group share-out and discussion. The act of sharing another person’s ideas builds compassion and collaboration. By entrusting our …

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Shuttle Diplomacy

A strategy for people to use when they see potential for solutions but don’t feel comfortable or safe bringing their ideas up publicly. A form of shuttle diplomacy is asking one of the people in a conflict, “Have you considered…?” or “What if you tried…?” in order to encourage them to share their ideas.