WHAT IS PEACE?
Lesson Plan 
Grades 6-8

WHAT IS PEACE?

 Grades 6-8 / Ages 11-14

1.____  INTRODUCTION

  • Introduce the Peaceful People program to students, review behavior expectations and greet each student.

2.____  WARM UP ACTIVITY STATEMENTS

  • In Peaceful People, we like to get our bodies and minds warmed up and ready for problem solving and learning together.
    • Have students repeat one or more of the Warm Up statements below. Next have them stand and practice a simple stretch or motion of their choice. Combine chanting the Warm Up statements with the motions. Repeat a few times.
    • Feel free to use a favorite song or video during Warm Up to encourage participation.
      • Once students are comfortable with the warm up process, you can select one or two students each session to lead the Warm Up, choosing their own appropriate movements or dance moves to teach to the class.
      • View our brief video tutorial for tips and examples of how to use our Warm Up Statements. 
  • Use one or more of the following statements:
    • “I am a peaceful person”
    • “I can feel peaceful”
    • “I can act peacefully”
    • “I care about myself, others and my community”

3.____  DISCUSS QUOTE

  • Choose one quote and ask students to discuss its meaning in pairs or small groups. Have each group present their thoughts to the class or submit a written summary.
    • “It isn't enough to talk about peace. One must believe in it. And it isn't enough to believe in it. One must work at it.” - Eleanor Roosevelt
    • “How wonderful it is that no one need wait a moment before starting to improve the world.” - Anne Frank

4.____  INTRODUCE AND DEFINE “PEACE”

  • Brainstorm definitions for “peace” with students. Have students write their ideas on the board.
    • Ask for student volunteers to draw a circle around the words that describe feelings and a box around the words that describe actions.
  • Tell students that peace can have different definitions, depending on the situation and the people involved. For example, peace can mean the absence of violence or doing a nice deed for someone. Or, to one of your classmates, peace may be sitting still in a park on a quiet summer day, but to another, peace may be playing a game of soccer where everyone is cheering loudly and moving very fast.  
  • In Peaceful People, we talk about peace as a FEELING as well as an ACTION. (Refer to the list on the board.) When you put peaceful feelings together with peaceful actions, you get a peaceful person!
  • During Peaceful People, we will be using these definitions for peace:
    • Feeling calm, safe, and respected.
    • Being kind with our words and our body.
    • Acting with Respect to yourself, others, and the world around you.
  • People can choose to act peacefully, even if they are in situations or environments that are not peaceful.

5.____  DEFINE RESPECT

  • Ask students what it means to act with respect. What are some examples of respectful words and actions people can choose at school? At home? In the community?
    • In Peaceful People, we will learn to act with respect by showing caring for ourselves, others and the world around us.
  • Ask students what it feels like when someone is disrespectful to you. Does it make it easier or more difficult to act peacefully? What if someone is disrespectful to your family or people you care about?
  • Ask students to give examples of when someone has shown them respect. How does it feel when someone is respectful to you and the people you care about?
    • Feeling respected means knowing that others care about you, your feelings, your body and your belongings.
  • If possible, share a personal story with students about a time you were treated either respectfully or disrespectfully. How did it make you feel? What did you do? How did the other people in the story respond?

6.____  PEACEFUL CHOICES ACTIVITY

  • Share with students that they will be participating in an activity that requires movement around the room. Review behavior expectations for movement activities.
  • Designate four separate areas of the room for students to gather during the activity. Tell students that for this activity, they will be asked to safely walk to one of those areas based on their own idea of what peace feels like.
  • For each round, you will read them four choices and assign an area of the room for each one. Then ask students to choose which one makes them feel the most peaceful. After students hear all four choices, ask them to walk to the area designated for their choice without talking. Tell students they will have the opportunity to explain their decisions later.
  • After each round of movement, ask for a few students to share the reason for their choice. What about their choice makes them feel peaceful?
  • Play several rounds using the following categories, or create your own:

Peaceful Choices - Categories

“Of the following types of _____, which makes you feel the MOST peaceful?”

  • Times of day: sunrise, sunset, afternoon, night
  • Gifts: art supplies, soccer ball, video game, clothes
  • Vacation Spots: beach, Disney World, camping, fancy hotel
  • Instruments: violin, piano, drums, guitar
  • Activities: swimming, running, dancing, singing
  • Sports: basketball, soccer, baseball/softball, cheerleading
  • Surfaces to Stand on: water, grass, sand, carpet
  • Classroom Activity: silent reading, group discussion, speaking in front of the class, partner work
  • Greetings: smiling, waving, winking, head nod
  • Homework: reading a short story, solving math equations, writing an essay, memorizing dates in history
  • Sounds: laughter, applause, silence, conversation
  • After playing several rounds, debrief the activity with students:
    • Were you always with the same people each time? Did the size of the groups change for each question? If you were ever in a group by yourself, how did that feel? At any point did you make a choice because you were concerned that someone would make fun of the choice you wanted?
    • Without pointing out anyone, did you notice people commenting on someone else’s choice or trying to get a friend to go to the same corner?
      • The things that make you feel peaceful and help you act peacefully can be different from what others find peaceful. Finding the things that make YOU feel peaceful is an important part of being a peaceful person. Allowing others to find their own peace is equally important in developing peaceful relationships.

7.____  PEACEFUL/NOT-SO-PEACEFUL STORY

  • Share with students a story, newspaper article, picture, or online video of a current event that demonstrates peaceful or not-so-peaceful behavior in your school, community or region.
  • Ask students what was peaceful or not-so-peaceful about the story. Who was involved? How do you think people felt about what happened? How did the behavior affect the rest of the community? What happened that led to the peaceful/not so peaceful actions?

8.____  DISCUSS PEACEFUL BEHAVIOR

  • When someone feels peaceful inside, they are more likely to act peacefully. Acting peacefully means choosing respectful behavior that shows you care about yourself, others and your community.
  • Brainstorm examples of peaceful behavior in different locations: school settings, at home and other places in the community.
  • Ask Students:
    • Do you think it is easy or difficult to use peaceful behavior in those locations? Why?
    • Do you think it is important to use peaceful behavior? Why? What could happen if we do not act peacefully?
    • What peaceful behaviors have you observed in your classroom or school this week?
    • Do you believe your school/class is a peaceful location? Why?
    • What would school/class be like if everyone acted peacefully all the time?

9.____  ACTIVITY

                        ____   Peace Senses (Activity Guide)
                        ____   Peace Chain (Activity Guide)
                        ____   3 Breaths, 10 Seconds (Activity Guide)                   

10.____  READ

                        ____   Bunting, Eve Smoky Night  (Literature Guide)
                        ____   Proimos, James Paulie Pastrami Achieves World Peace  (Literature Guide)
                        ____   Rudinsky, Vladimir What Does Peace Feel Like?  (Literature Guide)

11.____  CLOSURE

  • Have students repeat the Warm Up statements.
  • Remind students that peace is a feeling of calm and safety, and is a way of acting with respect to show that you care.
  • Ask students to take a mental count of how many peaceful acts they observe between now and the next session, and to be prepared to discuss them next time.
  • Tell students that they will continue learning about peace and how to act in a peaceful way in all of their Peaceful People sessions.

  

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