Dear K-5 Educators,
In a time of Common Core standards, high stakes testing, and English Language Arts adoptions it can be hard to find time to teach students conflict resolution skills. As educators you face pressures on every side about what you need to accomplish each day. However, as a teacher you know what is best for your students and what they need. You know that if you neglect to teach your students how to resolve their own conflicts peacefully and how to behave respectfully in class your entire year will be consumed by putting out fires and you will not have time to teach. Experienced educators know that they have to sacrifice some teaching time at the beginning of the year so that they can actually teach the rest of the year.
But once your students know what you expect and how to behave how can you still teach conflict resolution skills? If your administrator is not on board with anything outside of the adopted materials how can you justify to them your use of the ABC’s of Conflict?
It is important to remember that the standards are the destination and the adopted material is simply the vehicle you use to get to the destination. The ABC’s of Conflict materials are heavily weighted towards the Speaking and Listening standards which is fantastic since it can be hard to find meaningful activities that focus on these standards. In addition, the Western Justice Center has also put together some discussion guides to help you talk about conflict resolution in your class. Using the Common Core Exemplar Texts, three books at each grade span (K-1, 2-3, 4-5) have been chosen as a conduit to help you facilitate discussions about conflict. This is the perfect opportunity to expose students to quality literature and help them refine their conflict resolution skills.