Tools for Age 5-13

The following tools are appropriate and suggested for children/youth in the age range of 5-13 years. We use this age range loosely and some may apply more to the younger ages and others to the upper ages. These tools have classroom, home and/or community applications.

A Better World

Youth work to identify community problems and respond to community needs. They are guided through exercises (many in this Tool Kit) in imagining a stronger

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Action Research

Ask youth to conduct research on various conflicts by visiting peace education websites or multiple media sources. After researching the dimensions and various perspectives of

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Active Learning

Vary instructional strategies to develop the whole brain. Provide youth multiple sources of input including books, videos, lectures, discussions, visuals, stories and songs. Allow youth

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Active Listening

This is more than just hearing what someone else is saying.  Active listening builds trust and ensures that the other person in a conversation knows

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Acts of Kindness

Encourage individuals to perform a kind and selfless act for another person, be it someone known or unknown, with the only purpose being to brighten

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All about Activists

Youth brainstorm a list of activists, leaders, philosophers, philanthropists, and others who have made a difference in their communities and/or the world. They identify the

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Alternate Grades

Consider assigning grades based on absolute standards, and not on a youth’s achievement as defined by the teacher or compared to other youth. Students and

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Ants on a Log

A fun and physical activity that encourages teamwork and collaboration. You will need an even number of youth to participate, ideally close to 10. Find

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Autobiographical Story

To create an autobiographical story, start with the problem, tension, conflict or personal realization that will serve as the heart of the story. Then work

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Be Positive, Not Negative

An activity for “peace within and between” that focuses on negative self-talk, negative thoughts and statements about others, and complaining. A good idea is to

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Beanbags of Cooperation

A fun, noncompetitive game that clearly demonstrates concentration, cooperation, and commitment. You will need a large indoor or outdoor space and many bean bags (or

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Blind Teamwork

This is a fun game that emphasizes clear communication, listening skills, and teamwork. Choose a large indoor or outdoor area and divide youth into two

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Brain Breaks

The brain alternates between various cycles (high and low) and hemispheres (left and right) throughout the day. To boost energy, enhance wellness, or get youth

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Bucket Filling

An idea born in 2006 that works very well with young children, in which a bucket represents your mental and emotional self.  When your bucket

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Bucket Toss

Create laminated pictures or drawings of various needs and wants, or have the items on hand. Have youth toss the items in a “want” bucket

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Buddy Bench

A simple idea to eliminate loneliness and isolation and foster friendship and inclusion on the playground or in any public space. They work best when

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Build a Shelter

A collaborative outdoor activity in which youth are challenged to build a shelter with a limited number and type of materials (ie. no more than

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Canoe Travel

Identify a problem-solving journey (personal, local, national or global) that you would like to undertake. Imagine you are in a problem-solving canoe, heading toward successful

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Cast the Net

Ensure broad participation and diversity of representation in developing classroom, family, or community action plans. Have youth think about casting the largest possible net to

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Celebrations

It is really important to celebrate both small and large successes, honor the people involved, maintain momentum, and continue to inspire improvement. Remember to build

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Change the Ending

Revisit an event that ended with a less than desirable outcome. Encourage youth to create their own alternative endings. Why did they make the choices

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Character Lenses

While doing creative writing, have youth investigate the people involved in their storyboards. What types of people were involved? What do you think they were

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Community Care

Establish age appropriate shared jobs that rotate throughout the year and that will help build the classroom or home environment. Create a classroom or family

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Conflict Resolution Drama

Research shows that practicing pro-social behaviors is essential to internalizing these dispositions. Have youth form small groups of two to four. Hand out a sample

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Connections Map

Youth draw a map that identifies relationships people have with each other. From that map, they identify key decision-makers as well as people that might

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Contracts/Pacts

These are promises people make to each other about how to act toward one another. They create shared accountability to outcomes. Find contract templates online

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Count to Ten

Have children sit or stand in a circle. The group counts from one to ten. Anyone can say a number, but if two people say

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Create Shared Values

Create a list or use pictures to chart individuals’ values, rules or expectations. Wherever there is a common value or expectation, you’ll find the foundation

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Deflating Anger

Teach youth that anger can be a healthy emotion, and that it informs us about the importance of an issue. Teach them to remain calm

