Conflict Resolution Activities in 3rd and 4th Grade

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Last fall, I published a post that discussed all the different ways we’ve taught and reviewed conflict resolution strategies over the years at our school. We stuck with some of the original plan but I mixed it up some with my ‘big kids’.

3rd Grade

After whipping out the plush frog and getting them excited for the return of Kelso, we talked about why we learn about choices for how we handle conflict EVERY. YEAR. Some buttercup always points out “because we forget them sometimes”. Then we watched both video clips again (links and stopping points/discussion questions in the link above). I swapped the order of the videos this time because I wanted us to end on the scenarios where characters used “Ignore”.

school counseling lesson plan teaching conflict resolution with Kelso's ChoicesI wanted our focus with the rest of the time then to be on “Ignore”, in part because I think they should use it more and in part because they need to use it more correctly. Last year at a conference, I attended a session where the speaker (Dan St. Romain) used a lot of call and response, call and repeat, and hand gestures as he was presenting. It was awesome modeling and I vowed to include more of these practices into my own teaching.

This was the little “chant” we did – I would say the words and do motions and they would repeat. Some classes got really into it and it became rap/songlike. I’m somewhat self-conscious still (maybe one reason puppets never became my jam?) so this was a little bit of a stretch for me but it was TOTALLY WORTH the increased engagement.

4th Grade

With the biggest kiddos, I skipped the ‘teaching’ piece and jumped right into reviewing and applying Kelso’s Choices. In my first couple classes, we gave SCOOT a try. Each desk held a numbered conflict scenario, I projected a list of conflict resolution strategies, and they used a scoot sheet in a dry erase sleeve to track their responses.

school counseling scoot lesson plan teaching conflict resolution with Kelso's Choicesschool counseling scoot lesson plan teaching conflict resolution with Kelso's Choices

I love this activity and it accomplished one of my objectives of the lesson. But, since this was the first time they had played scoot EVER, I had to devote significant time at the start of the lesson teaching and modeling how to play. Fifteen minutes of prep, 26 scoot stations…you do the math and see…there wasn’t time for anything else.

So then we went for my go-to: quiz, quiz, trade. I gave every student a conflict scenario, projected the conflict resolution strategies, had them mix and mingle, finding partners and asking each other “What would you do?” Because I had done this activity with them a few times last year, this took far less pre-teaching and meant we had time afterward for the next part of the lesson.

school counseling lesson plan teaching conflict resolution with Kelso's Choicesschool counseling lesson plan teaching conflict resolution with Kelso's Choices

One of the biggest misconceptions I think students have about the strategy of “Ignore” is the idea that ignoring someone’s mean/annoying behavior means they’re going to stop. They might stop and that’s awesome, but that’s not the reason we choose to ignore. I ask them why we ignore then, if it doesn’t mean the person will stop. It takes a little scaffolding but we were able to get ourselves to “so it doesn’t bother us/so we don’t worry about it.” Then we talked about how hard it can be to really ignore with our brains. Sometimes we have to ‘coach’ ourselves into ignoring. We can tell ourselves things in our brains that will help us ignore. For this part of the lesson, I had the students that had a scenario card with a star on it (that I added before the lesson) keep them and read them aloud. After each one, students ‘coached’ their brains into ignoring, and wrote on white boards what they would tell themselves.

school counseling conflict resolution lesson plan teaching self-talk to ignore
Imagining Dragon-Ball Z…that was a new one for me!

I LOVE all things CBT and self-talk. It was still a stretch for some of their brains (metacognition is tough stuff). That said, it was a great entry into this alongside the work of ignoring.

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school counseling lesson plan teaching conflict resolution with Kelso's Choices

2 Responses

  1. Great lesson and good point about coaching what ignoring means! I would love to see you Kelso chant video if you have it:-)

    1. Hello! I am sorry about that – I decided I felt uncomfortable having the video posted at all (even with faces blurred) so I took it down but forgot to delete the mention of it. Both the words and the motions are in the graphic still in the bost though!

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Hello, I’m Sara!

With 10 years of experience in
elementary school counseling,
I get to serve in a different way now
– by helping fellow counselors and

I value quality over quantity,
effective practices and resources,
and meeting the unique needs of all
our diverse learners.


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