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Overview: What helps you to feel peaceful? In this staple of the What Is Peace? Lesson, students discover multiple ways to encourage feeling peaceful. Through group brainstorm and discussion, they will learn that not everyone experiences peaceful feelings the same way.
Time: 10-15 minutes
Grades: pre-K – 8
Concepts: Peace, Celebrating Diversity
Social Skills: Cooperation, Assertion
- Students will identify things that help them feel peaceful.
- Students will propose ways to use their senses to help them feel peaceful when they experience challenging emotions.
- Students will discuss the challenges and benefits of recognizing the differences in individuals’ peaceful preferences.
- Sheets of chart paper
Sample the Senses Adaptation:
- Recordings of different kinds of sounds/music
- Scents (spices, essential oils, etc.)
- Foods or pictures of foods
- Pictures from magazines, calendars or other sources
- Brainstorm what it means to feel peaceful – calm, in control, quiet, etc. (see What is Peace? lesson)
- Explain that everyone feels more peaceful at certain times or in certain situations than in others. Often our feelings of peacefulness are inspired by the things we experience with our 5 senses.
- Review the 5 senses with students. (Sight, Sound, Taste, Touch and Smell)
- Ask students to begin to silently think about the sights, sounds, tastes and smells that make them feel more peaceful. Encourage them to think about favorite places they have visited, family members, restaurants and favorite foods, gifts, their best memories, etc. Explain that when they think about touch, the sense of touch doesn’t always come through the hands. For example, being wrapped in a warm blanket on a cold day is felt by the entire body!
- Share with students that you will be splitting them into groups for an activity. Remind them of the classroom expectations and Voice Levels for group work. Ask students to stay seated until all the directions have been given. (For younger students, consider using the Pre-K – 3rd Grade Adaptation below.)
- Explain to students that each group will have its own sense to discuss. The group’s task will be to make a list of as many peaceful ideas as they can for their assigned sense.
- Remind students that, since what is peaceful for one person may not be peaceful for another, each idea should be treated respectfully and included in the list.
- Split the class into 5 groups. Consider assigning roles to each group member to encourage individual accountability to the group (Group Leader, Recorder, Time Keeper, Reporter, etc.).
- Assign one of the 5 senses to each group. Encourage them to think of all the things that they can see/hear/feel/taste/smell that make them feel peaceful.
- Distribute a piece of chart paper and a marker to each group, and ask them to list their ideas for their assigned sense. Assign a time limit for making their lists (3-5 minutes).
- After students create their lists, have each group stand one at a time to share their answers. Alternately, assign new groups containing one person from each sense, and ask students to share their first group’s answers with their new group members.
- Were there answers on each list that you agree would help you feel peaceful? Were there answers on the lists that would not work to help you feel peaceful?
- Were there any answers that would make you feel not-so-peaceful? How could this be a problem? (If your friend uses something to help them feel peaceful but it makes you feel the opposite, if you want to use something to help you feel peaceful but you know it will make someone else feel not-so-peaceful, if the thing that helps you feel peaceful is not allowed or appropriate for school/home, etc.)
- Did you discover any new things that might help you feel peaceful?
- Was it difficult to offer an idea of something that helps you feel peaceful if you knew it might not work for someone else in your group?
- Every person in the world has something that helps them to feel more peaceful. When you feel more at peace, you can act more peacefully and be a more peaceful person. In order to help yourself feel more peaceful, you have to know what helps you to feel that way and what to avoid.
- The next time you are feeling not-so-peaceful, how could you use these lists to help you feel and act peacefully? (Try thinking about or experiencing something on the lists)
- Personal Peace List
- Following the activity, hang up the lists and ask each student to make their own personal list on a sheet of paper. Ask them to write 3-5 ideas for each sense - either from the group lists or their own new ideas. Encourage them to keep that list and use it as a tool when they need help feeling peaceful.
- Sample the Senses
- Bring in a variety of toys/objects, music and sounds, scents, foods (or pictures of foods) and pictures. For each sense, present each sample to students and allow them to hear/touch/see/smell/taste each one. Ask students to vote and record (on their own or as a group) which items make them feel more peaceful. Consider making a graph to chart the results for each sense, or create a poster or a Peace Corner in the room to display some of the favorite items.
- Pre-K – 3rd Grade
- Conduct this activity as a whole-group discussion. Following a group brainstorm, students could choose one item for each sense and act it out, draw a picture or write about how it helps them to be a peaceful person.
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