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Don’t to Do

Instead of “Don’t hit,” try “Touch nicely” and demonstrate. Reinforce by asking, “How do you touch nicely?” Instead of “Don’t touch the lamp,” say, “You

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Double Listening

Includes active listening plus listening for the counter story. A counter story is one that will introduce possibilities of resolution or that will help you

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Drama and Dance

Use drama and dance to build community, foster active learning, and support youth growth. Use both to aid classroom management, address multiple intelligences, and to

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Engaging Nature

Getting people outside can do wonders for building capacities for problem solving. Through engaging nature, youth become calm, learn to listen carefully, develop their empathic

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Ethnomathematics

Defined by Brazilian mathematician Ubiratan D’Ambrosio as intersections of culture, historical traditions, socio-cultural roots, and mathematics.  It seeks to answer the question of students in

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Exercise in Empathy

Have youth adopt the perspective of those in history who are poorly represented or not represented in history books. With each news story, piece of

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Family Cultural Sharing

Identify cultural treasures from the families in your classroom. Have families come in and share their cultural traditions. Highlight ways of celebrating community through dance,

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Family Meetings

Plan meetings as a whole family (try for weekly) where members discuss the upcoming week. Identify where family members might need some help. Family Meetings

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Family Narrative

Research shows that youth who have knowledge of their family history, events, challenges, and successes have more self-control, higher self-esteem, and handle difficulties better. This

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Feedback

The use of feedback can reduce stress and confusion. Immediate feedback should be specific and focus on ways that youth can improve. Try to avoid

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Field Trips

Create field trips that reinforce the Ceeds of Peace that you are planting. Service learning excursions are an example. Youth can work to better understand

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Fight or Flight

When people are upset, they access the fight/flight part of their brain. Do not try to solve problems if you or the youth are angry

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Fist of 5

A way of measuring how everyone is feeling about a process. A useful tool to use as a check-in throughout a process. People show fingers

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Gender Critique

Critically reflect on the role gender played in a particular situation. Gender critiques should be visited when reading history, current literature, looking at current events,

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Gratitude Journal

Keep a journal with writings and/or artwork to record and express what you are most thankful for in your life. There are many small things

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Grow a Garden

Consider the benefits of establishing and maintaining a garden….. time with nature, cultivation of living plants, growing of edible foods, time to reflect, and many

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Gut Check

Project a slide or make a poster listing or showing in pictures a wide range of emotions and feelings (brave, uncomfortable, confident, jealous, peaceful, disappointed,

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History Jigsaw Puzzle

Each participant explores the same time or event in history from the perspective of a different person or group. Individuals then come together and share

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Hopes & Dreams

A reflection activity that can be done as part of a family meeting, intervention, restorative justice session, or other time in which a “big picture”

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How does it feel?

After analyzing the information surrounding a problem or challenge, what is your reaction? Were the systems fair? Why or why not? Identify one or two

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Ho‘oponopono

Learn about Ho‘oponopono, the Hawaiian system for ‘setting it right,’ and restoring individual and community harmony and balance. It promotes acts of healing interpersonal conflicts

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Huaka‘i

Design a huaka‘i or fieldtrip for youth to help them better understand the history, culture, and land systems (ahupua‘a) of Hawai‘i. Your huaka‘i might focus

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Hugs

When appropriate, hugs help us feel better. When a child is having a tantrum, try asking for a hug or saying, “When you are ready,

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Human Bingo

An interactive game to learn names and qualities about people in a group, that teaches skills of investigation, appreciating diversity, identifying similarities and differences. Photocopy

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I Am Here For You

When a young person is in the throes of anger, panic, or emotional outburst, often their minds and bodies are experiencing a stress response whereby

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I Statements

Used to confront a behavior without  placing blame on another. . Also used to recognize one’s  emotions. Another use is to state a point of

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Identity Activities

Provide opportunities through art, music or writing for youth to express their own identities, history, affiliations, values, intentions, and needs, etc. Explore different facets of

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If/Then Game

A basic tool to think through consequences, “If this happens, then what do you think will happen next?” or “If we decided to do this,

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In Their Shoes

To help youth better understand those who are disabled, it could be helpful to have them explore what it’s like to be “in their shoes”.

