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New online resource: Creating and maintaining a peaceful environment in elementary schools

Aug 10, 2010

from the introduction to the curriculum on Colorado State University's Department of Human Development and Families:

This Collection is divided into three workbooks: (1) Feelings Circle, (2) Friendship Circle, and (3) Peacemaking Circle. The three workbooks are designed to engage students in cooperative learning and conflict resolution in the following grades: (1) 1st and 2nd grades – Feelings Circle, (2) 3rd and 4th grades – Friendship Circle, and (3) 5th and 6th grades – Peacemaking Circle.

The emphasis for 1st and 2nd graders is to learn about and express their own and others’ feelings, particularly focused on the development of empathy. 3rd and 4th graders continue to learn about empathy and also team building, and conflict resolution, and 5th and 6th graders focus on learning peacemaking and peacebuilding skills. The purpose of this Collection is to give students the skills they need both in school and in society to know how to resolve problems nonviolently. The curriculum is repeated for two consecutive years, creating continuity and greater insight for students. As a result the content has a high level of mastery. Students will benefit from participating in one or more of the workbook sessions. The maximum benefit will result from students attending all three workbook sessions.

Elementary school teachers, students, counselors, social workers, psychologists, high school student volunteers, and/or parents will ideally facilitate these sessions. Each year (except the first year) a person experienced in facilitating the training will work with an inexperienced person in a training-the-trainer model.

Each session described in the three workbooks begins with mindfulness training. The purpose of this training is to bring calm to the students, parents, and teachers before beginning the skills building exercises.

The design of this Collection is deliberately simple, flexible, repetitious, and consistent. The Collection contains three distinct parts that are written as an ongoing conversation that builds over time and is consistent with the developmental process of children in grades one through six. The authors believe the Collection would be best published in four separate volumes (introduction and three workbooks) so teachers could easily hand the appropriate volume to the person who is going to lead the session. The person will receive only the material that pertains to the workbook sessions they are leading. Ideally we believe the workbooks would each have a different color and be contained in a single box that is open so the spines of the four volumes of the Collection are showing. Each workbook will contain a format for each session, handouts for teachers and parents, and teaching tips.

Note: These workbooks and the curriculum were written by Drs. Tom Cavanagh, Francis Gaebler, and Toni Schindler Zimmerman.

Check out the website and curriculum.

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Natalie  Popelka
Natalie Popelka says:
Nov 14, 2010 06:50 PM

<br />My 5th and 6th graders are reading Touching Spirit Bear and have asked if we could use circle justice in the classroom. I decided to research it and found your website. I'm excited to learn more and implement it in the classroom

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