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Intellectual Safety

In order to develop respectful relationships between all members of a group or community (classroom, team, family unit, etc.), there must be a clear and

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Just Because

These are positive interactions that we can make with each other “just because”, meaning they are not in response to what someone else does. “Just

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Kind and Firm

It is the AND that brings kind AND firm together to avoid extremes. Begin by validating feelings and/or choices when possible. Examples, “I know you

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Kindness Catcher

With paper, scissors and pencils, allow children to make folding “catchers” (also called “origami fortune tellers”), with their kind acts written inside the various flaps.

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Kindness Tree

Role-play one act of kindness each week with words or actions. When acts of kindness are noticed or a classmate shares an act of kindness

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Kupuna Sharing

Bring in a knowledgeable kupuna (elder) to share their life story. Discuss how roles, rights, and responsibilities look similar or different in Hawai‘i (or elsewhere)

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Labels

It is important to talk with youth about labels and the stereotypes that go along with them. Do peers call your child a “jock” or

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Lenses

Have youth find at least two photographs from a movement—past or present—against what are perceived as unjust laws. The goal is to find photographs that

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Let It Settle

A great visual tool to show the imbalance of a brain that is experiencing anger or rage, and how it is possible for the anger

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Literature Circle

Use a literature circle to discuss major elements of a story that is developmentally appropriate to the audience. Include its characters and events. Are the

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Logical Consequences

Use discipline to develop character and not to punish. Discipline means “to teach” and should not be punitive but should help a child to grow

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Media Comparisons

Take on a particular current or historical event. Find disparate sources of reporting and media on the event to compare. Who wrote the articles? Ask

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Mediation/Facilitation

Provide spaces for youth to practice the skills of mediation between them as well as facilitation of group discussions and problem solving. Hone their skills

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Mirroring

Repeating the meaning of a person’s words in a warm and caring tone assures the speaker that you seek to understand instead of judging or

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Mistakes & Learning

Establish a culture in your classroom or home where mistakes are welcomed and used as learning opportunities. Normalize mistakes by discussing them at mealtime or

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Mix Pair Share

Have the children/students mix, then teacher calls “pair” and the youth pair up. Teacher then asks a question and gives the pairs thinking time. Pairs

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Modeling

Rather than just telling children and youth how they should act, show them. Show them in your own daily actions and words with them. Intentionally

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Money

Give youth a small amount of money to manage. Teach them about investing, saving, the value of conservation, wise spending, and encourage them to give

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Movement Healing

Use movement as a way to increase blood flow for effective thinking and problem solving. Build in yoga, dance, stretching, and physical exercise on a

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Mo‘olelo

The Hawaiian word for story or tradition; use classical Hawaiian stories to teach literacy, science, and culture. In so doing, youth build their own stories

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My Community

Focusing on wants and needs, have youth each draw their own classroom, school and/or family. How would they meet their needs? They will most likely

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My Kuleana

When discussing a current or historical event, have youth draw, write about, paint or publicly express what their kuleana (responsibility) would have been or is

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Name it to Tame It

Help youth to get more specific and expand their emotional vocabulary, replacing basic feeling words with more sophisticated terms. They graduate from using words like

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Next Time Commitments

After going through a resolution process, have youth make commitments to one another and to their community about how they will do things differently next

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Open-Ended Questions

Teach youth how to ask effective open-ended questions to learn more. These are typically: How, When, Who, What, and Why questions that cannot be answered

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Peace Flower

A strategy for youth to problem-solve themselves. Between two children, they pass a flower back and forth. The first child begins by saying, “I felt

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Peace Relevant Literature

Multiple peace education and character education books exist (go to www.ceedsofpeace.org for many book titles). Use throughout all lessons and have readily available in the

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Peace Table

Providing a space for problem solving is important. A peace table designates expectations for where and how youth will engage with each other. Peacebuilding literature,

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Peeling the Onion

Pull apart the layers of a problem in your classroom, school or community. Look at the history of the problem, the needs and interests of

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Peer Messaging

Youth and adults tend to “take sides” when conflicts erupt. It is important that when resolution is achieved, those involved in the conflict ensure that

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Physical Activity

Reduces stress, lowers cortisol levels and enhances neuron growth and neuronal connections. Physical activity provides the brain with oxygen and glucose and releases endorphins and

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Play It Out

Create an end of the semester or end of the year skit or play on a particular historical event. Each child/student has a role. Play

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Pohaku Bowl

Have a public bowl where everyone has his or her own (identified) stone. There should also be a few unidentified stones. All stones are set

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Puzzles

Puzzles are a good way to encourage critical thinking with all ages of youth. In order to successfully complete a puzzle, they must work with

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Reflect and Reenter

When an incident occurs, youth can spend time in reflection by writing and identifying: a) what happened; b) what was my role in the problem?;

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Reframing

Use reframing to defuse anger and keep dialogue open and positive. To reframe, take a negative statement and remove the emotionally-charged, damaging, and accusatory words,

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Restorative Practices

Restorative Justice (RJ) is a form of restorative practice and a problem-solving approach that focuses on relationships and building community. It is an approach to

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Revision Toolbox

Teach youth that the writing process isn’t finished after the first draft. A good Revision Toolbox has tools that work with word choice, writing structures,

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Rewind It

Take a current event or an event within the classroom, school, family or community. If we were to rewind this event, how would we rebuild

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Role Play

A way of seeing situations play out and encouraging individuals to think critically about how to intervene, and in the process build compassion for alternate

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Roots of Empathy

An international evidence-based K-8 classroom program (started in Canada in 1996), which has shown significant effect in reducing levels of aggression among school children while

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Rose and Thorn

A very simple communication and exploration exercise that can take place with youth and adults just about anywhere. Ideally, it would be used in a

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Rotating Facilitators

A way to build commitment, buy-in and skills is to alternate between facilitators during family meetings or classroom group work. Teach youth the skills of

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Safe Spaces

Ensure there is always a safe space for conversation. This is a space to gather, a place that honors, respects and makes people feel they

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Saving Face

Teach youth the importance of face-saving in a conflict. Teach them how to calm themselves or another angry person through deep breathing and validation of

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Shared Story Media

Find current events that may be similar to situations occurring in school or the home. For example, if youth discrimination, violence or mistreatment is an

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Silent Signals

Adults often talk too much and our youth tune out. A silent signal speaks louder than words. Smile and point to the shoes that need

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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,

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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

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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

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Stoplight

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

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Story Board

Make a storyboard of a particular event in history that involves a social injustice (slavery, women’s rights, settlers coming to America, Hawaiian history). Have youth

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Talking Stick

Use a tangible object like a stick, a flower, a ball, or something important to the group to facilitate civil discussions and collaborative activities. Three

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Technology Blackouts

Set aside times during the day when no one in the family touches technology. Turn off all cell phones, televisions, computers, etc. Youth who are

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Thankenstein

Adult writes at the top of a blank paper, “I’m so grateful that if I were a monster created by a mad scientist, my name

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The World Peace Game

TWPG is an elaborative hands-on, youth-driven game/exercise. Founded in 2010, TWPG Foundation is dedicated to sharing the global mission of peace, developing self-awareness, and the

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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

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Treasure Hunts

Take youth on team treasure hunts. Ask critical questions along the way to solve a problem. With each treasure is a clue to solving the

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Try It On

n exploring conflict, commit to trying on different perspectives in the conflict. Draw out of a bowl a particular role with an attached explanation. Play

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Upstander

A person who recognizes when something is wrong and then acts to make it right; doing one’s best to help support and protect someone who

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Wagonload of Compassion

Share individual stories of people in need. Identify what everyone can contribute. Where could we find the needed materials? Together as a group, deliver the

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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

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What Should We Do?

Show pictures and/or video of certain situations at school and in the surrounding neighborhood. Examples include: seeing garbage on the floor, an elderly person dropping

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Where in the World?

Show youth a variety of pictures of celebrations involving young people from around the world. Place cut-outs of known children/students into the celebration picture (make

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Where Were Women and Girls?

Explore what role females played in various events in providing leadership for problem-solving, collaboration and working together. How is that different or similar from today?

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Whole Child

Design lessons that focus on the whole child, including: health, nutrition, home life, community life, culture, emotions, and safety. Reflect on all that a child

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Winning Cooperation

Youth feel encouraged when you understand and respect their point of view. Express understanding for the youth’s thoughts and feelings. Show empathy without condoning, share

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